Thursday, April 28, 2011

Drama... no, music.

Today, an anticipated episode occured at an unexpected time. It was during vocals and what happened was rather shocking and scary. This was mainly caused by the teacher or the students lack of enthusiasm and cooperation which discouraged the teacher but of course, both sides were wrong. Even though I'm part of the class, I consider myself to be a bystander as I watched everything progress and took no part in the ongoing activities. You probably don't know or remember, but I've been complaining about my school for quite a while. It is very frustrating for eager students like myself to be placed in a class taught by lazy/self-centered and bias teachers and frankly, my expectations have already fallen but I still get frustrated over the unequal treatment and time wastage.

Anyways, firstly, I think my music teacher is mainly to blame because she developed the habit of chatting. People in the Western world are usually more laid-back and friendly, so it's not uncommon for teachers to be talking away to students during class time on a daily basis or at least so I've seen. The first few weeks, she talked for around 20 minutes before getting the class to warm up and sing. Obviously, the students have already gotten used to this "leisure period" in class and carried on talking even when they weren't supposed to. I'm not accusing the whole class of being undisciplined, it's approximately a third. My teacher didn't really bother fixing it either, it's only when we have this musical show nearing that she starts stressing out because we can't sing ANY of the songs correctly. We're doing Rent and for the past couple of months, we didn't practice much because we've had quite a lot of movie-time and other music tests. I think we watched three movies last month because my music teacher was away for some unknown reason. I'm not blaming her for taking leave or what not, but there are consequences for missed classes and I thought she'd handle it since after all, she's been teaching for years.

One day, which was only a week ago, she quits on us because we've spent so much time learning the songs that we don't have enough time to choreograph. The students with a musical education in class would lead groups of people in singing their parts, yes, our vocals teacher practically handed her job over to the students and sat beside the special education aide pouring her frustrations out. That made the students who were teaching pissed, they lost respect for her because she wasn't doing her job and she shifted the responsibility of teaching songs to them. One even said, "I'm not getting paid for this." and I replied jokingly, "I'll give you my lunch." They were cherry tomatoes, in case you wondered what my lunch was that day. After that, I went for Drama and my classmate who is both in my vocals and drama class suddenly tells me, "You see Miss (First Letter of Last Name) is such a crazy b***h. [Blah blah blah blah] She's f**king crazy." I'm staring at him like, how could you say that? But I casually disagreed with him and pointed to the drama teacher, saying that that was what I thought about her. He disagreed since he loved her so much and started justifying her way of teaching.

I have realized in school that the people I dislike or find shallow love teachers I despise. Anyways, not the point.

I told him, "Well, she did try to at least teach." and he goes, "No, she doesn't she f**king [forgotten]... she just cries all the time whining about whatever. Nobody f*cking cares." That classmate of mine started skipping vocal classes and the next thing I know, he quit the course and complained to the vice-principal and all. Whoa, that's someone's career you're messing with. Personally, I don't think she does that bad of a job and there are far worse teachers in our school that you should defame (like the one you love). I don't know what exactly made him hate her so much and if it was personal or a buildup of frustration because of an incompatible teaching method. I was bothered by what he said and the next day, I asked my classmate about it and told her what he said out of astonishment. "Um, (name). What's wrong with Ms.(name)? Did you know that (name) called her a crazy b**ch?" In a matter-of-fact manner, she answered, "Because she is a crazy b**ch. You do know she has multiple sclerosis right? Last year the same thing happened, she cries all the time. Like we've told her she should stop teaching if she can't handle students but she said it was fine . . . "

Yesterday, when my classmate told me he was quitting, I immediately thought about how my vocals teacher would feel and if she knew already. I have thought of quitting my drama and vocal classes before but obviously, it didn't go to such an extreme that I would be fully sure of my decision so I stayed anyways.

It started out normal in vocal class and we were supposed to do a test on the song "Without You" in groups of three. The vocal teacher was noticeably irritated when there were a trio practicing the selected segment and she was trying to talk to the class but it couldn't be clearly heard with all the noise. She made a remark like, "You guys are practicing when I didn't let you guys start yet but nevermind, that always happens..." Once she was done with her announcement she wrote a list of things we were gonna do on the chalkboard and added at the end, ". . . if you notice I'm gone."

Clearly, she was emo-ing badly. She left the classroom to photocopy some stuff and that was when trouble started. The class continued to talk, it became louder and louder, till a special education supervisor walked to the front of the class and started lecturing us on being respectful and appreciative of our vocal teacher. I happen to have noticed all of this because I was sitting at the back of the class revising my drama notes for a test in the following period. Usually I sit on the upper right-hand side reading tweets when we're doing nothing and nothing doesn't mean singing. It's when everyone is so absorbed in their conversation--even the teacher--that precious class time is wasted so rather than staring into space waiting patiently for my vocal teacher to begin I check Twitter.

As everyone agreed to warm up their voices, another special-ed aide walks up to the class and by this time I wasn't listening but heard a phrase like "whatever you're smoking... you're..." then she goes back to her chair and looks at the class then suddenly demanded to the center of the class, "What did you say?" Everyone looked at her confused. "You said eff that, I heard you say 'eff that'" Eventually, the girl she was staring dead straight at asked, "Who? Me?" "Yes you. You said 'f**k that'. You--" and then suddenly, this guy stands up while the girl was telling her friends around her that she didn't and asked if they heard it, and he started saying, "You know what, let's just start warming up. You're wasting our time." I was impressed by his maturity till he reacted in a threatening manner after the teacher continued to pursue the matter. He was shouting and stepping nearer and nearer to the special-ed aide, "LET'S JUST WARM UP THEN. WHY AREN'T YOU LETTING US WARM UP? GO AHEAD. CALL THE [principal or something]."

I was freaking out, I think we all were. I didn't understand why he was yelling or why he acted in such a way. A school administrator was called in and she requested our vocal teacher to return, when she did the administrator called for the guy who shouted after a while. Everyone started talking at once, describing to our vocal teacher what just happened, "SHE CALLED US POTHEADS. LIKE SHE SAID 'WHATEVER WE WERE SMOKING... *rest of the class agrees and starts chipping in*". All of a sudden, our vocal teacher broke down and started to sobbing, "I don't know why... why this always happens. I really don't..." I forgot the rest but she said something about the class being negative and how hard she was trying and reminding everyone about her condition. She also said that she was certain she would go to the hospital someday because of all this stress and negativity which would trigger her MS. Then a few students comforted her and also encouraged her and said things like, "Miss, I know we [something something] but we're really trying now. We're doing good now and singing and stuff. We'd really like you to teach us again." (Since for the last few days, she's been doing nothing but telling people to practice in trios.)

I saw tears trickled down the face of another girl who, just less than an hour before class, said, "I don't like Miss (letter of name). I mean, I don't like her voice. It sucks! I don't get why she teach--why she's a teacher. And she can't teach. She sounds weird. Do you actually think she's a singer? *laughs*" Another classmate defended her a little by saying she was much better three years ago but for some reason our vocal teacher's getting worse. I don't know, I... just got here. Sort of, 7 months ago.

So I heard enough of the students, one by one, butt into the drama with their own angelic consolation for the teacher. I look down on my lap to read my notes and three seconds later, the girl sitting besides me tells me to stop. I look at her and asked, "What?" "Aren't you listening?" "Well, they're comforting her." I said in a duh tone. "Yeah and that's not comforting." She was referring to my note reading. Okay, to me I was just reading notes but of course, looking from the outside, I was f**king inconsiderate to be revising at this emotional moment. I had a flash of indignity and wanted to say, "STFU. You called her a crazy b*tch so don't be self-righteous with me right now." That would have been uncalled for since afterall, what I was doing really was insensitive and she was trying to make everything feel nice for the teacher.

What can I say? I've been dulled by my own life's drama. Seeing her cry and be weak in front of class even though she was advised to stop doing this job made me question her motives for staying. Teacher's pension or love for teaching music? I think it's the first because I have asked her to teach me certain things before and she didn't give a damn, she merely replied, "You should know this by now." Why THANK YOU, (un)TEACHer. I told her, I told her I had no musical knowledge and that I can't read music. I humbly asked for her help and she bloody says, "You should know this by now"? Whatever man, really. I did not talk crap about you or slander you to the vice-principal and I paid attention during class, and this is what happens. You hardly teach us the technicalities of singing and you wouldn't explain the note theories to me and you come into class looking glum all the time. Frankly, I think you deserved it.

It's funny that I'm saying it now because earlier on, I felt bad for you and I was angry with my classmates who slacked. But again, it still is partly your fault. Don't let teaching drive you to your grave since you have this special condition. It's high school, teenagers are hard to manage. I don't know if Glee had somehow raised your hope of having a class of perfectly-pitched, musically-trained, gospel-like singers. Forget it. You need some spirit for that but you let life beat you down.

I really don't know if I should quit Grade 12 Vocals and sign up for a more theoretical course. Maybe an extra science subject like physics. Grr, I really don't know. I don't want my time to be wasted by an unfit teacher and receive trinkets of musical education for my last year in high school.


Simon Seow said...

This is what happened when teacher loosen the class too much. No control at all.

Zoeyve said...

Yeah, I think that's how it's like in teacher collges too. lulz!