Student Teaching, SDMEA, and Remembering Reasons

Student teaching is seriously getting better all the time.  However, I still have a long ways to go.  I’ve been praying that the Lord will show me direction and all that.  How do I even know I want to be a band teacher?  I heard somebody say that they had wanted to be a band director since 7th grade.  Um, I made the decision my junior year to finish college and “we’ll see what happens next.”  But this band teacher thing….I kind of like it.  But I still question?  Ugh, I digress.

Today (Friday), I went to SDMEA (South Dakota Music Educators Association) instead of school (excused, of course).  I always love clinics and stuff, because I learn things that I didn’t even know I needed to know.  One session was called, “Why Didn’t I Learn That in College?”.  The simple answer being there’s no time.  Also, I am super thankful to Dr. Schilf for teaching us a whole lot more in Secondary Methods than other people learned in their undergrad programs.  Like that marching band drill we had to write?  It wasn’t much, but it was at least SOME experience.  Writing a budget?  Mapping out exactly what we’d like in a band room if we got to help design it (a woman who graduated from Augie when I was a junior was actually asked that and, wa-lah!  She had ideas already).  During that session, we were told that in student teaching, one will learn more than all the previous years of college.  And during the first year of teaching, one will learn more than student teaching and college combined.  I stayed after and talked with the presenter about putting my foot in the door and looking for a job in Kentucky.  Oh my gosh, did he tell me some good stuff!  Like to look up all of the schools near Pikeville and watch their pages for job postings.  And to even find the contact info for the band directors at those schools and shoot them an email, introducing myself or something (to get my name out there).  To go on to the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) website and look for job postings there (but I think they’d all go on the national page, anyway?).  I seriously made a list today.  Now, a lot of the middle schools don’t even HAVE a band director listed, but I’ll call the schools and check it out.  I also talked to a friend on Tuesday who moved up to Sioux Falls to student teach when she didn’t know anybody here.  She said to talk to everybody.  So I’ll ask here, first.  Anybody know of some young women in Pikeville, KY, looking for a roommate next year?  (Never too early, right?)

About when I was finishing up my general music placement and just this last week, I remembered why I actually did want to be a band director.  I want to teach these kids music.  In band, they’re either there because they want to be or because Mom and Dad say so.  But even if Mom and Dad say so, they’ll eventually love it, probably.  If they play through high school.  I want to teach kids to play their instruments CORRECTLY so that they won’t want to quit because they don’t know what’s wrong and it’s too hard to fix later.  I love the light in the eyes of a student when he or she discovers what a key is for or that they can get a partial higher than they thought they could.  I love being surrounded by music and sharing my love of it with students.  I love having relationships with students, so we can talk about life other than band.  I love talking about band, of course, and I love watching a student improve.  It is such a great feeling.  To know that they know more than they did, or that they can play better than before?  My day is simply made.  A random high-five when I’m walking through the commons, a “Hi, Ms. Olson,” in the hall or even as a student is leaving the band room, a lesson going so successfully well and the students don’t talk out of line but respond to me as I direct from the podium.

I feel like these last few days, I’ve been in a good mood in general.  Which is way better than the “I don’t want to move or do anything” mood I had toward the beginning of the week whenever I’d get home from school.  Even though Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I don’t get to talk during most of the week (like either of us has time!?), we still email and text and he makes me smile and points me to Christ all at once.  We got to know each other better through snail mail, you know.  And emails just get better and better as we get closer (even though we live 10 hours apart).  I feel like that’s a topic for a different post.  Or girl talk.  Whichever.  (Gush.)

Smiley Face,


An Update and a Lot of Chatter

And here I thought the week before last was exhausting.  By Friday, I usually have my lessons down.  Sorry to the students I only see Monday and Tuesday?  Especially that first class, man.  I got observed twice this week.  Basically, I need to practice giving lessons on Sunday, so that on Monday, BAM!  I’m ready and rehearsed.  I’m pretty much at the point where I’ve got to do that, but that’s okay.  Friday was my best teaching day.  And I’ve only got one week left!  Better late than never?  I’m a slower learner sometimes, because I’m stubborn, probably.  This morning, I woke up at 6am (when my alarm goes off on school days) and was thinking of all sorts of possibilities for the lesson plans I’m working on today (that I actually started Saturday!).  What is going on, you ask?  It’s about time my brain catches up with where I’m supposed to be at.  I creatively think a lot in the mornings.  Thus being the reason I keep a notebook by my bed.  Sometimes I write when I can’t sleep, too, but that has NOT been a problem since school started, especially in recent weeks.  Last week at the elementary school!  I feel horrible that I don’t know names well yet.  But, I’ve learned, if I hear a name numerous times or mess up a name and ask the student to correct me, I don’t forget their names as fast.  I also know the names of these identical twin first grade girls, and I know which is which based on their classmates (I finally had this straightened out in my head LAST week).  I am excited and nervous to be starting band the week after next.  As Mr. Fode was talking to me about where his passion was in teaching these kids, I remembered the original reason I had decided that I wanted to teach beginning band: so that early on, the students would fall in love with their instruments and be taught CORRECTLY so that reasons to want to quit band minimize in number.  I was a band geek, and one of the only ones when I was in high school, I think.  I was that kid that stayed after school to practice a part on the xylophone and took lessons as much as I could.  Mr. Fode said that teaching elementary music, he as the teacher is the catalyst for the kids’ love of music.  His job is to share his love of music so that the kids will love music, too.  “If they don’t do band or choir, that’s not on me,” he told me.  Also, if they maybe don’t have the best teacher in years to come, they may stick with something simply because they love the music.  Ah, the music.  I know church and public schools are separated, but there is no sound quite like that of a horn playing “How Great Thou Art” or a flute playing “This is My Father’s World.”  A low brass instrument playing “What Wondrous Love is This”?  Perhaps this is where this came from:

If I had a totally ideal job, it would be beginning band and some general music.  It would include arranging hymns for high school students to play for their congregations.  It would include writing fiction, devos, and articles that help point people to the hope of Christ.  And I love working one-on-one with a student and guiding their learning.  Be it a lesson or a discipleship time, I have been discovering how much I love that, too.  Last Sunday, we were talking about how God wired each of us differently and for a purpose.  Why do I want to do so much?  Will I have opportunity to do all of it?  I want to build relationships and point others to Christ through my work and my actions.  I want to praise God with music and writing and building others up as the New Testament says so often to do.  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 says, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  Ah, his encouragement is the best ever.

I have suddenly (like, over this last week) been worried that it’s going to be a lot harder to find a job than I think it will be.  After teaching a few years, I’ll be hirable—you know, a young teacher with experience, but not too much (you don’t want to have to pay them MORE).  But how can I get experience if nobody will hire me?  Anyway, I handed that over to God.  I’m trusting that I’ll have an awesome first job teaching, and I’m asking in faith that it will be in the same town Dr. Wile E. Coyote goes to school in.  Which, breaking news, might possibly be somewhere in Kentucky that I can’t show you on a map (because I myself haven’t google earthed it—I just take other people’s word on it).  Yeah, that means he got accepted there!  Pretty sure I was way more excited that he got accepted than he was.  Smiley face.  Kentucky is a long ways from home, though.  But all things are possible with God—Paul writes in Philippians that he has learned to be content with nothing or with plenty.  Whichever, it’s possible with God.  So I am ready to be content with whatever God has in store for me next year.  He’s got my back, and with him whatever is to come will be possible.  I may have stopped making complete sense.  Whatever.  It’s the beginning of another real long week that will go to fast and busily by.

So, that’s an update and a lot of chatter.  Maybe that will be my title for this post.  If you recognize it, than I probably used it.  Goodness.  You know that “may have stopped making complete sense” thing?  It’s been like that a lot lately.  I’m “normal” in the classroom, but otherwise it’s been one of those to-busy months.  So (that’s my comfort word, I’ve learned)…yeah.

Be blessed, everyone!


Three Year Blog-iversary! (and random stuff)

Oh, hey, everyone.  It’s been awhile.  It’s my three-year blog-iversary.  Just mentioning the fact.  My stuff has been all over since I started, and it’s pretty much still that way.  I have grown and maybe even matured a bunch since I started.  But I’m still me, so I still think about things like I always do.  Today, no poetry (but I have a bunch of others you could check out while you’re here if you haven’t).  I’ve been learning how to shamelessly plug and advertise so that someday, people like you might pick up this book and recognize the author “Anna E. Olson” and at least read the back of the cover.  Not that I’ve even sent in my book proposal yet, but the book is pretty much done.  But I haven’t had time for it lately anyway.  You may be wondering how life is going, as I am student teaching general music to a bunch of heart-melting kiddos and still involved in a lot of things and dating this awesome guy who had a great med school interview today and will be hearing from two different schools this week.  If you pray, stop right now and just say a little prayer for the med schools, that he’ll be accepted and they’ll think it went as well as he did (and, of course, that God will be there, leading throughout).  Okay, thanks.  Wherever he goes to school next year, I’ll teach.  There is so much else that will have to happen, but knowing a PLACE is the first step.  Also, pray for this teaching thing.  I’ve been getting pretty wiped lately, and I can’t use my fingers as well as I used to.  I don’t think I’ll ever play like I did last semester, but I’m okay with that.  God’s got better plans than me just being a musician (trust me, I have, like, options A, B, C, and D in my head.  I’m hoping that God will combine a bunch of those).  Updates:

Student teaching.  Exhausting, and I’m realizing more and more how quickly one has to move, and therefore how much STUFF a teacher has to have planned.  There’s a ton.  I get to teach RHYTHM next week, which is one of my favorite things and makes my top-14 list.  Probably.  Unfortunately, there’s not really other people or students that are as fascinated with rhythm as I am.  And the first graders haven’t even SEEN rhythm before, so I’ll introduce that to them, as well (kind of freaking out, kind of excited).  It’s fun, being with those kids!  I’ve got two more weeks before I move to the middle school band.  And I’ll be qualified for everything in South Dakota, so I could potentially do everything or anything in a town located in, for example, Indianapolis or Kentucky.  Just saying.  And that’s exciting.

Dr. WEC walking with me! :)
Dr. WEC walking with me! 🙂

Dr. Wile E. Coyote.  Because you are all wondering (probably, like three of you: my aunt, my grandma, and somebody who is about to go and creep on my Facebook page because they missed something…”who?”  Yeah, go and check out our pictures, we’re adorable).  So, the distance thing is challenging, especially when he works second shift and I don’t get home from school until after he’s gone for the night.  But we’re making it work.  Have any of you done distance relationships?  How have you made it work?  We will get to see each other a weekend in October, and I know people who have to be apart and/or Skype alone for a lot longer than we’ve had to do.  (Katrina and Seth, I give you guys internet high-fives right now.)

Other stuff.  So, I’m section leader of the percussion at the College/Community Band.  There are five of us, which is way more fun than ten, because we all get to always play!  And I’m in percussion ensemble for the semester (because I love it), and a lifegroup with the church I go to here in Sioux Falls, I’m discipling two girls (a sophomore and a junior at Augie), and I just signed up to be on the visitation outreach team through church, as well.  I’m looking forward to it.  And, of course, I’m lesson planning and trying to get to bed early because I get up early, and talk with the pre-doc.  Smiley face.

Anna Olson, Dr. Wile E. CoyoteFaith thoughts.  I’ve been feeling like God gives me themes each week.  Whatever the sermon is on seems to be what I read in the word, too.  Maybe.  This week it’s been about serving others.  Or if I read about something in the morning, a lot of things will relate back to that.  AND Dr. WEC and I talk about what God’s been teaching us all the time, so that’s really encouraging, too.  I watched the Avengers last night with one of my roommates and made a list of some spiritual analogies so that I could include them maybe in my book proposal.  It just astounds me sometimes.  I LOVE the storyline of the movie, because all of the other avengers movies are tied in.  I also LOVE the storyline of God’s story.  The authors of both really think things through and tie things in together and make some things come back and have perfect timing, and just…EVERYTHING!  It makes me excited.  Because I’m an author, too, although not a good one, yet.  I respect things well-written.  Which is why I’m drawn to BBC television and cast aside the American stuff.  Off-topic, just thoughts.

Anyhoo, I hope you all are doing well.  I like reading blogs of friends because I like to keep up on you, too!  And a lot of my stuff lately has been updatey.  More stuff to come.  It won’t be so long in between this time, I hope.  Have a blessed day!


Falling and Updates

I fall a lot.  I mean, not as much as I used to.  Experience has made me better at miraculously catching myself at the last minute.  I wear a Bioness brace on my left leg, and when I describe it as “a bionic, electric brace,” all the little kiddos at school are impressed. It lifts up my foot higher than I can on my own.  Also, I trust God to metaphorically fall, which is improvement from my younger years.  See?  I am so much better at getting back up.  And getting hurt less—or maybe noticing it less?  Better at gracefully falling, too.  I don’t think I actually bruised when I fell onto a counter a little over a week ago.  That one was funny—it was like slow motion and I had time to realize that I was falling and greet the counter before I hit it.  I fell on Thursday night, and it happened fast, so when I realized I was falling, I thought, “uh-oh.”  Then I was just like, “huh.”  I remember after I went on summer project in 2011, I fell head over heels for Jesus.  I don’t know if I’ve gotten back up from that, but I don’t want to.  Speaking of head over heels….

On Monday and Tuesday, I had appointments at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  Just so happens that Rochester is almost a halfway point for Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I.  He came!  I liked him tons before, but I think I tripped over my own feet during our days together.  It was the first time we’d seen each other since December 2011, and though we’ve been Skyping regularly, holding hands was even more fun than looking at a blurry screen because one or both of our internet connections isn’t all that great.  Just like giving someone a look instead of snapchatting it to them is more effective, so is physically being with someone.  We know of couples that have made it through Skype or email or letters alone, so I understand that we’re kind of fortunate (especially that Skype and email are free and so easily accessible…), but it’s still hard.  PATIENCE is what we’re learning.  And I guess it’s good for our communication skills or something like that.  (Find a positive when there’s negativity looking down at you!)

Update on student teaching: I am loving it, and I get more tired all the time.  I am taking on more and more (slower than that, but faster than I think), and it won’t be long before I have full reigns.  Scary, I say.  The good thing is that there is an actual teacher in the room, so that when I have an “oh sh*t” moment as he refers to them, he is right there to snap the class back into shape.  I am slowly learning names.  My cooperating teacher doesn’t think it’s super good that I know any names at all yet, because they are the names he keeps calling out for talking in class.  But we play name games with the bigger kids.  It’s scary when they decide to call on me too, and I’m scrambling for names I don’t know.  Was there a Hannah somewhere in this class?  Or maybe a Jack.  There are tons of Bradens.  I have not miscalled a name yet.  During that game.  When I’m teaching a song and I call on a student, I ask that student their name.  Knowing names is huge for discipline.  How I wish I knew the names of some of the boys in the last first grade class of the day.  And, do all little boys find it more fun to sit with their knees inside their t-shirt, or is it just the ones that are “cold” when they come to the music room, even though we’re roasting in there while it’s 95 degrees outside.  The things I wonder.  I am learning tons, though, and it is so fun!  Ask me, and I will sing you a song that will get stuck in your head and you might not like much.

Friday (tomorrow, today, yesterday…depending on when you read this) starts Lifelight in South Dakota, and I am so excited to discover the things that God is going to do there!  It’s a free Christian music festival with Christian bands that’ll be there.  Like Building 429, Newsboys, and others that I don’t remember right now because it’s not a good time to think.  I’m not at school right now, silly.  The ground at Lifelight is a little uneven, and it’s HOT outside.  Will I fall?  Probably.  But I’m used to it by now.  Besides, the ground is softer than cement.  (Gravity and I have a love-hate relationship.  This is why I call myself an earth bender when asked.)



Random Thoughts and Feelings

Cleaning does not go faster when you’re wearing a cape and making superhero sound effects.  If I wasn’t the only one home, I would receive strange looks.  Only maybe.  What’s the point of anything if you can’t make it fun?  Which is why I am so excited for the general music placement of student teaching.  You can’t not have fun with kindergarteners or first graders.  I myself don’t learn super well unless it’s fun.  I kid.  Some things are just fun to know.  Like the paper I wrote in high school, saying that my cousin and I were like a bionic compound with genetics in common.  Then, you sound super smart when you compare yourself to a cation ionic formation because you feel like you’ve lost an electron and you’re just super positive suddenly.  Or in college, learning all about music theory and music math (major + minor = major, minor = major = minor, major + major = augmented, minor + minor = diminished)?  It’s fascinating.  I also like knowing other random things.  Sometimes if I want to know something, I just have to ask the right person.  Like, “Which muscle is this specific exercise working?”  I’m getting off topic.  Student teaching on Wednesday.  That’s the first day of school.  I can see Nemo bouncing on his dad, saying, “First day of school!  First day of school!”  I say it with an exclamation point, too, but it’s not the excitement of kids who have been waiting to see their friends and don’t want to be bored.  I am a little freaked out.  And I’m kind of thinking ahead.  Reason for all the “ahh!”s, probably.  Anyway, I will take one step at a time.  On Wednesday, I will see just exactly how my cooperating teacher sets the tone in his classroom, which is real exciting.  You can bet that I’ll be blogging about my experiences this semester.  Emotions are just trying to burst out, but I can’t even identify.  They’re just feeling random. Hence, random post?