That Time I was ridiculously sick during the ONE week I couldn’t take any time off, a.k.a SSA Clinic week.
One of the worst parts about being a teacher is getting sick at the most inconvenient times. For me, that was the week before Thanksgiving. With two Veteran's Day assemblies that Monday, and our SSA Clinic on Thursday, all I could do was buckle up and hold on. #thestruggleisreal
SSA Clinic Week: In A Nutshell
Monday: Made it through Veteran's Day. Kids did great. Gave my classes something to do so I could sit in the corner and blow my nose.
Tuesday: Actually called in sick. Binge-watched 8 hours of That 70's Show and hibernated in my jammies on the couch.
Wednesday: Had to go to school, because I knew my girls would freak if I wasn't there the day before a trip to give them the low-down about what was going on.
Thursday: SSA Clinic. Made it through the day ok. Immediately went to bed when I got home.
Friday: I was exhausted. The girls were exhausted. Took it easy, and reflected about our clinic the day before.
What Was Different At This Clinic?
Around 3:30, some of the little kids from the Childcare Center at the church came to see the girls sing. We had them perform their three pieces, and sing some simple part songs and rounds. Afterwards, we invited them to come sit in with the girls, and we taught them one of our warm-up songs.
This clinic wasn’t held at school. Instead, I hosted the event at the church I work at. Several members of my church choir made food for all 90 of my girls, and they really appreciated it!
We stuck with three pieces this time. To flesh out our performance a little more, we added in some simple part songs and rounds in between the main songs, and demonstrated a typical warm-up sequence.
Post- Clinic Reflections
We all had a discussion about the benefits of programming three vs. four pieces for the clinic...and we’re still undecided to be honest.
With three pieces, we were able to really focus on details
At times, having only three pieces felt a little like we were spinning our wheels, and I was concerned we were running out of things to do.
With four pieces, there would have been more to work on. The boys chimed in, and said that four pieces did feel like a lot for them.
The girls liked being able to perform their fun rounds and part songs. I think it would have been neat to teach one or two brand new round/part songs at the clinic itself. I had one that we looked up, but didn’t have the energy to learn it well enough to teach since I was so sick.
The day was REAALLLY long (Their words. Not mine.)
Many of the breaks I built into the schedule were active breaks with some sort of activity. After some discussion, we felt like it would have been better to add on 15 minutes of down time to each break. At one point, the girls took a thirty minute break because they were starting to get brain-fried, and a lot of them laid down on the floor to rest. When they came back afterwards, they felt more refreshed and ready to work.
I personally enjoyed showing a few of my church members what I do. I received a lot of very kind feedback from them, and lots of appreciation!
Going off-campus felt more special, though many of my students said they wouldn’t mind if we held the SSA clinic at school in the future.
These clinics have been the best concert preparation! Most of the clinic repertoire is going to be used for our winter concert, so now my students are mostly prepared to perform. A one day clinic is equal to roughly a weeks worth of class!
In our reflection time, we listened to all of the videos, and made some notes about what we want to improve for our concert. Things like:
Making sure we are consistently using tall, rounded space
shaping every phrase to make the line as musical as possible
equal balance between all parts
Attention to all of the little details!