Old Dog, New Tricks?

by gillis

A reminder email from the local instructor of Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) popped up in my online mailbox yesterday, and with it came all sorts of anxieties. How will I manage to make it to these weekly classes? I hope my husband meant it when he told me to sign up and he’d figure out a way to make it home in time for me attend each week. Will I be able to read the music? I never truly mastered that as a kid. What kind of expectation will there be for using this in my classroom? Please don’t tell me I will have to play the guitar and sing publicly in my classroom for some sort of credit, reimbursement, or action research. I may want to do this eventually, but if there is a short-term expectation that I’ll be ready to do that by, say, June 1st, I may need to retreat.

In short, I’m scared as hell to do this. That means it’s gotta be valuable, right? Like doing anything new –learning to ride a bike, having a baby, hosting a big holiday dinner, buying a house –they were all scary that first time but they were all worthwhile. And I’ve wanted to play the guitar since I was a kid. Sadly, I think it may be too late for me to be the next Bonnie Raitt/Tracy Chapman/Shawn Colvin but I could be the wacky 5th grade ELA teacher who pulls out her guitar from time to time to introduce or emphasize something. I could lead the class in song, accompany students who write their own songs, or play music as a background to writing time. Heck, I could write songs about parts of speech and comma splices!

In the meantime, I’ll be checking out my wardrobe for some rock star accessories to wear to the first class. I may need to go shopping for a strength-giving scarf or pair of earrings this week. That’s worth it right there.

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