SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: A Music Teacher Can't Teach Music Out of Shit Served

Saturday, October 5, 2019

A Music Teacher Can't Teach Music Out of Shit Served

Arthur Goldstein wrote an interesting piece today about overcrowded music classes in I
would assume his school, Francis Lewis HS. I was not aware that HS music could have 50 students in one class. I have always been aware (and I could be wrong) that even in elementary, Phys. Ed could have 50 students with one teacher.

Which brings me to elementary music or the appearance of it in one Bronx elementary school. Two years ago I wrote about Aaron, a teacher that was written up for bullshit and a failed attempt (gratefully) at suicide during his 3020-a hearing.

Aaron was the music teacher in his school at the time of his troubles.  In fact, Aaron was in my school for a year as an ATR music teacher about ten years ago. In that one school year at my school he put in a grant in and received about a dozen keyboards. The kids loved Aaron and loved going to his class. Sadly, when the year ended Aaron was not kept on.

At the school he was at when I came across him in my ATR travels and as of the basis of the writings above Aaron was yet again the music teacher and no longer an ATR. The school was damn lucky to have him. He gave of himself, going above and beyond constantly. The Christmas Spectaculars he put on were the talk of the community. Sadly, his principal did not care for him and wanted him out.

If Aaron Judge comes up to the plate without a bat, he won't get a hit, correct? Well, Aaron's principal decided not to supply him with the necessary accoutrements for him to succeed as a music teacher. Namely, he was not supplied with any musical instruments at all. Nada. Bupkus. Nichts.

What did Aaron have? He had iPads. What was on the iPads? Garage Band. That's it. No YouTube. No nothing else. How is a music teacher supposed to introduce and teach the appreciation of music with just an app? Why didn't the principal supply Aaron with the materials that would give him, not only the chance to succeed and shine, but to stimulate the minds of the students? The students were to learn keyboarding and whatever else, on an iPad.

I am all for integrating technology into the curriculum. But there has to be training. Aaron had ZERO chances or offers of professional development. Aaron was set up to fail.

Aaron is a professional musician. He has played on Broadway countless times and has played in several prominent jazz bands. Aaron as a deep love and historical knowledge of music, though I am perplexed at his lack of knowledge of Rush. Aaron is without a doubt a principal's dream to have on staff as a music teacher.

But the principal didn't care for Aaron. He wasn't part of the "cool kids" clique. Aaron had to be brought down at the expense of the students.


Anonymous said...

I am a certified elementary school physical education teacher. Class size for ELEMENTARY physical education classes are capped at 32 just like elementary classroom teachers. However, many admins either don't know this or simply don't give a shit and many newbie PE teachers are stuck with huge classes and are afraid to grieve it due to payback via Danielson hit squads.

Pete Zucker said...

Thanks for clearing that up

Elliot Sumbaswing said...

I am that music teacher(Aaron). My real name is is Elliot. I reveal that because I am not afraid of retribution from the principal since I no longer work for the Doe. Now that I'm retired I feel better that I'm no longer in the toxic environment of Ps/Ms 25.
I preferred to retire at a large cost to my pocket because I couldn't bear listening to former colleagues whom I considered friends testify and lie about me to save their positions at the bilingual school. I know I'm not a perfect teacher and can always improve but it broke my heart to see friends all follow the principals script to save their pensions.

waitingforsupport said...

Elliott I just wanted to tell you even if you took a large financial loss,your well being is more valuable. You sound amazing. I've backed away from responding on several educator blogs because of the toxicity. However, I just had to comment on your experience. I,too, had a very similar story but was able to get justice, publicly. It sure felt amazing. Enjoy retirement. Rest assured you've had a significant affect on the students who came into contact with you. As for your loser colleagues, forget the cowards. They are victims of their own insecurity and weak backbone.

Anonymous said...

Elliott, were you at PS 25 on East 149th Street in the Bronx? I worked there a loooong time ago. (Over ten years ago) What year did this happen? Who was your principal?

Anonymous said...

I've got a kid who just started the DOE. I am so scared for her. She's honest, lovely and has never had a need for claws. Not sure this was the way to go for her.

Anonymous said...

Elliot, I am so sorry you went through all that. There are still many going through similar experiences in this system. I am glad you are doing better.