This semester is quite simple on the surface. I am continuing in the integrated Musicianship course series, the history component of which covers Baroque and Classical eras. This includes more advanced theory, sight-singing and ear training, and piano lab. Im also still taking private voice lessons. The rest of my schedule is taken up by a set of courses called the Sophomore Block by the teacher education department. The same students take all the same coursesthis semester there are only eight of us, which is sweet. I go into detail about these courses below.
The most exciting thing about the Sophomore Block is what happens at the end of the semester. The courses actually wrap up after 10 weeks. The last five weeks are spent doing what amounts to an early student teaching experience! Ill be placed in a school for a combination of observation, tutoring, and full-on teaching.
I am very excited to get into the classroom so soon. Its high time to start confirm my hopes and prayers about being cut out for this work. In essence, this semester will be the make or break decision point for the whole notion of changing careers into teaching.
Now for some brief impressions of my courses.
My new professor in Music is also new to the college. He has a strong theoretical and composition background, and is a choral singer. Hes a linguistics nerd and already used one video-game analogy in his lecture. So yeah, hes right up my alley. Immediately he has also raised the bar for us we arent in Kansas anymore. Its time to get good at this stuff, and I know Im going to enjoy it.
The Comprehensive High School / Instructional Methods: Adolescents
These back-to-back courses are the heart of the block, as it relates most directly to our preparation for the five-week teaching segment. Our veteran professor is a very genial and experienced guy, full of relevant anecdotes. Apparently we will take a lot of field trips and get our hands dirty quickly. This week weve already researched and signed up for our respective professional organizations. (Im now a student member of MENC and NCTM.) It is notable that all of my education professors have experience as high-school teachers.
Reading and Language Arts Across the Content Areas
I guess its obvious now but I hadnt thought about literacy as an area of study necessary for high-school teachers. The course will be quite student-driven and our soft-spoken professor has done a great job of teaching us by her example. Weve selected a textbook to analyze (mine is Alegebra and Trigonometry) over the course of the class. So far the lesson seems to be: people have to care about what they read or they wont learn to do it.
Instructional Technology Lab
Of course I have a firm grasp of technology from a general perspective, but I expect this course to be quite useful in giving me real tools that I am likely to use immediately or eventually introduce into my classroom. The lab also serves as a resource for projects going on in other courses.
Teaching Students with Disabilities
I have already learned a ton in this course, just from the introductory chapter in the text and from what our professor has shared. Shes an adjunct instructor who spent her whole career as a special education teacher in the Green Bay schools. The material has the potential to be a bit dry but we have several visiting speakers planned and a lot of student-run presenting planned to keep things lively. There are a LOT of different classes of students with special needs!
So, thats my upcoming semester. You may notice Im not in an ensemble, which is an unfortunate side-effect of the sophomore block. But I will still be singing. More on that later.