You might not know that once upon a time, I was a piano player. So much so, I considered making it a major in college.
As it does, college happened, marriage happened, work happened, kids happened.
Piano didn't happen.
About 10 years ago, a piano showed up in my house. I would sit down from time to time. This piano was the one I used growing up. It's an honor to have it in my house.
Then about 2 years ago, I was tinkering with hymns at my mom and dad's farm. Grandma let me know I was getting rusty. "Those boys are getting in the way of your music." I will never forget that moment because Grandma didn't speak up much.
When I interviewed for the job I have now about a year ago, I stated that I did know how to play the piano. I didn't think too much of it. Then I showed up in August.
New colleagues: "We need you to play the piano for us in chapel." Big smile.
Me: "I'm rusty!"
New colleagues: "It's okay!" And it has been.
But my journey back to playing the piano in front of people, who sing while I'm playing, has been a bumpy one in my eyes. It has me always thinking of my students and how they learn new things too. So today, I thank my piano for reminding me of how my students are working hard every day.
Thank you. When I started playing you again, it was hard. Really hard. I really had to think about what I was doing. All.the.time. I still do. You require my total and complete focus. When people approach me and want to chat when I'm practicing, I have to stop and change gears.
You've taught me, when I speak up in my classroom, I'm approaching a student who requires complete and total focus.
They are working hard. Really hard.
You've taught me to be careful with the timing and quantity of my words.
I hit a lot of wrong notes. A Lot. I'm learning to play through those and keep going. Play it again so there aren't as many wrong notes.
Those mistakes in the classroom? Thank you. I'm learning how to teach kids to keep going. Try it again so it's not so hard.
Playing you in front of people is scary. My "grown up brain" knows it is fine. Everyone understands. But each week, my hands shake, and I have to will them to work so I can keep playing.
Learning to read/write/do math, when it's hard, can be scary. Kids are brave, and I'm working hard to see that and honor any risks being taken in the classroom. The will it takes to learn is remarkable. Each week you remind me of that.
Learning is beautiful. When I do play things the right way, that feels tremendous!
We celebrate when the learning is successful in my room! Hugs and high fives all around!
Dear piano, thanks for leading me back to my students.