Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dipping a Toe Into the Shallow End

I am trying to ease myself back into blogging and I have so much to share that I find myself mentally reviewing what and how much I want to share first without vomitblogging all of it out into one post. Some of the topics that I plan to address eventually are:

  • my adventures as a color guard instructor
  • my adventures as a color guard performer (yes they are two separate things)
  • the state of my garden
  • new social media outlets that I now try to navigate
  • family and pet updates
  • my new role providing leadership support to women around the world
  • some general philosophic observations
Since chronologically, most of the things listed are intertwined on my timeline, I will begin with my musings as a color guard instructor.

Two years ago, before I went on blog hiatus, I was teaching color guard and winter guard to a group comprised of students from two high schools.  One of the schools was a recently-opened, new high school and as a result, the band-related performing arts programs were still sorting through some red tape and therefore remained combined for three years.  Yes, THREE years. Bureaucracy is alive and well at the scholastic level, and I will address that very fact multiple times for emphasis of a variety of reasons in multiple posts.  

But I digress; last school year(2011-2012), the school band programs were finally separated and I had the great fortune of remaining with the older more established school.  It meant that logistical and support processes were already in place and in general, I did not have the hassle or start up cost for a new program. Adding to that benefit was the new teacher who was hired at the old school.  He and I had forged a great professional relationship during his teaching internship at that very school.  It has been truly wonderful working with someone I respect professionally; who also was new, fresh and had innovative ideas for making a successful band program.

At the time of his installation, I also became an official employee of the school district as the band(teacher) assistant.  This served to minimize the bureaucratic issues somewhat, although some new and even more frustrating issues arose as a result.  I am now in my second year as band assistant and surprisingly, this year has been more challenging than the first.

At the time of the split, what was formerly a band of approximately 100 students became two bands of 90 students and 40 students, respectively (with the addition of incoming freshman accounting for the math incongruence of those numbers).  Surprisingly, the larger number of students attended the new school, following the split.  So I found myself literally with no color guard to teach, doh!  Some fast recruiting efforts brought me four color guard students for the Fall marching season.  We made that work, and as they were all rookies, we set expectations appropriately and had a fun and challenging season.  

Winter guard ramped up and we added a fifth member to the team, however the configuration of five only included two of the original four.  Additionally, I found myself in the position of being the only instructor for the first time since I began teaching color guard.  I was always a member of a staff that consisted of between two and four instructors during the previous seasons. I fully felt the weight of being responsible for all aspects of managing the team.  For this reason, having a small team proved to be beneficial to me as a solo instructor.  The skill set of those five logically indicated that they compete in the novice category for winter guard.  The novice category contained the largest number of competitive groups and my little group of five finished in the middle of the pack at championships.  Knowing that they virtually had no skills and experience at the beginning, I considered that a successful season.  

I will now jump ahead to the current school year (2012-2013).  The Fall marching band program included seven color guard students with three of those having experience from the previous year.  I wisely brought in a very talented instructor to share design and teaching duties.  Our marching season was wrought with new complications.  We met the challenges--succeeding with some and failing with others.  Valuable lessons were learned(you can teach an old dog new tricks,and I am a testament to that very thing).  

We are now finishing up our winter guard season, with Championships scheduled just over one week from now.  Our winter team consists of eight students, who should have been placed categorically in the novice division again, however, they have worked hard and strove to pursue a higher level of skill and execution, and that led us to enter them in the next category--the Intermediate Division.  with four competitions behind them, they have placed consistently, and we count it as a success that they have never finished in last place.  We head into Championships with realistic anticipation, knowing that they have already surpassed all initial expectations.  We are very proud of their efforts and know that we have witnessed something extraordinary by being privileged to instruct eight young dedicated and talented students.  Unfortunately for us, four of them are seniors.  Thus, our rebuilding years for the color guard and winter guard teams will still be in progress for the next few years until we have a few more years of incoming freshman to help fill out the ranks and allow them successive years to build skill and experience.

I wanted to set this stage as background for future posts on my trials and tribulations as an instructor and I may back track and tell a few related stories that I find compelling.  So for now, I have given you perspective and a quick and dirty timeline.  I will fill in most of the holes later, and I hope my stories delight you as much as I in my telling of them.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Am Back and Ready to Ride

Has it really been two years since I last blogged here?  I lost my blogging mojo back then and just could not find the drive to get back to it.  I did, however, miss it and now I finally feel the desire once again.  Much has changed; and some things--not at all.  I will be posting about all of it, eventually.  I am involved in some exciting new activities and I want to share much of it with you.

I will be brief for now, just to kick-start this space back into the thriving craziness that embodies my thoughts, feelings, wishes, desires, compulsions--you get the idea.

I have so much I want to share--both joys and sorrows, though the sorrows will be few; as I do not dwell for long in the land of darkness, I only occasionally pass through it and acknowledge it briefly.  I am trying to do some good things in the world--be a good listener/leader/follower; a good wife/mother/sister/friend.  I am trying new things, re-trying old things, taking risks, seeking enlightenment and generally, enjoying life.  I hope you are too and that something here may occasionally strike a note of concordance.  And if not, hopefully you will just be entertained.

Anyway,  I will ask forgiveness for my delinquency and move forward with hope and the challenge to convey that which compels me at any given time--read at your own risk.  I welcome comments and contradicting opinions, but if you troll me, then you will be booted back under the bridge.

Cheers to a new stream of consciousness to be published here!