It’s funny how the issues facing a new string program in Kenya are extremely similar to the issues music educators are facing in the States:
– Pull-out classes (where students are pulled out of class to attend music lessons) are, of course, unpopular with academic teachers.
– The support of administrators makes all the difference.
– Music teachers are far busier than most of the other teachers at school.
– Music teachers have to make sure that they draw boundaries for themselves or they get mangled in the crazy scheduling.
Boniface is learning all of this, but unfortunately for him, he has no colleagues with whom he can commiserate. He doesn’t know what is normal and when he should fight for his own needs. Fortunately for him, Boniface is a talented musician and a natural teacher – the road ahead is well-lit and holds great possibilities.
In my time here, there has been a fair share of seriously frustrating events. But there have also been really great ones. I’ll cherry-pick a list of the highlights:
– Boniface now feels as though he can teach through nearly all of Suzuki violin Book 1, rather than just one or two Twinkles.
– Boniface now has a music room at the primary school, where he can teach kids and store instruments. Shelving will come from the old library shelves that are stored at the secondary school.
– The primary school principal and curriculum leader have both agreed to allow Boniface to have hour-long classes, and to arrange the students in any configuration Boniface sees fit.
– The primary school and high school principals seem to be on the same page regarding Boniface’s duties.
– The band placed 2nd at nationals.
– The band marched in a sports parade this past weekend, to great local acclaim.
– The band has teamed up with a local Boy Scout troop, which has given the band not only moral but also financial support for trips and events (such as nationals and the parade).