Thursday, September 18, 2008

music and kindness

Sometimes I feel like I teach more about the idea of kindness than the concepts of music.

Yes, my dream is to have every child leave my class with the ability to match pitch, play instruments, clap rhythms, read music ... etc. However, sometimes there are just more important things to discuss.

We've been playing instruments a lot in 2nd grade and there are, obviously, a lot of procedures in place so that it's not absolute chaos. They know not to play the instruments until I say. One boy decided to test that, so I took his drum away. His response was, "Well, I don't even like music anyway." I think as a teacher you just have to get used to comments like that. Children will be children. But I decided to camp out on it for awhile.

I basically turned it around and said to the class very kindly, "I want you all to think about something. I get up everyday and I'm excited to come and teach music to all of you. What if you were so excited to go to your friend's house and when you got there, he said, 'Well, I didn't really want you to come over anyway.' How would that make you feel?" They all agreed that they would feel very sad. I left it at that and told them that we need to use kind words in music class.

I didn't really remember any of that had happened until the next day. That 2nd grade boy came up to me as I was walking through the cafeteria at lunch and said, "Miss. Clifford, I wanted to apologize to you for what I said yesterday in music. That wasn't very nice." I was completely shocked. I just told him over and over how wonderful that made me feel. I told him that apologizing is a hard thing to do but it's the right thing to do. Judging by his smile, I could tell he felt intrinsically good for doing good.

I do hope I have more stories like this at the end of the year. Watching children learning to be kind to one another is wonderful. I think we could all use a little lesson in kindness every once in awhile.


  1. That made me cry just a bit. Thanks for being a good teacher.

  2. Claaaire, that is just so sweet! I am so very proud of you. I know that you are doing such a wonderful job. Those kids are learning so much from you about music and life : )


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