If you haven’t heard of DEVOLSON, it stands for “dark, evil vortex of late September, October, and November,” and this year it hit me hard!
(If you, too, find yourself in this slump, read some tips for some coping strategies here: https://www.weareteachers.com/5-ways-of-coping-with-devolson-the-dark-evil-vortex-of-late-september-october-and-november/)
The link above was recommended by a co-worker of mine, who understands the struggle. With changes galore in my school, it has been particularly hard this year. You know how they say the secretary and custodian are the most important people on campus…well, we got a new secretary and custodian, as well as a new principal all at once. They are all great, but changes, differences in routines, confusion about who has always done those ‘other duties as assigned,’ etc. make it a more stressful than normal. That impacted with personal struggles, I am a hot mess.
I have had classroom management issues out the wazoo. I am not so proud as to say none of this is my fault, but there are times when there are outside factors you can’t control. All you can do is empathize and reach out for help. I have two students in some major struggles right now. I deeply care about them both. They both have amazing potential and are already quite fantastic young musicians. I don’t know that I am handling them well, but I am doing the best that I can with what I have. I am also reaching out for lots of help. I want what is best for these kiddos. I think DEVOLSON may have struck them as well.
This is not to say beautiful things aren’t happening – they are. I teach amazing kids. My fourth graders and fifth graders are branching into some new projects, which are pretty cool and allowing for some pretty great conversation with students. I took a trip to the MATCH (Music and Technology Conference of Houston) which was pretty neat. I have never been. My 2nd graders are rocking their prep for their Veterans Celebration performance right now, and those voices are so preciously sweet together. We, as teachers, though, tend to focus on what we missed, how we could do better. We take on so much guilt, myself included. When I feel that guilt and heavy heart taking over, I remind myself, and I am reminding you: YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s what you do after those mistakes, how you move forward, that makes you who you are.
So, speaking of mistakes: #elmusedchat record keeping and publicity has been lax to say the least. Which I totally see results in lower numbers. Oops! I did a chat half by myself. Which, at first, I was saddened by, but as I sat there for the 8 minutes between questions, I sat back, reflecting on my why. I started this chat to help ALL OF US have an opportunity to connect and chat with other music teachers to share ideas. So, I am going to consistently be there, even if I am talking to myself because, if sometime Monday, someone realizes that they had really wanted to get in on the chat, it is totally cool to add answers later. I will happily continue the conversation, and any conversation with anyone needing to connect with fellow elementary music teachers. Your voice matters. Just because you weren’t there at a certain time shouldn’t prevent you from sharing your ideas, thoughts, questions, & knowledge.
So – here are the chats I missed collecting. I resolve to try to do better. For anyone checking regularly, thank you for your grace and patience. There are some great discussions, particularly check out our guest host chats from 10/6 and 10/27.
10/27 – Creative Musicking