Celebration: Let there be music

I am digging deep this week. Usually writing this post is a source of joy. Today, after a very long week, I mostly want to crawl into my bed and hide under the pillows. But, I am pretty certain, that this is all the more reason to find things to celebrate. I thank Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week.

celebrate link up

This week there is huge escalation between the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation (our teacher’s union) and B.C. Public School Employer’s Association (bargaining on behalf to the government). There are rotating strikes – so we were out of the classroom on Monday and now the government has locked us out for part of every day and is deducting 10% of our daily salary each day. We can not arrive at school before 8:15 a.m. and must leave by 3:45 p.m. We are not permitted to work with students over recess or lunch. It is ugly and stressful. I am exhausted and feeling disorganized and completely out of sorts. I love my job but I have lots of needs in my room. The teaching and learning work when I am energetic and “on my game.” This week, with everything going on, it was hard to be in that place. A challenging week to feel inspired and passionate about a job that I love. Which just felt all kinds of wrong.

But at the end of the week, I do have gratitude. When I look back over the week, there were many happy moments with the children. And there was one half hour block that was my “guaranteed happy” – our music class on Thursday afternoon with Jill Samycia Recently I wrote a letter in support of what this outreach program means to me. I am sharing it here:

 St James outreach Celebration: Let there be music

Every week, there is almost a guarantee that I will be moved to tears with my students. Not out of sadness. Or anger. Or frustration. But out of pure joy.

This moment happens Thursday afternoons when my children (an energetic Grade 2/3/4 class) come upstairs to sing with Jill Samycia from St. James Music Academy.  On the way up there is noise – singing, humming, chatter. On the way down it is louder, inspired by thirty minutes of time with Jill. While we are there, there is rarely a silent moment. A second here or there when we breathe between lyrics and the piano momentarily stops. Between songs, the children are buzzing. They make requests. They keep singing a favourite part. They are negotiating who will sing with who if there are “solos” Natter, natter, natter. And then Jill begins to play and whoa . . . Whoa.

My chatty, energized, silly class rises up and sings. It is precious and magical and shockingly amazing. These children belt out lyrics. Elements of soul, passion and emotion reveal themselves. They smile. They sway. Some get up and dance. We all get lost in the song. I often kind of cry. Because Jill finds the place inside of these children that is talent and music and confidence and risk taking all rolled into one.

She brings it out and it shines bigger each week. It strengthens who we are as a community. It strengthens the spirit of each child. I catch smiles of happy and proud and calm. Children sing solos that are barely audible at first. Others knock us over with throaty style that seems to channel from some older, wiser soul. Some of these kids are kids who barely say boo in class. Others are kids who never stop talking. But when we sing, we all have voice. When we sing together . . .

So Thursday afternoon is a beautiful, inspired time with my students and with Jill. Guaranteed wonderful. Guaranteed magic. A piano. A room full of kids. A talented teacher who has ways . . .  Let there be music.

Thank you St. James Music Academy and the amazing outreach program. Thank you Jill Samycia.

With gratitude and Thursday tears,

Carrie Gelson

Grade 2/3/4 Teacher

Seymour Elementary

This I celebrate! Thank you to Jill and the sounds of singing that gave me my “guaranteed happy” in a challenging week. It always means a lot. This week, it was especially wonderful. And oh so needed 🙂

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!