Thursday, March 4, 2010

Teacher Act

Sure, I could probably earn more money doing something other than teaching, but I feel like what I do has intrinsic value. The best part of my job is when I get to put on music performances with my students.  Last night, a small vocal group of mine sang the music from "Sister Act" for a public performance.  If you've ever seen the movie, you know that this music is very upbeat, happy, and just fun.  It was a hit!  

I know "Sister Act" isn't considered to be a great movie or anything (even though I like it).  However, the scenes which involve the transformation of the choir are inspiring!  Whoopi Goldberg plays a woman who is a lounge singer, witnesses a crime, and has to go into the witness protection program.  She has to pretend to be a nun and live in a convent.  When she first hears the convent's choir, they sound terrible.  Among others, there is an old nun with a low voice; a shrill, operatic-sounding nun; and a shy nun who barely makes a sound.  When they sing together in unsion, they sound just awful.  Whoopi works with them to try and improve the sound.

Later in the movie, they show the choir singing in the next church service.  They start all prim and proper singing "Hail Holy Queen".  Then, they break out into the same tune accompanied by boistrous clapping and gospel-style harmonizing.  (There's a bit of a musical joke as well when they use Beatles-esce ascending dominant 7th sequences as transitions during the "alleluias".  If you're a musician, you'll be chuckling when you hear it.)  The same nuns who were terrible in one context were transformed into being fantastic in another context.  The low-singing nun sang a chant-style solo, the shrill nun sang an awesome high solo, and the shy nun was given a solo in which she belted it out!  Whoopi had taken each nun's apparent weakness and turned it into a strength!

This scene in the movie is a perfect way to describe what I feel my job is.  My goal is to find each student's strength and to put them in a context where they can really shine.  While I certainly don't always succeed, I do try.  I feel like I'm Whoopi, taking each student's gifts and combining them into something beautiful.  (Well, I'm not nearly as cool as Whoopi but a girl can dream, right?)


  1. You are a wonderful example for your students.

  2. Aww, thanks! Like I said, I don't always succeed (I do have my moments!), but I do try. I was lucky enough to have teacher who made me feel valued and I have never forgotten what that feels like. I want to do the same for my little darlin's!