Music surrounded me in childhood. My parents encouraged me to include music as part of my educational experience. I took piano lessons; played a band instrument in elementary, junior high and high school; even participated in the chorus of a high school musical (Fiddler on the Roof). In university I had a part-time job teaching in a community marching band.
I found music relaxing — finding that it somehow satisfied an area within me that wasn’t been addressed through my academic studies. I felt calmer when I listened to music, played music or taught music — a different area of my brain was being exercised. And like our sense of smell that has been proven to have an incredibly powerful linkage to our emotions, when I became involved with music I somehow felt better.
Your heart is pounding. Your palms are sweating. Your stomach is doing flips. And then there are your pervasive thoughts — as you feel these physical symptoms your mind is spinning with worry and fear.
Now picture this as if you were a child. Your life experiences may be minimal. Your ability to be resilient may also be limited. And you are fearful.
I’m not a psychologist. Not a therapist nor a counsellor. Nope — I’m not a mental health professional. My background is a science teacher who’s now a Superintendent — certainly not a trained expert on mental health or anxiety. But, it’s something I’ve been learning about.
I speak and write a LOT about the need for change in public education — necessary change because we haven’t yet met every child’s potential. That might be an unreachable target, but it doesn’t mean we should give up trying to be better than we are today.
I’m not naive to the notion that my desire for change might leave a perception of ‘doom and gloom’ about public education — that we aren’t doing anything correct at the moment.
And that’s simply not true.
I am proud of many things that we are currently doing in our schools, primarily due to the efforts from our teachers and administrators — true innovators in our system.