littlecolourfulteacher

littlecolourfulteacher

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boundary setting 101

March 17, 2019

My prefects coaching each other on boundary setting today:
Miss Prefect No. 1: “I NEED my final free today, I’ve lost so many frees this week and I’ve got this meeting that will go on forever…!”
Sir Prefect: “Okay, what you need to is give an absolute time limit, and you can’t go beyond that.”
Miss Prefect No. 1: “How am I supposed to do that?! I need to be all supportive + welcoming, but actually, I’m DYING inside.”
Miss Prefect No. 2: “Okay, here’s what you need to do. You say you’ve got half an hour, that’s a fair amount of time for this, right? After that, you’ve got a music lesson. I know you don’t, but NOW you do. There, DEFINITE END POINT.”
Sir Prefect: “Walk out confident. Straight shoulders. Thank them for their time, firm handshake. Smile. Eyes up, look straight ahead. Be polite, but don’t linger.” (I did crack up at this point. 🤣)
What makes this all the more endearingly hilarious is that these prefects are some of the MOST generous, time-efficient, selfless, well-adjusted, and damn hard-working individuals I’ve ever met, let alone Year 12s.
Them navigating “Boundary Setting 101”, open-coaching style, just warmed my heart + made me feel like a proud Mama Kwokkie. They’re learning. 😁

#wearethem

March 17, 2019

Our hearts are with New Zealand.

#wearethem

because we care

March 17, 2019

Sir Year 7, walking down the stairs from Music + grumpily complaining: “I dunno why she’s picking on me. There’s nothing wrong with my assignment, I did everything she asked for!”
 
Miss Year 11, walking up the stairs to Music, no idea who this kid is: “Guys, if Ms Kwok decides to pick on you and push you to do better, you have no idea how lucky you are!”
 
Me, inside the Music classroom, just out of sight: 😁
 
THE GREATEST. Made my day. 

people trust me with their children…!

March 11, 2019

People trust me with their children…!

it’s all about choice + attitude

March 11, 2019

YOUR choice. What will you choose?

the music teacher’s sixth sense

March 11, 2019 1 Comment

Sir Year 12 explaining my perfect pitch to Sir Year 10:

“So Ms Kwok *HEARS STUFF* in the same way that creepy kid sees dead people in ‘The Sixth Sense’…”

I’m feeling weirdly complimented. 😆

And here’s the version I taught at this year’s Festival of Music opening conference. 😆

Fabulous game which is suitable for Year 5 through to Year 8, although my Year 11s still love it. It works through coordination with a partner who is “pounding” the pulse, and the fun and humour come through the possibility of getting pummelled if your pounder is not strong at keeping the given pulse, or gets distracted!

The difference in pace from my previous video! 😂

Jacko was a champ coming up to be the official rice pounder. 😁

the japanese rice pounding game!

March 10, 2019

This year, I taught the Japanese Rice Pounding game to the choir trainers + accompanists of Festival of Music. It’s a fabulous coordination game which teaches independence between pulse + rhythm, and I will post a video of me demonstrating it following this one.

A colleague sent me this and I just had to share; here is the real deal!

For those of you who have done the Japanese Rice Pounding game with me, have a look at THIS version! 😳

We are TAME! The Aussie laid-back version! 😂

fastest rice pounder + the japanese rice pounding game

March 10, 2019

the little moments of heart

March 10, 2019

Today was one of those days which never got off the ground. From the moment I walked into Concert Choir at 7:15am, I proceeded to stagger my way through double-bookings, clashes, missing pages of accompaniment, flat batteries, sick choral kiddies, dropping a jar of ashes (yes, it was Ash Wednesday, just to add to the fun), and other assorted mild to epic fails.

While sitting in the corner of the classroom, throwing down my lunch in record time in stony-faced silence + generally hating all forms of life, my Year 12 Prefects appeared with a cup of tea + a Freddo.

“Okay, Ms Kwok. We need to talk.”

Instantly, the alarm bells went off and the braincells went into overdrive, “What NOW?! Have I forgotten something? Have I let these guys down?!”

Miss Year 12 Head Prefect put her arm comfortingly around me and said, calmly and soothingly, “Look, Ms Kwok, you have to LET IT GO. You can’t do it all. You can’t nail every moment of every day. It can’t all be AMAZING.”

Sir Year 12 Deputy Prefect: “We made a cup of tea + stole a Freddo for you. Chill out. Stop saving the world for the next 20 minutes.”

Miss Year 12 Deputy Prefect: “Plus we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to quote you back to you.”

Damn it, you three. I just got schooled, and in the most caring way possible. 😭

the elusiveness of joy and spontaneity

March 2, 2019

It happened before I even knew it. I was in the middle of it all before I realised I had slipped into the cocoon of “safe and ordinary”. There’s nothing wrong with taking time out, or being in second-gear for a little while. But when I held up the way I was interacting with my beautiful students this week, the way I let small things get under my skin, and the way I was taking my choral rehearsals against my 25-year-old self, I realised I had allowed myself to cross the boundary of “commanding and mature” to “safe and ordinary”.

Call it what you will, I was not pushing boundaries because inch by inch, I had gone into energy conservation mode. This has worked for a while, so let’s keep doing it. The kids won’t respond to that. There will be discomfort, noise, and chaos, so let’s stick with the familiar. And worse still, That formula works, they can’t possibly do more than that right now. 

I used to be unashamed in my haphazard ways of pushing up against boundaries. I did it just by existing. When I was making my way as a new teacher and choral director, I would throw ideas around like beads, with the wayward and infinitely optimistic view that some of them would land on the bullseye. It wasn’t that I was fearless, it was that I was so utterly unaware of what conventions were that I had to build them every day. There was no “way that it was done”. There was only “here and now, let’s find a solution!”

And yes, it cost me energy, pride, ego, time, and caused regular discomfort to my choirs, my classes, my colleagues and my students. But I just took it as the norm. I didn’t set out to be a hell-raiser, I was just in a glorious journey of joyful, addictive discovery and creativity.

And I look back and marvel at how brave I was.

Let me look back and take a moment to imbue my current, confident, joyful self with some of that haphazard fearlessness. Rock the boat. Walk the unseen path. Let’s get curious and daringly uncomfortable because there is so much to discover. Don’t choose “safe” just because it’s easy; choose with clarity and consciousness as to what the situation needs.