It was in the Bronx, teaching kindergarten though third grade. I loved it. I didn't have a classroom and the school didn't have an elevator. My pregnant self walked to each of my classes on the first, second, and third floors, rolling my teaching cart filled with music supplies. Of course I couldn't roll my cart up and down the stairs, so I had to carry it. Don't worry, when I was in my third trimester I had students carrying it up and down for me. It was the best pregnancy experience in the sense that my baby was constantly exposed to music, movement, voices, and a lot of laughter and fun.
My highlight was the Winter Concert. The school was so big that we couldn't fit all the classes of each grade on stage together. I ended up with six groups of students that each got a turn to perform on stage. Each group had two pieces to sing, meaning I taught tweve different pieces total. That's quite a lot considering I included choreography, multiple languages, instruments and costume props. But it wasn't enough. I wanted this concert to be beautiful for the entire school and community. I enlisted the PA (Parent Association) of the school and they made decorations for the auditorium and put the decorations up themselves. I got the art teachers involved to have the students create a giant banner for the concert. I even had help from the custodians; they let me borrow their screwdriver so that I could fix the risers and organize them on stage. It was especially fun when I climbed a fire-escape sized ladder from the stage to a secret second floor storage space to find the extra risers and throw them down. I was six months pregnant at that time.
The entire week of the concerts, we had been dress rehearsing. Teaching 110 kindergarteners, 155 first graders, 158 second graders, and 45 third graders how to walk on and off stage, where and how to stand on stage, and how to perform on stage without falling off the risers or getting hurt is no easy feat. I jumped on and off that stage to help students so many times that the teachers were calling me the pregnant Spider-man. But I loved it. And so did those kids. They got a kick out of me jumping and running and dancing around all the time. It made music more fun and comfortable. It makes sense why my baby is such a wiggly-butt; he never stood a chance.
So the time had come. My two days of winter concerts. It was absolutely amazing! I made flyers and reminders to send home with every single student, and those parents came. Each of my six groups had a full house. The PA was there handing out programs that I made, and I had a cute red dress on that charismatically showed off my almost seven-month baby bump. I apologized to the the first row in the audience for their view of my backside, and with that, we began the show. My students ROCKED. Every single group got on and off the stage and risers without falling, tripping, or bumping into one another. They followed my conducting like little hawks, and they performed their pieces beautifully!
I am rather biased, but you can see for yourself. This is a clip from one of my kindergarten groups. They learned these pieces in six class sessions, for about thirty minutes in each session. That's a total of three hours.