Prac has been such an exciting learning experience and I am really enjoying it, but its also been super challenging. Working 6 days a week very quickly became a huge challenge on both my time management skills, and my mental health. Teachers are incredibly overloaded and even doing just a half load of teaching has been super challenging for me, especially while trying to maintain my usual studio teaching and my choir rehearsal in preparation for Vasks and Mahler.
PART 3: THE EXHAUSTION OF MISS BRERETON
I'm very used to juggling uni and two or three casual jobs, but especially in the first two week juggling end of uni assignments, three casual jobs and full time work (in the form of prac) was absolutely killing me. Not only was I really struggling to adjust to teaching high school (as highlighted in the last instalment of this series) but at the end of each (often quite difficult) day, I had to run off to either a rehearsal or an afternoon of teaching and then spent all night trying to figure out my lesson plans for the next few days. I found this really difficult to juggle, and the pile of things I had to stay on top of seemed to be never ending and always growing. Thankfully I only had about two weeks of this before uni ended and things got a bit easier and another week later one of my schools finished for the term so I had one more evening to myself to plan lessons. Unfortunately as the new term has begun, concert season has also begun, meaning I'm at school all day, and at the Sydney Opera House every night singing Mahler 2 with the SSO. This is such a privilege and I'm so excited to be singing in such an impressive world class venue, but I am so incredibly tired and burnt out. It really feels like a struggle to get through the days and the nights and balance all my lesson planning, my 'real' job, practice and basic self care. In two weeks I'll be at the opera house again singing Brahms' German Requiem which will be lovely and hopefully a little less stressful as I will have finished prac by then.
Getting into the last two weeks of my prac has been very exciting. I feel like I've learned a lot in my few weeks here and I feel a lot more settled in my teaching and in my relationships with my students. I feel much more confident and prepared for my lessons and I am finding that students I previously struggled a lot with are warming up to me and I'm able to influence them more positively. I'm really excited to be working with Year 8 over the next week, as they've just finished an example on guitars and reading tab, and are ready to start learning about chords!! I love teaching students about chords because it means we can start jamming and playing music they know and will really love. Its lessons like these that I hope will make students fall in love with music and learning music.
I'm also really excited to restart at Banksmeadow Public School this term. I'll be working with the Stage 1 classes, Support Unit and Preschool. I'm really excited for this and I think it will be a very different experience to the work I was doing with the Primary students. I'm excited to be able to teach through games and play and I think that the primary students will really benefit from choir and singing together, and I really look forwards to interacting with them in this different format. A lot of my older students in year 5 and 6 can be quite rowdy, and I'm a bit worried about how this may present in such a large group environment and how I'll manage it. It will be really nice to have the other teachers there to supervise a little bit so I can get some feedback and support, but I'm worried that I'll get a little bit overwhelmed by all the students. I still need to prepare my program for this term, especially since I'll have to prepare about 3 different lesson plans each week, one for early Stage One, one for Stage One and one for the Support Unit. For last term, I was able to used a modified version of the same lesson plan for each class, but I think I will need something a bit different this term. For the first week or two I might try a similar approach, using one lesson that I can modify a bit for each class, and then I'll see what needs changing.
I've learned a lot on this placement, and even though it has been super exhausting it has also been very rewarding, but I'm excited for it to be over so I can get back to working and use all the new skills I've learned to benefit my own students. I'm also excited to get back to some bass guitar practice! Its going slow at the moment but I'm still so happy and obsessed with this gorgeous instrument!