Reflections of a Music Teacher

“Thanks for being the most awesome music teacher I’ve known although you’ve only taught me for one term”

My music student

It has been such a joy teaching Music at the Singapore Chinese Girl’s School over the past 3 months. I am only a temporary teacher here, substituting for the regular music teacher who has been on leave.

The job for the term entailed teaching the girls basic guitar skills, making sure every one is able to play the basic 4 chord strumming pattern, and guiding them in the preparation of a group performance of a song which they have chosen.

This basically means we have a “ROCK-ing” time every lesson as we having a good time “JAM-ming” together.

This sums up the kind of meaningful gifts I received from the girls during the recent Teachers’ Day Celebrations. Now I know just how corny these SC girls can be. 😛

What I love about teaching music is that it really gives the kids an outlet to express themselves with songs which they are able to form an emotional connection.

They are certainly quick learners, with most of them able to confidently strum the chord progressions on the guitar, even those who have not have the benefit of outside music instruction.

It is rewarding to see them plan and prepare their group performance, even sacrificing their recess times for extra group practice in the music room.

For many of them, music could very well have been perceived as just an “extra subject”, but it pleased me to see them motivated to want to improve, to put up a good show.

Ironically, I seem to be having more fun teaching, now that I have left the formal teaching service and am released from the responsibilities of school leadership. I love the little interactions with the students. I love it that now I get to go from school to school every Semester to experience a new environment as a substitute teacher. I love it that I get to teach choirs, and to steer the co-curricular groups in the direction of growth.

This feeling of satisfaction is so much greater than what money can buy, and when we receive notes of appreciation like these below, we certainly feel “better than a million dollars.”

These two weeks, I’ll be saying my goodbyes to the girls, as I probably would not get the opportunity to stay on. I’ll be doing it with a tear in my eye… I has been super fun here!

Out of my 14 years in the Education Service, I only had 5 years of experience as a music teacher, the other years I didn’t get to teach as I served in the Ministry of Education Headquarters and as a Vice-Principal.

I am proud that in that short time, I can count among my students professional performers and music educators. We never know how what we do can impact someone for a lifetime!

Perhaps one of more of these girls I’m teaching right now might go on to do something great in some arena of music… who knows?

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