Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The 1000th Peek into my Teacher's Diary

I started my blog on August 20th, 2008. Here is what I wrote on my very first post:

The start of something new...

Inspired by my good friend Phil, I decided that kids are too funny to let their stories go untold. The life of teaching is too dynamic to act like every day is normal.  So, I'm starting a blog to share with my friends and family the truth about middle school kids: they are hilarious.  Sometimes they make me want to jump right out of my skin because I'm afraid I might run out of the room and quit teaching forever! But those moments are few and far between and the truth of the matter is, I'm doing what I've always wanted to do.  I'm just getting broken in :-).  So, hold on to your hats and join me on my ride through middle school...let's see where it takes us, shall we? 

 At the time, I was almost 25 years old and fresh out of BYU. I was recovering from one of the most difficult experiences of my life.  I was beginning again.

Today, April 29th, 2015, 4 months shy of seven years later, I am writing my 1000th post. Time goes by so quickly. 

 I shared this picture on August 27, 2008, a week after starting my first professional job at Dixon Middle School.  I was teaching 7th grade chorus classes, 8th grade Ladies Ensemble, and 8th grade Concert Choir.  This job brought me an abundance of laughter, lots of tears, great friendships with dear co-workers and students, and precious stories I cherish.

Within these four walls, I experienced many growing pains.  But I wouldn't trade a day of it.

So much is different; yet, many things have stayed the same.  The four walls in which I experience constant growing, learning, and changing still exist. They just look a little different.  For one thing, they have windows.  And the chairs are pink.

Teenagers are still hilarious.  Sometimes, my students still make me want to jump out of my skin and run away, never to return to teaching. But, at the end of the day, I'm still doing exactly what I always dreamed of doing.  And it's still a crazy ride.

I'm pretty lucky.

Through the past 7 years of record keeping, I've developed a great love for writing.  This was quite an unexpected by-product of blogging for me.  I've always loved language arts, but I now have a passion for story telling through written word.  Having people to "listen" to- an audience to address- has made all the difference.  It has given meaning to precious experiences that may have otherwise gone forgotten in my mind.  It has pushed me to express myself in ways that others might appreciate.  So thank you, to my dear friends and family, for reading my blog. Thanks for giving purpose to my words and inspiring me to share.

If I were to sum up the greatest lesson I've learned since I graduated college and started my blog, it would be the following scripture:

 Philippians 4: 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

My faith has certainly been put to the test, but He never fails me.  Even the most insurmountable obstacles he helps me overcome,  though sometimes I take baby steps the whole way. 

When I wrote my first blog post on August 20th, 2008, I entitled it, "The Start of Something New."  This was appropriate, as I was beginning a new record of my life, a new job, and starting down a different path than the one I planned.  Now, I realize that every day is the start of something new.  I am always beginning again.  There is a new "me" around every corner as I build upon my experiences and become more aware of who I am and the person I want to become.

So here's to the 1000th start of something new.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Thrills, Trills, and Frills!

When I worked at Dixon, we went to a festival called, "Trills and Thrills." It was an adjudicated choral performance followed by a day on the roller coasters at Lagoon.  The past several weeks, I've experienced Thrills, Trills and Frills!


Every year during Spirit Week, the teachers and staff do a faculty Lip Sync.  My friend Claudia (she works in freshman success) coordinates it.  For years, she has wanted to do Michael Jackson's "Thriller."  This year, our film teacher (Jenny) and our dance teacher (Erin) both knew the dance from the music video and were willing to teach it to the rest of us before and after school.  I took it very seriously, as dancing is not my forte. I probably attended eight practices or so.  At the end of the Thriller routine, we transitioned into, "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift.  It was quite a production.

 My student teacher (Tree) is an expert at zombie and she and our drama teacher (Mikell) helped with the makeup.  The welding teacher (Denise) torched all the shirts we got from consignment shops.  There were probably 30-40 members of the faculty who participated! See my facebook for individual shots of most of the participants.

 As funny as it sounds, acting like dead people was a really unifying experience for us. We even started a faculty fitness program so we could continue burning calories together!



This was our audience (over 1500 students):

And here is the full cast:

Watch the completed, edited music video here!


I went to my first ever National American Choral Directors Association conference in February (ACDA).  It was held in the Salt Palace and on temple square and was absolutely amazing!  What does training for choir teachers look like? It's four days packed with concerts all day of the best children, middle school, high school, and university choirs around the world. In the mornings, we gather together and sight read through a packet of arguably the best choral music out there right now. We get a copy of each song for our own music libraries.  The evenings feature guest artists like The King Singers, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Real Group, the Desert Chamber Singers, and more.  The mornings are filled with classes about all different topics, like using technology in the classroom, effective warm-ups for beginning choirs, how to teach a men's ensemble in high school, and so much more.  The hardest part is not being able to go to everything.  It was a blast to meet up with colleagues and friends from across the state.  I was so fortunate to spend the weekend with one of my very best friends, Melissa ("Many").  We went through the choir program at BYU together and later were roommates. Now we are colleagues and swap tips about work along with leaning on each other for emotional support as we navigate our way through lives that have taken similar paths. 

As we opened the reading packet compiled for men's choirs, Reed went, "Oh, it's me!" Sure enough, one of his choral works was distributed to hundreds of teachers as an example of an excellent song choice for men's choirs. I know pretty cool people!


The King Singers and Real Group concert was packed, but I happened to snag a pretty good seat that no one else wanted :-).


I snuck away during one of the evenings to see my dear friend Nathan's middle school production of, "Beauty and the Beast" at the school that feeds in to my choir program.

Melissa and I were thrilled to reconnect with two of our mentors from BYU, Vicki McMurray (Women's Choir director) and Anna Mooy (voice teacher).

The most amazing choral performance I've ever seen came from the Desert Chamber Singers.  This poem was read as part of their program and it had a profound effect on me.


Last weekend, Melissa and I decided to drive up to Wyoming after work to attend a baby shower being thrown for Kate by friends from her ward.  It was a glorious weekend of refuge and joy.  Kate and Darren have waited a long time for this exciting period in their lives.  Neither Melissa nor I had seen Kate pregnant and we didn't want to miss out on such a wonderful time in the life of one of our best friends. Now we can tell the girls someday that we knew them before they were even born!  When we walked in to the room where the shower was held at the church, we were all stunned by the thoughtfulness and the beauty of each and every detail.  I couldn't stop crying! Kristal, Kate's friend, did an incredible job organizing the shower.  Melissa made little favors for everyone to take home with two different kinds of seeds to go along with Kate's garden theme in the nursery.  We were so excited that Kate's mom was in town for the shower.  Kate and Darren hosted all of us in their home.  All of us sat and talked for hours and could have continued for another week at least! The next time we see the Mylers, they will be a family of four!  You can expect us back in Pinedale soon, Kate!  Hopefully we will have our Tessa May with us.  We started out as a group of four girls and now there will be 8 of us!

In case you can't read it, the banner says, "Myler Twincesses." So darling!


Darling crocheted animals custom made by Christina!