Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ear murder*

i sing all the time in the classroom. this is unfortunate for my co-teachers, because i really, really cannot sing. i kind of suspect i may be tone deaf, or at least my musical ability lays on the tone-deaf spectrum. still, i am a big believer in the benefits of singing in the classroom, along with the belief that singing with 6 year olds is a great classroom management technique. as embarrassed as i may be at my horrendous voice, i make a conscious effort to never say, "I can't sing!" in front of the kids. i don't want to teach them self-consciousness before they've discovered it on their own. so, if you stumble upon me singing during the day, please know that yes, i am fully aware of the pain i am implementing on you. and i apologize.

yesterday we had down time in one of my kindergarten classes so i jumped in to sing a favorite that usually all kids LOVE. the class quickly got into it, except for 2 children. 1 little boy with autism who has an incredible musical ear. the other was a little boy who just came into the country. i wasn't surprised when my friend with autism threw his hands over his ears, but i was surprised when pedro** did.

poor pedro, i finally realized. speaking no english meant that he really had no idea what the silly words were, or perhaps, he had no idea that i was suppose to be singing. to him, it was a crazy teacher getting in front of the class and doing cruel and unusual things with her vocal cords while performing odd motions with her body (we have to act the song out too). without knowing the words, the poor kid lost the humor of the song, and was stuck trying to figure out why americans are so crazy.


*title credit to my husband, who created the term this sunday in church during children's choir.
**names changed to protect the innocent.

3 comments:

Snippety Gibbet said...

My first year of teaching was in parochial school. I had a class of 12 boys, fifth and sixth grades combined. The curriculum included singing hymns and classic Americana tunes. I really loved every bit of music provided. The principal assured me that "they won't sing," but I figured I'd give it a go anyway. The first day I played this (gawd awful) tape with a "soprano" singing these songs. Wrong octave for the group and it was hideous. The boys laughed. I cringed. From then on, I belted out the tunes, and the boys just sang along with me. I am not a singer you would request to sing a solo, but I've got heart. = ) I think that is the most important part of getting kids to sing along.

kiri8 said...

My assistant teacher is a professional singer -- she sings torch songs in clubs -- and she must find it SO painful to listen to me sing with my preschool class every day. The poor, poor woman.

But I'm with you; singing is a great thing to do in an early childhood classroom. They learn so much from songs, and it is a great community builder.

splatypus said...

I am equally tone deaf but my kids don't seem to know the difference and that's all that matters. Each and every one of them can tell me the parts of an ant because they know "An Ant's Body" to the tune of "Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." In case you teach ants:

Head, thorax... abdomen
And six legs!
Head, thorax... abdomen
And six legs!
And antennae that we call feelers,
Head, thorax... abdomen
And six legs!

A think tank focused on creative solutions for future problem solvers -tree