Learning Where You Least Expect It

I have been thinking a lot as I come up to my first year teaching anniversary, meaning I have been away from Manhappiness for almost a year. There are days I really miss Manhattan and K-State because I don’t attend classes; I teach them. I don’t go to rehearsal; I run them. I can’t roll out of bed in sweats and run to class, I have to put on dress clothes and drive 40 minutes 🙂

While I think back to the more influential things I encountered on campus, I realized that I am a great teacher because of my experiences at K-State, (not to toot my own horn). I had some really neat experiences that I can transfer to my classroom and here are the greatest hits.

  1. Dr. Kelly Welch’s Classes. I was lucky enough to take Human Development and Human Sexuality from her in person on campus. Dr. Welch is a FANTASTIC educator with great classroom management and compassion. I learned SO much about teaching middle school from her Human Sexuality class; why kids act weird (hormones) and how to spot unhealthy relationships (this applies to more than just students, sadly.) If you ever get a chance to take a Dr. Welch class or just take her a Starbucks and introduce yourself, it is definitely worth meeting her!
  2. Culture and Context in Leadership through the School of Leadership Studies. I feel horrible because I can’t remember who my teacher was, but that class was fantastic. Learning so many different things from different people with different perspectives really helped me develop my educational philosophy. Another must-take class.
  3. K-State Marching Band. I was a clarinet player in The Pride for three years. It was one of the hardest but most enjoyable things I have ever done. The discipline, management and leadership I learned through the organization is second to none. Dr. Frank Tracz is a hard-working, high-expecting and excellence-driven man who has made the band great. My kids can’t believe that I was in the band (especially since I teach choir!) and it is truly one of the coolest things I have ever been involved in. I could talk about the KSUMB and the band department all day long, but I will spare you. 🙂
  4. College of Education Catalyst. The Catalyst taught me how to use a copy machine and a laminator. This may be the most important skill of all! I actually worked there for a semester and learned a lot about logistics of a school environment, I would highly recommend working there!
  5. Dr. Julie Yu. Dr. Yu is the co-director of Choral Activities. I look up to this woman so much. She is amazing. I want to be her (but not in a creepy way!) While I was busy with band (and wasn’t a choral major), Dr. Yu ALWAYS took the time to say hi and see how I was. I had the pleasure of being in her Women’s Choir for a semester and I learned so much about choral directing, which turned out to be invaluable in my current profession. To this day, I still admire Dr. Yu. She is another woman you should know, no matter who you are.

Of course there are many, many more people and events who have influenced me over the years, but these are some that help me in my current job.

My advice to you is to try everything; you never know what will help you connect to your kids!