I’ve had a pretty gruelling week. Teaching at the end of the year is always really difficult – year 6 children are ready to leave their little pond of primary school and move on to the bigger pond of high school. Everyone is tired – children (who are grumpy), parents (who often make some pretty unreasonable demands at this point), the office staff, the fix-it people around the school, and the teachers themselves. It’s a bit like pulling hen’s teeth to get anything happening at this point of the year.
And traditionally, this is the time of year for all the school concerts. Groan. And the Christmas carols. Sigh. And all that jazz.
Now, this is the life of a music teacher. In the midst of all the yawns and tantrums you get concerts read to go. That’s fine with me. I see it as an enormous challenge to get these children being the best they can. It’s expected. And when it all comes together (thanks to the help of all the staff), it’s a great thing.
But this year has been quite hard. Not only did someone drive into the back of me this week, and my car then also had a flat tyre one morning, but a few other things were thrown my way by the universe.
A little girl who I teach told me her mum died suddenly. She burst into tears in a rehearsal. It was true- her mum did die suddenly, and she was sent to school soon after. She’s a brave little person, and my heart is breaking for her. And what could she manage to do at school? She could manage to sing, and drum, and ‘do’ music. Other children I teach are going through some really serious family upheaval. And what did they want to do? They wanted to sing, and perform, and have their music lessons.
Now, I am just writing this as a music teacher. I’m sure that art teachers, or drama teachers, or dance teachers would write the same sort of things, but from a slightly different perspective – insert ‘acting’ for ‘music’, for example. But why are we taking Creative Arts away from children so often? Why are these the things that are cut when budgets are slashed? Why is literacy and numeracy so more important than healing little peoples’ souls?
I am flabbergasted, you know. There have been hundreds and hundreds of studies done about the importance of music educations. I’m sure there are the same amount of studies done with all the other creative art subjects. They heal children. They give them back their sense of self. They feel them with pride. They make them walk taller. They make them smile when there’s not much else to smile about. They level the playing field in the classroom. I see this daily.
What more do our power-brokers need to read? Or see?