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My Crazy Summer of Aught Nine


This summer has been the best summer of my teaching career so far. Unfortunately for you, I haven’t blogged about it a whole lot. As I get back into the routine of things a little bit more, I will have some more time and energy to begin writing about some of the things that I have experienced and why it is that this summer has been so good.

It all started back at the end of May when I made the decision to miss school on Memorial Day so I could go spend the weekend with my family. My sister was in town and my cousin had a party celebrating his graduation from Med School as a neurosurgeon. I hadn’t seen much of my family in quite a while, so I decided to go. It was a great escape for me, and I was so glad that I did it.

As the summer came, I began playing golf some with a few friends and I was going to a bunch of mariachi rehearsals and we were playing gigs almost every weekend. It was a lot of fun, but my summer was beginning to be busier than the school year in some ways. In the middle of June I skipped out of town one week, missed a mariachi performance, and went back to visit family and friends. While I was there, I realized that it was time for me to retire from the mariachi so that I could pursue other things in my free time.

I have gone out of town virtually every weekend for the past four weeks, and am already booked for the next two as well. It is refreshing to be able to get away and do these things again! I’ve hung out with friends and family who don’t live nearby and I’ve missed spending time with. This past weekend I was able to celebrate my birthday in San Antonio with my parents. If you ever get the chance to go to San Antonio, you absolutely must have a meal (or two or three) at Mi Tierra in Market Square. We also went to The Cheesecake Factory. Great food! In fact, I posted a picture of my cheesecake on Facebook and one of the guys I work with got jealous, so we’re planning on going this weekend after our meeting in San Antonio.

In addition to all of the personal stuff I’ve been running around doing, I began teaching marching fundamentals to the high school band almost a month ago also. We started with a short Freshman camp in the second week of July, then I met with the student leaders and went through our marching style.

All that is to give you a little bit of a backdrop on why I haven’t been blogging much lately. In fact, I have been out living a little bit. Forgive me!

Here’s what my current schedule looks like through the end of this week. We started high school summer band a week and a half ago, and I have been teaching marching fundamentals to the high school. We are outside (in South Texas) from 8:00am to 10:00. Beginning last Monday, I leave the high school around 9:30 to get across town to the middle school. One of the other directors is working with my band until I get there, then we play tag team and he goes to the high school to work with the students some there. We finish the MS summer band at 11:30, and go back to the high school to do sectionals beginning at 1:30. We are in sectionals until 3:00 when the full band gets together and the assistant directors (me and some others) begin listening to students play their music.

All in all, it’s pretty packed! Next week it gets really fun. We have inservices during the days and then we have rehearsal outside (still in South Texas, mind you) from 3:45 to 5:45pm. Did I mention that this has been the hottest and driest summers in recent memory? We have that four days next week, then move to three days once school starts. The first football game is on August 28th. About three hours away.

Anyway, this summer has really afforded me numerous opportunities to reflect on teaching, my vision for where I am going with this band program, my goals for professional growth over the next year, and a few other things. I have had my passion reignited and it’s wonderful! I’ll write much more in the upcoming days and weeks.

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.