Today I have to share one of my favorite moments of my teaching career so far. As a creative alternative to our book report over break, one student asked if she could learn a song from Hunger Games to play for the class. I agreed and she did a beautiful job connecting the lyrics of the song to her reading.
This morning her mom showed up with her guitar in a big box. We weren’t going to present today, but since her guitar was already in class, I let her go as the first and only student for the day. Late in the afternoon, when students are usually too wiggly to sit still, we gathered on the carpet and she pulled out her pretty little purple guitar.
A bundle of nerves, she asked if we could close our eyes. With the sweetest ten-year old voice, she sang Taylor Swift’s “Eyes Open” as she strummed along. The whole class covered their eyes and swayed back and forth, mesmerized. In the middle, she messed up and asked to start over. This time she told everyone they could uncover their eyes. She played the song again, beautifully, with 30 pairs of eyes on her. When she finished, the room erupted in cheers.
It was one of those moments I wish I had on film. So sweet and filled with emotion. I wanted to cry as I watched her. She was so nervous, but she forced herself to be brave and do it anyway. It took at least five years for me to let Alex hear me sing. She sang to a room of ten and eleven year-olds with a presence, grace, and soul uncommon in most adult performers.
I guess you can say I’m glad to be back to work with my students. It always takes a couple days, but I get there.