Friday, January 1, 2010

Journal of a Student Teacher

So for about the past 5 years or so, I have been journaling exclusively online. No paper journal for me! I like it this way because it's something I can't lose by accident, and if I write knowing that anybody can see it, I won't have to worry that someone will find out something I wanted to keep secret! Anyhow, I'm the kind of journal-writer who likes to completely rehash as many details as possible about everything that has happened since the last time I wrote, not necessarily about one particular event. That's why when I finally get around to writing an entry after a long absence, it can get pretty lengthy... but then... I'm writing this for myself primarily, not you. :-P

My usual method to remember everything that's happened was to keep a kind of shorthand journal on my wall calendar, writing in events I participated in, trips I went on, etc., and this would be enough to go off of to recall all of the nit-pickier details.

Only problem this time around is... after I moved back home in May, I've neglected my wall calendar. I hung it back up in my bedroom, but I haven't written in a thing. We were also told to keep a weekly journal during student teaching... and I didn't... So of course, being the new year, I got into the mood to wrap up the old year with a nice pretty bow, but I didn't have my usual shorthand calendar ready to go. Then I had the thought, "Dude! Why don't I just take all of my status updates since August and make it one big Student Teaching First-Person Experience Journal Entry!”

And that's just what I did! The following is every Facebook status update, with timestamps, that I've posted since shortly before beginning my student teaching semester, to this morning, January 1st, 2010. I've also included selected comments from my friends on my status updates, the occasional miscellaneous post, photos and videos where available, and hindsight commentary. Enjoy!


Tess Gray
is kind of worried that the actuality of starting student teaching next Monday hasn't hit her yet. Eep!
August 4, 2009 at 2:10pm
Summer was jobless for me, not for lack of trying, so I had fallen into a "do what I want, when I want" sort of groove, and I thought that once August came around I'd want to start preparing for student teaching: practice piano, read up on Teaching Methods notes, etc. That urge never really hit, though, so I really did start to wonder if I'd be frantic once I actually got to the classroom.

Tess Gray is enjoying a cool and refreshing Sonic® Cherry Limeade. All is right with the world.
August 4, 2009 at 7:24pm
Cherry Limeades are very tasty. That is all.

Tess Gray is... get ready for this... helping set up the choir room at Marcos de Niza tomorrow! Wee!
August 4, 2009 at 8:11pm
Turns out this was mostly just awkwardly sitting around in Shryock's office while the choir council held a meeting. We hadn't gotten to know each other yet, so I wasn't sure what my role was supposed to be. One of the kids, William, even asked, "So, why are you here?"
Ayn Semmens
marcos de niza?! that's my old high school! is that where you're student teaching?!
August 4, 2009 at 8:20pm
Tess Gray
Yeah! :)
August 4, 2009 at 8:20pm
Ayn Semmens

with mr. shryock?! how fun!
August 4, 2009 at 8:22pm
Josanne Longshore

August 4, 2009 at 8:27pm
Tess Gray

Yeah, I'm so excited to work with him! ^_^
August 4, 2009 at 8:53pm

Tess Gray had a pretty good day. Unfortunately I won't be able to sleep in again until Saturday, because I've got teacher meetings for the next two days! Hooray!
August 5, 2009 at 11:22pm
Pretty much a lot of shadowing Shryock while going to different meetings/presentations. I'm glad I went, even just to have the "full experience" of the beginning of a school year. I believe that day I went to lunch with a few of the teachers from the Fine Arts department because Shryock had to go get his kids lunch, so that was cool. They were all really nice. :)

Oh yeah! So I believe it was on one of those teacher meeting days, during some free time Shryock, Chez (the drama teacher), and I were in Shryock's office, and it kind of became a "let's lay it all on the table" session. Long story short, Shryock would ask me questions like whether or not I drank alcohol or coffee (no to both, of course). The next question came rather directly, "Are you LDS?" "Yes." And this conversation would then determine how the relationship between the three of us would go for the duration of the semester. :) Made me laugh just remembering it. See, Chez and Shryock are pretty much "work spouses." I theoretically could have become the awkward third-wheel in the mix, but they both quickly found out that their sense of humor would make me laugh readily and heartily, and even though I'm Mormon I wouldn't be uptight about a lot of things.

There was a moment during that session when Shryock had to leave for some reason, so Chez started giving me a pep talk telling me to not be shy in the classroom and be afraid to discipline the kids or put myself out there, because Shryock's had bad experiences with student teachers who were too timid and he had to hold their hand through the entire process. I only heard a month or two later from somebody that they'd heard Shryock was really picky about his student teachers. I didn't know this, and just ended up jumping right in being myself and I fit in just fine. I think looking back I could tell the first week or so of school that Shryock was skeptical of me, but once I started teaching Chamber at their first Monday rehearsal he started to let his guard down. The rest is history!

Tim Klingler
Don't worry, you'll get plenty of sleep in those.
August 6, 2009 at 1:14am

Tess Gray is pretty tired and would like nothing more than to take a nap right now. However, there are more teacher meetings tomorrow, and it would be greatly to her benefit to avoid napping and go to bed earlier. What to do, what to do...
August 6, 2009 at 3:49pm

Tess Gray has one more day until she is officially a student teacher. Too bad I've actually been doing teacher-related stuff for the past four days now.
August 9, 2009 at 1:40am
Andrea Jones
You'll be happy you did those 4 days when you start teaching by yourself, trust me. Good luck!
August 9, 2009 at 9:47am
Tess Gray
Very true. :)
August 9, 2009 at 10:56am

Tess Gray is gettin' ready for church!
August 9, 2009 at 12:25pm

Tess Gray starts STUDENT TEACHING in the morning! At least I get to ease into it. I only have two classes to be at tomorrow, then I'm going to help set up the classroom at my Jr. High placement. Come Wednesday there will be 7 classes... Eep!
August 9, 2009 at 11:23pm
Matthew Flora
Best of luck to you!!
August 10, 2009 at 12:02am
Ayn Semmens

which junior high?
August 10, 2009 at 12:17am
Tess Gray

Shepherd Jr. in Mesa... Yeah, I'm splitting between two districts.
August 10, 2009 at 8:36am
Celeste Weimer

What are you teaching? I am super excited for you! I start student teaching next week too!
August 10, 2009 at 10:26am
Tess Gray
I'm doing choir! (surprise, surprise)
August 10, 2009 at 9:12pm

Tess Gray is back to school... only this time I'm both a student AND a teacher. Go student teachers!
August 10, 2009 at 8:39am
Melanie Openshaw
It is a weird limbo though.
August 10, 2009 at 6:01pm

Tess Gray just spent 12 hours at school... And only two of those hours were in a class. Most of the time was spent painting a mural on the back wall of the Shepherd Jr. High choir room! :)
August 10, 2009 at 9:14pm
... and the time in class was mostly spent being introduced to each class, then standing quietly and observing Shryock's school-year introductory speal.

Tess Gray had the official tour of the Marcos de Niza auditorium catwalk in pitch darkness (twice), and was introduced to the auditorium poltergeist, Paco. Hooray for theater superstitions!
August 11, 2009 at 2:39pm via Mobile Web
Melanie Openshaw
August 11, 2009 at 2:48pm
Paul Sanchez

hahahaha that is frikn awesome
August 11, 2009 at 2:58pm
Ayn Semmens

that auditorium is full of magic!
August 11, 2009 at 11:26pm

Tess Gray is up to a full schedule tomorrow, 6:45 AM to 5:00 PM. It's going to be a blast, but boy am I crazy for piling on both schools at once! I barely have 3 hours to myself at the end of this long day!
August 11, 2009 at 9:05pm
Michelle Leavitt
Man I wish I was done by 5. I might be a little less stressed then. Good luck tomorrow! You'll be so fantastic.
August 11, 2009 at 9:32pm
Tess Gray

Haha... Well I've been going to meetings since last Wednesday, and my HS placement in Tempe started on Monday, though there were only two choirs I had to be there for, and mostly all I did was stand there and look pretty... At least we get to make some music tomorrow!

Good luck yourself with your own classes! Saw you get all recognized as a new teacher at that meeting on Friday. :)
August 11, 2009 at 9:44pm

Tess Gray regretted today that she had taken the auditorium catwalk tour twice yesterday... All that ladder and stair climbing made my quads really sore! On a separate note, one of the boys in A Cappella wants me to teach him how to crochet. ^_^
August 12, 2009 at 8:38pm
Oh, Samuel... Funny kid. Actually got around to starting to teach him once, but never got back to it.

Tess Gray 's car didn't want to start this morning. Once it did, before I got to the end of my street, a black cat darted across my path. The car wouldn't let me turn the key to start it for almost 10 minutes when leaving for lunch. I also had to walk under a ladder twice in the Jr. High auditorium. Good thing I'm not superstitious.
August 13, 2009 at 6:58pm
Car is still acting up to this day... I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the starter, and not necessarily the battery, because why else would the clock stay on all night then reset when I try to start the car? Also, if it was a dead battery, why would I have to physically shake the car while starting to get the engine to turn? Otherwise the car runs fine, and hasn't ever stalled once it's gotten running. That's the first thing on my list once I've got a job and my first paycheck.

Tess Gray Phillip Goldblatt... I have to tell you how hard it was to restrain my laughter today when I was at my Jr. High and my cooperating teacher began to teach the Beginning Women's choir "Scotland is Burning." I didn't know she was going to be doing this until she started singing it, and I reeeally had to hold back a snort.... All because of your "impressions". :P
August 13, 2009 at 6:52pm
Phil Goldblatt
That's hilarious! I probably wouldn't be able to constrain myself...I would probably teach them using the impression! Did she do the movements too?? So how is student teaching going?? Isn't it fun to actually work with students as opposed to TALKING about working with students? :-D
August 13, 2009 at 10:48pm
Tess Gray
Yes, she did the movements! She used it to teach the 7th grade girls about rounds, and reinforcing the fact that parts 1 and 2 (she doesn't use SA in the beginning girl's choir, so they all get to do harmony at some point) are no different from each other in range.

And yes, it is much more fun (and much less stressful!)... to be in front of the kids as opposed to other college students pretending to be kids. Sooo much less stressful.
August 14, 2009 at 6:53am

Tess Gray had an amazingly fantastic first week of student teaching! This is going to be good. Really good.
August 14, 2009 at 6:10pm
Don't think you've read something like this for the last time in this entry...

Tess Gray needs to come up with her game plan for Monday to teach a song to high schoolers from scratch for the first time! ^_^ This is going to be exciting.
August 15, 2009 at 4:52pm
This was for my first teaching video to upload to Facebook for Dr. Holder to evaluate. He originally told us we would be making four videos... This ended up being the only one. :) He always tries to be a grown-up and responsible at the beginning of a school year, then never fails to relax expectations as the year progresses...
This is just one still shot from the end of the teaching video. There are more stills on my Facebook "Fall 2009: Tales of a Student Teacher" photo album:

Tess Gray thinks it must be a good sign that she's getting tired earlier. Adjustment to teacher sleep-schedule: Accomplished.
August 15, 2009 at 10:39pm
Not only did my sleeping schedule align, but my eating schedule resembled something normal for the first time since high school, only this time I usually had breakfast too.

Tess Gray was up before 7 AM even though she didn't have to be. That's how dedicated I am to cure myself of my nocturnal tendencies.... Does make me feel like an old fart, though, to have to turn down fun times because I'm tired.
August 16, 2009 at 9:15am

Tess Gray loves student teaching, and loves the kids she student teaches. Life is wonderful... except for that $130 I had to shell out last night to a locksmith because of the one brief moment of stupidity wherein I locked my only set of keys in my car.
August 17, 2009 at 9:37pm
Brittany Miller
Yet entertaining to watch for the full ten seconds he was there
August 17, 2009 at 9:44pm
Tess Gray

Very true. I think I should have charged you all admission. :P
August 17, 2009 at 9:46pm
Hunter Hendrix

you should have hired a thief to break in for you.
August 17, 2009 at 10:15pm
Tess Gray
Well, Matt Duke was going to break my window with a large rock, but I think I was better off with the locksmith. It just sucked that my parents' AAA termed June 30th and my mom never paid our membership fees, and since it wasn't during business hours she couldn't do it then. That would have cost her less than it did for me to pay the locksmith with a foreign accent.
August 17, 2009 at 10:19pm

Tess Gray now has two songs to teach (one for HS, the other for JHS), both arranged by Mac Huff. ;) Life is still good.
August 18, 2009 at 9:19pm

Tess Gray just can't get over how amazing teaching is. I especially love how only the good memories stick with me when I leave school. Hooray positivity!
August 19, 2009 at 9:41pm
This was kind of in response to my fellow student teachers who seemed to focus more on the negative aspects of the classroom. It surprised me that they would be frustrated by such things so easily, but I just look past them or don't let them bother me as much.
Whitney Gray Sherwood
Awesome! I'm glad that you finally have something to occupy your time...though Chloe misses you immensely.
August 19, 2009 at 9:48pm
Sarah Brown

That sounds awesome. I can't wait! :)
August 19, 2009 at 9:50pm

Tess Gray thinks junior high kids are cute, even at their squirreliest, high school kids are awesome, and high school drama teachers are HI-larious. ^_^
August 20, 2009 at 8:07pm
I don't remember what Chez did that prompted me saying he was HI-larious, but he really is a funny guy. As I said earlier, he noticed really quickly that I would laugh at all his jokes (because I really did find them funny. I wasn't being fake at all).

Tess Gray thinks that if these first two weeks have already flown by like this, the best semester ever is going to be over before I know it! :(
August 21, 2009 at 10:27pm
Truer words ne'er were spoken... or... typed.

Tess Gray is accompanying three songs for Shepherd Jr.'s choir concert in just a few weeks... Time to hit the piano!
August 22, 2009 at 11:01am
One of the more proud things I was able to accomplish during student teaching. I used to say that I wouldn't be a good enough pianist to accompany, probably being too over-modest, but I found that if I have enough time to practice, I can be pretty good! It takes me a bit longer than most good accompanists, but I blame that on the fact that I never had formal private piano lessons, and I definitely didn't do very much two-handed sight-reading.

Tess Gray 's Jr. High choir boys told her she had a pretty voice today after modeling the Loch Lomand solo for them. ^_^
August 24, 2009 at 7:18pm
This was seriously so funny. I sang it for them in my octave, and you could see the jaws drop. One kid actually said, "Where's the radio?" After that, about half the choir decided they wanted to audition for the solo. :P

Tess Gray rediscovered the secret of getting Jr. High girls to pay attention in sectionals.
August 25, 2009 at 7:57pm
Hunter Hendrix
and what is that?
August 25, 2009 at 8:17pm
Tess Gray

Circling around the piano. The 7th grade girls called it their campfire. ^_^
August 25, 2009 at 8:32pm
Hannah Gray

cuute... they will soon learn the arrogant nature of high school choir...
August 25, 2009 at 11:11pm
Says my baby sister who was still in high school choir herself.
Tess Gray
August 26, 2009 at 7:17am

Tess Gray had a great day today. I laughed so hard I cried, I got the Jr. High boys to sing a great pianissimo on Loch Lomand, and the 7th grade girls are finally starting to sing out and learn how to sight-read! Yaaaay life!
August 26, 2009 at 8:09pm
Okay, so the laughing so hard I cried thing... I don't know why I was in such a slap-happy mood, but Shryock told me this story about how a dog head-butted his car, dented the door, and ran away... and I could not stop laughing. The best part? I had been feeling a mild cold coming on that morning. After laughing so hard, I didn't feel any symptoms return! Yay!

Tess Gray thinks it's ironic that the only church activities she goes to at her single's branch are Enrichment nights. For those of you don't speak Mormonese, those are activities just for women.
August 27, 2009 at 9:42pm
Tawnie Leal
HAHAHA you are TOO Funny! I love it!!!
August 27, 2009 at 10:10pm
Tess Gray
Well, I'm going to a singles branch in the San Tan stake because Greenfield stake doesn't have one, but I'll go to the Greenfield stake activities when I can, and I hang out with a bunch of guys every Sunday night after firesides and such...

Almost defeats the purpose of going to a single's ward/branch, but I guess I mostly subconsciously didn't want to go back to my family ward and deal with the stupid questions I inevitably get asked by the RS (some of them I seriously think don't get out too much, because they don't really know how to interact with anybody younger than 30 or older than 5.) :

"So what was your major again?" (When I begin to explain it takes a mere three seconds for their eyes to glaze over)

"You went to BYU, right?" (NO I MOST DEFINITELY DID NOT!)

"So do you get paid to student teach? Do you student teach for a whole year?"

"Do you like it at NAU?" (Do you think I would have stayed four years if I didn't?!)

and the dreaded "So are you dating anyone?"
August 27, 2009 at 10:46pm
Can you tell this is a long-standing pet peeve of mine?
Tess Gray
I know they're just trying to be nice and "welcoming", but I would much rather only talk to people who are sincere about wanting to know how I'm doing or not have them try to talk to me at all.
August 27, 2009 at 10:48pm
Brittany Miller

Oh hey I know this story! Lol. Yeah I've considered a singles ward but I know it's a huge no-no especially since I'm a YSA rep and I have to set an example
August 28, 2009 at 10:00am

Tess Gray couldn't have asked for better student teaching placements. These first few weeks have been a blast. On a side note, I'm way excited for this spontaneous vocal jazz ensemble. We're gonna rock it... or... swing it.
August 28, 2009 at 8:44pm
Spontaneous vocal jazz ensemble only lasted one rehearsal, as our bass couldn't meet on weekends, and the rest of us couldn't decide on a day to rehearse. I still have the music Andrea sent out, but we haven't revisited the idea in a while.

Tess Gray had an awesome and productive day! Got an oil change and my coolant topped off, got a haircut, had a vocal jazz jam session, babysat my niece and nephew, had a good chat with a sister, and made it home in time to catch an amazing live Rhett & Link show with an amazing chatroom. Love my R&L Peeps!
August 30, 2009 at 12:14am
Been having more long chats with Whitney as we both get older. I'm glad we've become friends. :) Also, yes, I am a huge Rhett & Link (a YouTube-based internet comedy duo) fan, only most of my IRL (in real life) friends just don't understand, so I don't bring it up much off the internet.

Tess Gray finally made it to ward chorister. I've been waiting long enough, dudes!
August 30, 2009 at 6:10pm


Tess Gray
hopes the Jr. High girls will be on task for rehearsal today! Fri. and Mon. were devoted to dress fittings, and boy do those girls love to chatter.
September 1, 2009 at 7:12am
Katie Wolpa
not likely my dear.
September 1, 2009 at 8:49am
Tess Gray

You know, they were actually pretty good today. ;)
September 1, 2009 at 8:33pm

Tess Gray had a pretty good day. Marcos had a half day so I got to play with the women's choir, got my haircut fixed (hopefully... truth will tell when I straight-iron it), and bought brown loafers that are exactly the same as my black ones, only they were on sale for less than $7! Woot!
September 1, 2009 at 9:20pm
This would be one of, like, three times I'd ever get to work with them during their class. All I did this time was warm them up and put on the accompaniment tracks for their Broadway Show music and have them perform for me. I played parts on the piano if it sounded like they needed help. I never quite understood why, but Women's Ensemble all loved me with our limited contact. Almost half of the students who would end up friending me on Facebook to date would either be from Women's or Drama... Classes I never really saw.

Tess Gray had another great day today. Well, two choirs at the HS were doing choreography and I wasn't informed that the Mesa district had a half day today, so I only ended up with 2 choirs that I needed to rehearse. I did get to write some nice "PAY YOUR FEES" notes and go to meetings, though.
September 2, 2009 at 7:01pm

Tess Gray thinks that all is now right with the world now that Live Rhett & LinKasts are back! Too bad I only have one friend on Facebook who actually understands this and why I'm soooo incredibly and giddily excited that my Summer CBE entry got an honorable mention live on the air (with discussion on how to pronounce my SN)! I can die happy. ^_^
September 3, 2009 at 9:36pm
My SN (screenname)? Tegalto. TEG for my initials, and alto, because I've always sung alto. Put together, it sounds like a cool word in Spanish. Apparently it looked so Spanish that both Rhett and Link consistently want to pronounce it as "Tel gato", which sounds like "el gato" or "the cat." This has happened just about every time I'm mentioned on the Kast, even though most of my R&L fan friends at the Kommunity just call me Tess.

Tess Gray is having fun doing a completely frivolous collab video with a fellow R&L fan. :D
September 7, 2009 at 1:45am
This is the collaboration that would cement Teresa's and my friendship as "twinners" in the Kommunity. We're only a month apart in age, both were concurrently student teaching choir, and we even found out that we almost met in real life because we were both in Oklahoma City back in March for the National ACDA Convention, and rode the same bus at least once. We got to talking and she remembered that she had sat in front of a bunch of NAU kids on a bus at convention, though she didn't talk to us... just overheard our conversations. I then checked out her profile picture and immediately recognized her flaming curly red hair. I had a flashback to that bus, and remembered noticing her hair, and had a mental picture of where she was sitting on the bus (left-hand window seat, if you wanted to know). The rest is history.

Tess Gray just bought her first concert conducting suit! And it was marked off 50% at Macy's from $200!
September 7, 2009 at 6:58pm
Mom had to get pictures on her iPhone...

Tess Gray is loving High Altitude's recording of Modern Nature. Thanks, Holder!
September 9, 2009 at 10:14pm
See the YouTube video of our recording session in my previous blog post.

Tess Gray is "subbing" tomorrow, 'cuz Shryock is muy sick! Good thing all but two of the classes are having the choreographer take over rehearsal.
September 9, 2009 at 10:26pm
All told, Shryock was sick for about three weeks. I count it a miracle that I didn't get more than a sore throat until Winter Concert week. Seriously. He was miserably sick, and I was the only one he'd let in the office at times.

Tess Gray has had a couple busy days in-a-row, and a yet busy Saturday to come.
September 12, 2009 at 12:07am

Tess Gray just got her car washed by a dozen awesome Marcos choir kids, and had an improv scat session with them while the car was being dried.
September 12, 2009 at 12:06pm

Tess Gray is a mythical beast.
September 12, 2009 at 10:57pm
Christy Erickson
Unicorns?!?!? lol
September 13, 2009 at 1:58am
Melanie Openshaw
I don't think I want to know.
September 13, 2009 at 9:02pm
Jeez, Melanie. You have a way of responding to things I say or do that you think are out of character for me that rubs me the wrong way sometimes. Remember that textual communication has a way of coming off not quite how you may have intended. Especially sarcasm. I don't think you would have commented if you weren't curious as to why I would say I was a mythical beast. For your information, that night on the live Rhett&LinKast it was decided, after much debate, that we hardcore Rhett & Link fans would from henceforth refer to ourselves as Mythical Beasts, in reference to a song R&L wrote about the true story of how they met in first grade.

Tess Gray keeps forgetting to do her laundry... I guess that's what happens when you don't get home until 6-7 PM and you start getting ready for bed at 9. But dangit, I'm running out of clean black socks!
September 16, 2009 at 9:59pm

Tess Gray can't believe that she just finished her 6th week of student teaching! It has been amazing, every minute of it!
September 18, 2009 at 11:10pm
So I don't remember exactly when this happened, but it was sometime between my 4th week and this post that Shryock came to me after I had run yet another entire Chamber rehearsal one morning and said something like, "It looks like you've really integrated yourself into this group. As far as I'm concerned, they're yours now." And just like that he handed over the rehearsal of his elite performing ensemble. I didn't know that he really meant that I would be running all of their rehearsals for the rest of the semester until the next morning when I asked him what he wanted me to do and he gently reminded me, "They're yours!" That was my first real confirmation of his faith in my ability, and it still means a lot to me.

Tess Gray is sleeping with two additional fans blowing at high blast tonight, because the upstairs air conditioning decided to stop working. Boo.
September 20, 2009 at 10:18pm
Yeah, that sucked. I hardly got any sleep that night, and my room was over-warm until about November when the season finally started to change.

Tess Gray just conducted at her first ever clinic with Ed Hughes! Wee!
September 21, 2009 at 5:31pm
That was pretty cool! It was a district in-service meeting and the choir people from the district all decided that instead of having a dry meeting they'd bring their top groups to perform in a low-key festival together and have a clinic with Dr. Hughes. I was the only student teacher to conduct (Robin was the only other student teacher there), and mind you, I conducted two pieces that we were preparing for Broadway Show, so they're choreographed and not usually conducted. One of them, "In Whatever Time We Have" I had practiced conducting with them a couple times before this clinic, and the other, "I Believe", the kids decided right before we went on stage that they wanted to do in place of the National Anthem (which they were going to do un-conducted), so my first time conducting that piece was right there, on stage. Not that Dr. Hughes knew the difference, and of course Shryock could just accompany them without warning or practice. Jerk. :P
Just one shot of the Chamber girls before heading into the auditorium for our mini-festival/clinic! :)

Tess Gray's HS cooperating teacher told her today that in his 25 years of teaching choir, I'm on his list of top 5 student teachers, and rising. The students who were in the room at the time agreed and started telling me about all the things I do that they like. I love my life. ^_^
September 21, 2009 at 10:13pm
Entirely true. I think it was after school on the half-day when we were waiting for Chamber to show up to leave for the festival, and he said this in front of all the students who were there in his office, without even trying to be candid about it. Not only did the kids start talking about the stuff they like about me, but they started comparing me to their previous student teachers and how much better I was. The kids couldn't even remember the name of last year's student teacher, and when they asked Shryock, he couldn't remember either. Now THAT was funny. Seriously, I think this single moment is what stands out the most from the whole semester for me and gave me the most confidence, how Shryock just point-blank stated his confidence in my ability. Then at the end of the festival Dr. Hughes told all of the kids to make sure they told their director how much they appreciate them. I had forgotten about this until the next morning when Shryock had the kids all gather chairs in a circle, then had them all volunteer to say nice things about me. It was great to hear what they had to say, and that they actually put thought into it. :)
Jessica Browning Barnum
That is the best feeling EVER!
September 21, 2009 at 10:14pm
Ryan Holder
That's great! See you thursday morning.
September 21, 2009 at 10:29pm

Tess Gray has a busy day ahead of her! Teaching from 6:45-3:50, Holder's observation, and CONCERT at Shepherd Jr.! If anybody would like to come, it's on Higley & Brown (east of Higley, north on Alta Mesa) at 6:00PM and 7:15PM! I'm directing and accompanying!
September 24, 2009 at 6:16am
Yeah, lucky me, started my day with my very first observation, had a full day of teaching after that, and two back-to-back jr. high choir concerts to end my day. I was so drained.

Tess Gray is le-tired after such a busy and awesome day yesterday, but at least today will be a day of relaxation. Observation went well, and the back-to-back Jr. High choir concerts were great! (I only messed up the accompaniment once, and nobody noticed!)
September 25, 2009 at 6:44am
Yeah, I barely had any energy all day. I guess it was a good thing that the Marcos choirs were on choreography in the auditorium and it was "watch the video of the concert" day at the jr. high.

Tess Gray just had her first ginger/lemon tea (can you believe I went three years in Gundy's studio without even sampling it?), and it tasted like crap. Let's hope it helps me keep from getting sick! Woke up yesterday and today with swollen glands and sore throat. Otherwise I feel fine!
September 26, 2009 at 4:56pm
I blame the stressful concert day. I mean, it's not so much that I felt stressed, but the constant demand of energy and adrenaline really was draining, as I said before. Lucky for me it never became more than a throat annoyance, and only lasted about three days.

Tess Gray is ready for another week of fabulosity! Student teaching rocks!
September 27, 2009 at 10:10pm
I told you you'd see a lot of posts like this. :) This was a pretty dang happy part of my semester!


Tess Gray
had an awesome Saturday helping set up for Broadway Show, and is now enjoying a relaxing Sunday watching conference and creating art.
October 4, 2009 at 2:01pm
And by creating art, I meant I was creating a time-lapse video of me drawing Lynn the E-Ministrator's mythical beast for the Rhett&LinKommunity. Lynn is R&L's assistant of sorts, and she came up with the description of her original beast. You'll see her pop up again later on in this post with a comment on one of my status updates.

Tess Gray had a great day at school today! You know you're doing something right when kids from the choir you aren't even there for in the afternoons are sad you're not going to be around in the spring!
October 5, 2009 at 8:47pm
Tess Gray
... and the 7th grade girls were finally able to (mostly) hold their attention through the whole hour today! Wee!
October 5, 2009 at 8:48pm

Tess Gray has a nice long day ahead of her: Broadway Show Dress Rehearsal! Woot!
October 7, 2009 at 7:11am
I really was excited. :)

Tess Gray had a great time at the Marcos Broadway Show! The kids put on a great show! :) Weee!
October 8, 2009 at 11:49pm
"In Whatever Time We Have," the first song I got to rehearse from start to finish, and one of the two I conducted at the clinic with Ed Hughes. This was the only song in the whole show that Shryock accompanied. The rest were choreographed to a canned accompaniment track. Why was this the only one? Because the track they provided was entirely too fast, and when we tried to slow it in Audacity and Garage Band it ended up sounding like it was underwater, or like a really old recording with an annoying clicking over everything. I think the piano on stage gave a nice ambiance, though, don't you? :)

Meanwhile, during the entire show I ran the accompaniment tracks and half of the soundboard to cue the solo microphones:

Tess Gray was greeted by her jr. high choirs with applause and cheers today because they missed her yesterday. (I stayed at Marcos all day to get ready for the Broadway Show, which was aMAzing)
October 9, 2009 at 4:20pm
This was seriously hilarious. It was the boys' choir that applauded for me. Those boys are awesome. Love them!

Tess Gray got to direct MdN's Chamber Choir in the National Anthem at the pink-out Breast Cancer Awareness football game (the football team all wore pink jerseys) tonight all by her lonesome. They rocked. :)
October 10, 2009 at 12:25am

Tess Gray is in Flagstaff for the weekend. Whaaaat?
October 10, 2009 at 7:45pm
My first time back since Four-Corners, for the first Shrine concert of the year, and also to be on a student-teacher/new teacher panel for the NAU ACDA student chapter to ask us all kinds of questions. It was a lot of fun! Over this weekend I uploaded my Broadway Show videos and had my first student friend me on Facebook. I'd get about 8 friend requests from students over fall break the next week, most of them from students from Women's, which, as I said before, I don't even teach. :)

Tess Gray thought the NAU choirs put on a great concert this afternoon. It was a little bittersweet watching Shrine from the audience, but I wouldn't trade what I'm doing right now for anything.
October 11, 2009 at 6:18pm
True. That.

Tess Gray just got back from a great weekend in Flag. ACDA Student Teacher panel went great, choir concert was bittersweet, and I got to sit through three choir rehearsals today and hang out in Choral Studies! Wee!
October 12, 2009 at 8:43pm

Tess Gray feels weird not having anything to do this week. It's not even 10 AM and I've already paid my insurance and credit card and cleaned out my email inbox. What next?
October 13, 2009 at 10:50am
And thus begins a series of status updates on how bored I was during Fall Break.

Tess Gray is BORED! I don't have any high school or jr. high choir kids to keep me entertained for a whole week!
October 13, 2009 at 3:35pm

Tess Gray will probably spend her morning cleaning and practicing piano. Come ooooooon, Wednesday.
October 14, 2009 at 9:57am
Lynn Erhorn
cleaning the piano...or just house cleaning?
October 14, 2009 at 10:01am
Tess Gray

Ha ha, Lynn. :P I practiced a piece on piano that I have to accompany for my jr. high kids next week, and I put on a movie while cleaning my room... I got as far as putting away laundry, hanging up other clothes I'd left draped over my love seat, and putting my comforter in the wash before I got distracted by the movie: "He's Just Not That Into You"
October 14, 2009 at 1:38pm

Tess Gray has edited a video, played through "No Time" for the first time without stopping or making any noticeable mistakes, and is dressed and ready for a day with no plans. I guess I could actually finish cleaning my room...
October 15, 2009 at 11:31am

Tess Gray is tired? At 9:40? During Fall Break? LAME!
October 15, 2009 at 10:37pm

Tess Gray just selected Chorale's winter rep... and is going to conduct Lauridsen's 'O Nata Lux'... WHAT?!
October 17, 2009 at 3:39pm
Yeah, I just thought I would be rehearsing Chamber's caroling stuff and all of Chorale, so I focused our session at the Music Store on SAB music for the Winter concert. Shryock kept handing me SATB octavos and asking my opinion on them. Then last thing before we left the store he handed me Lauridsen's "O Nata Lux" and Eric Whitacre's "Lux Aurumque" and asked which one I wanted to conduct. Me? Conduct A Cappella? I've performed both of those songs a couple times before, and I was having a hard time deciding. I was leaning towards the Lauridsen, though, but I was a little intimidated by all of the score prep. Well, bring it on, I suppose!

Tess Gray finds it interesting that when she finally is about to give up on her single's branch, it is being combined with her home stake. Woot!
October 18, 2009 at 12:24pm

Tess Gray is way excited for Templeview Ward! It's a miracle! Woot!
October 18, 2009 at 10:27pm
Correction, it's Temple View, two words, not one. Anywho, this really was a momentous occasion, because for years our stake presidency has refused to implement a single's ward in our stake, which is why I had been going to the single's branch of a neighboring stake since I moved back from Flag.

Tess Gray is glad school is back in session today! Fall Break was too boring!
October 19, 2009 at 7:09am
Josiah Sanchez
You are so weird! =P
October 19, 2009 at 9:48am
Andrea Jones

Yeah, I agree with Josiah
October 19, 2009 at 7:51pm
Tess Gray

See, Andrea, the difference between me and you is, I'm still single and living with my parents (until I get my own teaching job)... You're married and living with your husband.
October 19, 2009 at 8:34pm

Tess Gray was quite surprised to learn today, in front of the choirs, that she will not just be taking over the beginning Chorale starting this week, but all three of Marcos's morning choirs... Pretty cool to know that Mr. Shryock has that much faith in me... and now this is where things are going to get interesting.
October 19, 2009 at 6:01pm
Yeah, so Shryock had given this speal to Chorale about how the next few days would be transitioning from him being their teacher to me, and I was expecting that. What I wasn't expecting, was for him to give the same speal to A Cappella, almost verbatim. I thought I was just going to conduct the one song. As time went on, though, it ended up being more of a team-teaching scenario. I ran warm-ups almost every day, and I had two songs that were entirely mine. Shryock had one that was his, then there were the two versions of the Hallelujah Chorus that are traditional every year at Marcos that we took turns rehearsing as necessary. This ended up being pretty cool, and gave me bragging rights amongst my fellow student teachers. 3.5 choirs (also counting Beginning Women's at the jr. high) all to myself. :) I had a pretty lucky circumstance, because a lot of other choir teachres are really possessive of their programs. After getting a feel for my teaching style and classroom management, Shryock easily gave me control of his rehearsals.

Tess Gray had a great day today! Sectionals, sight-reading, uniform-fittings, and "subbing" three Jr. High choirs... all with a splitting headache. At least I was able to end the day with a smile!
October 20, 2009 at 5:53pm
Andrea Jones
I don't think you're human
October 20, 2009 at 6:00pm
Tess Gray

... maybe that's my problem...
October 20, 2009 at 6:32pm
Melanie Openshaw

I kind of want to vomit.
October 21, 2009 at 9:38pm
Melanie Openshaw

October 21, 2009 at 9:39pm
Tess Gray

Wow... apparently it's a crime to be optimistic towards life. :P
October 21, 2009 at 10:45pm

I was actually pretty ticked at Melanie's comment. Do not appreciate the sarcasm. Just because I'm genuinely happy doesn't mean you have to rain on my parade.

Tess Gray had a great afternoon/evening/night chaperoning the 8th and 9th grade choir girls at the Mesa district festival! They sang great, and I did pretty well accompanying, if I do say so myself.
October 21, 2009 at 11:11pm
Yeah, that was pretty cool. I accompanied them on "Lux Aeterna" and "No Time", and did a pretty good job! I felt all professional, because it was in this really nice performance hall at the Mesa Arts Center. Craig Peterson was our clinician. He teaches at MCC, and is actually part of the same vocal jazz ensemble that Shryock sings in, Phoenix Vocal Jazz. :)

Tess Gray really hopes that Marcos's winter music comes in tomorrow, because we're definitely running out of things to do! I'm gonna have to get really creative...
October 22, 2009 at 10:27pm
Yeah, we spent the week in Chorale working on a music theory packet, and A Cappella had dress/tux fittings and played Ninja (the latest game craze amongst the choir and drama kids).
This was a drama club meeting, not choir, but seriously... These kids play ninja all the time.

Tess Gray had a long, yet fulfilling day! Directed the National Anthem at Marcos's homecoming game, and then actually stayed through the whole thing! Barely paid attention, but I stayed! First time ever!
October 24, 2009 at 12:17am
Bought over-priced popcorn, soda, and cotton candy, met alumni, got a tour of the announcer's booth while Shryock announced the Homecoming royalty... Good times, good times...

Tess Gray missed the AEPA registration deadline by mere hours... and had to pay a $30 late fee. Boo.
October 24, 2009 at 5:20pm
LAME! All-told I spent about $200 to take this freaking test. Better be worth it. (stay tuned to see if it was!)

Tess Gray is surprised at how consistently eventful her Saturdays have been. Yesterday I actually spent time at both of my student teaching schools. Hooray parent booster meetings, play rehearsals, donut runs, and Saturday performances! ... and good times were had by all!
October 25, 2009 at 8:38am
Yup, came to part of the booster meeting and sat in on the rehearsal for Glass Menagerie, the fall play directed by Shryock's wife, after getting donuts. :)

Tess Gray had a great time at church (Temple View YSA Ward's first official meeting!), and is eagerly awaiting lasagna. Yay!
October 25, 2009 at 6:09pm

Tess Gray finally updated her journal/blog after over 6 months of procrastination: ... and I was only able to get through the end of my summer, so there will be another entry to follow sometime soon, hopefully, chronicling the events of my student teaching semester!
October 25, 2009 at 10:54pm
... or just wait until New Year's... No biggie.

Tess Gray now has her Facebook language set to Pirate English. Yarr, mateys!
October 26, 2009 at 11:40pm
That lasted all of a day. It was pretty annoying, actually.

Tess Gray has yet another day of Holiday music awaiting her!
October 28, 2009 at 7:12am

Tess Gray had a pretty good day, all told! Was getting frustrated with those Jr. High boys and their short attention spans, but they really stepped up today! Yay!
October 28, 2009 at 6:37pm

Tess Gray has mixed feelings about Friday today... On one hand, this is the last day I'm "subbing" at the Jr. High and teaching six choirs a day (my voice gets reeeally tired by the end), but on the other hand... it's the day before Halloween, so there's definitely not going to be the attention to get a whole lot done.
October 30, 2009 at 7:07am
Ah, yes, this was the week when I "subbed" for Mrs.
Turley at the jr. high all week because she stayed home to watch grandchildren since her daughter just had a new baby. There were definitely some frantic moments for me that week.

Tess Gray had quite the week. Good experience-building all around, teaching six choirs (7th-9th graders) virtually all by myself for five days! No wonder my mind is nowhere near Halloween festivities right now...
October 30, 2009 at 11:03pm

Tess Gray almost forgot it was Halloween today until she drove into her neighborhood at 7:30 after a long day hangin' with her Marcos peeps and saw the streets flocked with trick-or-treaters.
October 31, 2009 at 8:37pm
This was the day of All-State Jazz/Show Choir auditions. I kinda chaperoned, and kinda shadowed Shryock. Watched some entertaining dance auditions and networked myself into signing on as a sight-reading judge for Regionals! So that was cool... After that we got some lunch and went back to Marcos for more Glass Menagerie rehearsal, and I spent my Halloween nice and quiet in my room. I had enough excitement for one day.
Just one shot of the Marcos kids at Jazz/Show auditions waiting for Kenny to get out of his Jazz audition.


Tess Gray
loves hanging out with her niece and nephew... Can't wait for the next nephew to join the bunch in the spring!!!
November 1, 2009 at 9:09pm
Christi, my sister-in-law, is pregnant for the first time with a little boy, due in March! He'll be Finnigan Casey (Finn for short, Casey after my brother, Finn's daddy).

Tess Gray is distressed by the fact that after taking out her contacts, her right eye's sight is over 10x worse than her left, when only yesterday they were about equal. This is no bueno.
November 2, 2009 at 9:13pm
Tess Gray
Whew... I don't know what it was, but after sleeping it's all better.
November 3, 2009 at 5:06am

Yeah, that was only mildly scary...

Tess Gray is glad Mrs. Turley is back this week. Love those Jr. High kids, but going from 6:45 - 3:50 and teaching 6 choirs ranging from 7th - 12th grade does a number on my voice.
November 3, 2009 at 5:11am
Ryan Holder
Welcome to the life of a full-time, traveling music teacher. Vocal health is important.
November 3, 2009 at 5:58am
Tess Gray

Yup yup. Never lost the voice, but by the last period of the day, my 7th grade girls, it felt thoroughly abused.
November 3, 2009 at 6:09am
Andrea Jones

Voiceless rehearsals. They're awesome, and the kids get that they have to be silent and listening to figure out what you're trying to say. Only give nonverbal cues-it's amazing!
November 3, 2009 at 6:44am

Tess Gray has finally figured out a name for her car: The Sistine Chapel.
November 3, 2009 at 7:17pm
Tess Gray
Yes, there is a story behind this.
November 3, 2009 at 7:18pm
Christi Cluff Gray

Did you splash something on the ceiling?
November 3, 2009 at 8:17pm
Tess Gray

Haha... nope. Good guess, though.
November 3, 2009 at 8:22pm
Christi Cluff Gray

So what's the story morning glory?
November 3, 2009 at 8:30pm
Tess Gray

So glad you asked!

Well when I bought it back in May, the ceiling fabric was already droopy, which was the most notable cosmetic defect. I got tired of the droop skimming the top of my head, so I went to Staples this evening on my way home from school and bought 400 metal thumb tacks.

I ran out of daylight today, but come tomorrow evening I should have a lovely completed mosaic of organic curlicues.
November 3, 2009 at 9:00pm
Christi Cluff Gray
You're going to take pictures right?
November 3, 2009 at 9:26pm

Of course, Christi, of course. This didn't get done until the end of the week, as you'll see in a couple of posts, but here's most of the finished product:

Tess Gray hopes everything goes well for her observation today! There are a lot of variables involved with a room full of thirty-two 7th grade girls.
November 5, 2009 at 5:14am
Another observation from Holder. Woot. This time he tallied every time I shushed or asked the girls to be quiet.

Tess Gray had a great day full of creating fall musical props (mostly four giant composition notebooks), and finally finished her car ceiling thumb tack art. Car is now significantly de-ghetto-fied from droopy ceiling fabric and tightened grab-handle screws. Now time to clean up for closing night of Glass Menagerie!
November 7, 2009 at 6:14pm
Tess Gray
... now to get the black paint out from under my fingernails. :P
November 8, 2009 at 11:12am

Yeah, I made these:

Tess Gray had two late nights in a row, and was finally able to get a decent amount of sleep! How did student teaching make me a morning person?
November 8, 2009 at 10:17am

Tess Gray A student turned me on to these guys this week. Awesome.
November 8, 2009 at 11:17am
Thank you, James Munzer, for introducing me to Pomplamoose.

Tess Gray is kinda fairly sore from helping strike Glass Menagerie last night. Didn't realize I'd worked that hard!
November 8, 2009 at 9:09pm
Christianne Wendt Gray
Glad this volunteer labor didn't sacrifice a toe;0)
November 8, 2009 at 9:50pm
Tess Gray

Believe me, the thought definitely crossed my mind before we started.
November 9, 2009 at 5:15am

For the background on my toe accident, see my last blog post. Don't want to be a tease, but you know you want to see pictures of a big toe that's missing a nail. Lovely.

Tess Gray will never again doubt the power of keeping herself busy to clear her mind. Just get right back on that horse.
November 9, 2009 at 8:49pm
Yeah, there's a LOT more behind this update than I wanted to say at the time. So a lot of the kids had gotten into a mid-semester funk, and Shryock had talked to A Cappella council and kind of pep-talked them into giving a care again. One council member decided this was something all of the choirs needed to do, and got Shryock's permission to implement it. This was supposed to be a therapeutic writing activity to vent some frustrations, then bring it back to remember why we're all here, and why we like choir. This wasn't explained well, though, so it ended up being a "write down on a piece of paper anything that's bothering you" session, and since the papers were anonymous, the kids in Chorale, and some of A Cappella weren't shy about saying just how much they disliked me. One kid even wrote, "Ms. Gray is NOT a teacher." Burn. I was sick to my stomach the next couple of days, but I didn't let myself wallow in it.

Once I started to snap out of it, I realized that a lot of the complaints were only directed at me because they didn't like how slowly I had to take rehearsal to accommodate all of the kids in Chorale, and they needed someone to blame for their boredom without taking into account that when first learning music, it'sgoing to be boring, especially when compared to the high-energy Broadway Show rehearsals they were previously used to. They only thought they were mad at me, but they were really just mad at the situation. Yeah, I think they were also mad that I reseated them and they were no longer sitting next to friends. I'll admit, though that I had gotten into a rehearsal rut, and obviously something needed to change if this was the attitude of at least half the class. This was the wake-up call I needed to make rehearsals more interesting for the kids. I also asked Shryock if he would actually sit in on a rehearsal and give me critique, because he would usually sit in his office and get other things done, and not worry so much about what was going on out in the classroom. Another testament to his faith in me, but after this incident, I thought it would be a good idea to re-evaluate some things.

Instead of letting this beat me into submission and giving up, I took the opportunity to up my game and came back the very next day with an engaging lesson for Chorale which started to turn their attitudes around, and we ended up having a really great rest of the semester! Hence the above status update. If you just keep busy, it will take your mind off of the bad things.

Tess Gray had a great time at the Young Lions concert last night! My Jr. High kids are too awesome for their own good.
November 11, 2009 at 8:35am
This was a fun concert held at Red Mountain High School in their amphitheater outside, because the auditorium seats had been gutted to put in new ones. It was a concert made up of one choir each from Red Mountain, Fremont Jr., Shepherd Jr., a combined men's choir with the HS and jr. high's, and one combined elementary school choir. I accompanied No Time for the advanced girls again, and as I was coming on stage, our boys started cheering for me. Love those boys. That was one of the best times I played No Time too. :)

Tess Gray says "Bring it on, AEPA!"
November 11, 2009 at 8:22pm
Rachelle Richter
Tess you are going to do just fine, I have all the confidence in the world that you will pass the test with flying colors! Hope your student teaching experience is going great!
November 12, 2009 at 7:21am
Tim Klingler

AEPA is a joke, you'll do fine
November 12, 2009 at 4:19pm
Jillanne Ulep

haha be prepared for the most random questions about world music. You'll do great. No worries!
November 12, 2009 at 6:38pm
Tess Gray

Melanie Openshaw and I went through all the study questions for both exams yesterday during our day off, and we're not worried, really. It's just dumb that I have to miss my Jr. High kids' retreat/party to take it. Boo.
November 12, 2009 at 7:06pm

FYI, the AEPAs are the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments, which all Arizona teachers are required to pass before they can become certified teachers. There are different tests for your specific teaching focus, for example, I had to take two exams, one for my professional knowledge of music, and another for general secondary education knowledge.

Tess Gray went from volunteer set painter to page turner to page turner & triangle player to page turner & triangle/slapstick player to page turner & triangle/slapstick/slide whistle player over the course of a week. Now I'm in the program as auxiliary percussionist. Bahaha... Come see Marcos de Niza's "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" this week, Wed. - Sat.! Ask me about tickets!
November 14, 2009 at 6:22pm
So I usually would stay at the jr. high with Mrs. Turley into the early evening, but since they began rehearsals for their own production of Charlie Brown (pure coincidence), I didn't need to stay after school, so I came back to Marcos to help out in any way I could. It started off with helping paint set and prop pieces on the weekend, then I volunteered to turn pages for Shryock, and that opened the gate for him to give me all of these auxiliary percussion instrument parts, you know, since I'd be there anyway. It was a lot of fun. :)

Tess Gray can't believe she volunteered herself to play flute obbligato for one of the jr. high choirs... The key of E sucks to play.
November 15, 2009 at 8:50pm
Jared Young
Oh my goodness..I know how you feel... Although f sharp is the worst! :D
November 15, 2009 at 9:00pm
Tess Gray

Oh barf. I had to write in every sharp... I mean come on... D#? There's even an A# accidental. I wrote Bb above it. Hehehe.

The fingerings in that key are just so dang awkward for me right now, especially since I haven't really played in over 8 years. It's coming, though, like riding a bike.
November 15, 2009 at 9:22pm

Tess Gray is a page-turnin', triangle/slapstick/slide whistle/duck call/siren-playin' machine! Take THAT, Charlie Brown! Man, we three "orchestra" members (consisting of electric piano, drum set, and auxiliary percussion) sure get slap-happy back there. Toooo much silly!
November 17, 2009 at 6:01am
For example:

Tess Gray is excited for Charlie Brown opening night! It's gonna be a hoot. :) Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!
November 18, 2009 at 6:07am

Tess Gray says congrats to the cast of Charlie Brown on a great opening night... despite certain mishaps due to the mentioning of Shakespeare's Scottish play... *grumblegrumble*
November 18, 2009 at 10:41pm
Mollie Heiden
i was so mad! >:|
November 18, 2009 at 10:53pm
Tess Gray

Did you hear the random cymbal crashing in the second act? Teehee... Shryock went for some Twizzlers that were sitting on the same music stand that was holding the drum set lamp, and he knocked the lamp over onto the cymbal. Drummer James and I were laughing so hard (silently) that we were crying.
November 18, 2009 at 11:05pm
Mollie Heiden

hahahhaha i actually didn't here that. hahah i think i was worrying too much about the cloud ahah
November 19, 2009 at 11:42pm

Tess Gray just finished writing a music theory quiz for her freshman choir tomorrow, and won't even be there to give it, because of Charlie Brown youth matinee!
November 19, 2009 at 11:33pm

Tess Gray thought Charlie Brown had a great show tonight with a fantastic audience! Now time to get to bed so I won't have to sleep through my AEPA (!!!) tomorrow morning!
November 20, 2009 at 11:46pm
Was I crazy to jump into the production of Charlie Brown with my AEPA looming? If anything I think it was very effective at taking my mind off it so I didn't put in too much unnecessary worrying.

Tess Gray feels good about the Music Knowledge test, but has no idea how she did on the General Knowledge test. The wait is now on. In other news, Charlie Brown is officially over, and the cast party was a lot of fun! Now I can't wait until I get my copy of the DVD so I can finally actually see what happened on stage!
November 22, 2009 at 1:33am
Tess Gray
My position in the "orchestra" was such that I could only see what happened at the very front of the stage or amongst the audience.
November 22, 2009 at 1:34am

This was our little zone behind a dividing wall. There was another wall to my right that I could touch if I reached my hand out. This wall extended to the opening of stage left, and I really could only see the front of the stage. That mirror on the end of the piano I brought in for Shryock so he could more easily see the stage and match his cues to the kids, especially when he had to match Schroeder's piano movements. This photo was taken by one of the kids' parents (Collin/Shadmo, who played Schroeder) on opening night during the post-show audience exit music. See those Twizzlers on the music stand near the drum set that also has a lamp on it? That's the lamp that fell on the cymbal in the middle of the show that I mentioned a few posts ago. And there's my little array of instruments set on a towel so they wouldn't make noise when I set them down. Both of those lamps were mine too. The three of us really did get silly back there, especially during the dress rehearsals.

Tess Gray is finally going back to her regular schedule without Charlie Brown. Oh how I'll miss it. At least it's a short week! Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on me!
November 23, 2009 at 6:05am
It really did take me by surprise!

Tess Gray thought that life without Charlie Brown would be boring... Little did I know I'd find something else to keep me busy!
November 23, 2009 at 9:38pm
That something being me realizing that my scholarship and Pell grant money was beginning to run out, and putting in hours helping a family friend clean her house in preparation for the holidays to make some extra money so I could actually pay my car payment come January. It worked out well - she needed the help, and I needed the money.

Tess Gray wonders how Thanksgiving crept up on her. Isn't it still September? Did I miss something? Well anywho, Happy Turkey Day to all!
November 26, 2009 at 7:04am

Tess Gray tried Google Chrome for about two hours... it crashed when someone sent me a FB chat message. Back to Firefox!
November 26, 2009 at 10:45am
Lesson learned. I'm sorry I ever doubted you, Firefox.

Tess Gray is enjoying a relaxing Turkey Day. Spent my morning cleaning my room (still in progress...), watching Mythbusters, collecting blue-printed grocery bags, and going to the movies with the fam. :)
November 26, 2009 at 3:18pm
Collecting blue-printed grocery bags (from Albertsons) for the purpose of crocheting a new purse. See my last blog post for a picture of the one I made over the summer. I've had enough blue bags for a while now, but I have yet to get started on it. I'll get around to it soon.

Tess Gray just took a look at the requirements for her TaskStream assignment for Student Teaching... Guess who's going to be spending hours upon hours of quality time with Microsoft Word during her holiday weekend? ... eep.
November 26, 2009 at 10:03pm
Melanie Openshaw
me? :)
November 26, 2009 at 11:12pm
Tess Gray

You know, taking a closer look at this, it doesn't look all that bad. The "tips" pretty much walk you through the whole thing, and the only one who will be seeing the final product is Holder. Two 5-page papers answering questions about a series of lessons we've taught? Easy. ... and if I've read through the whole thing correctly, we don't even have to write the lesson plans!
November 27, 2009 at 7:56am
Melanie Openshaw

wait, are you sure we don't have to write a lesson plan?
November 27, 2009 at 9:46am

Tess Gray says, "Student Teaching Candidate Work Sample, prepare to be written!"
November 27, 2009 at 7:58am
Tess Gray
Halfway through paper #1 and on a roll!
November 27, 2009 at 1:17pm
Tess Gray
(This is based on five single-spaced pages per paper, so I see this as a decent accomplishment for five hours of work)
November 27, 2009 at 1:19pm

Tess Gray spent a little more than seven hours at her laptop writing the entirety of her first student teacher candidate work sample, with breaks for mealtime and periodic Facebook checks. Planning on getting the other one done tomorrow in less time, now that I'm back in the mode of paper-writing. For now, though, it's time to practice piano like crazy for Shepherd's concert next week!
November 27, 2009 at 6:10pm

Tess Gray is finally done with her TaskStream assignments (I hope)!!! That really takes a load off. Now it's just smooth sailing to the end of the semester... Oh yeah... Should probably practice piano and flute so I can accompany Bel Canto at the Jr. High concert and Women's at the JV concert (maybe), and conducting so I can get those blasted meter changes on Fum Fum Fum! Eep!
November 28, 2009 at 6:22pm
Yup, and thus ended the short saga of my one writing assignment for the entire semester. Turns out that Holder only required us to do one anyway. Even with no evaluations completed by Mrs. Turley and Shryock only doing one of them, I still managed to pass my student teaching. And that's why I'm glad I had Dr. Holder as my supervisor.

Tess Gray wishes she had Shryock's mad piano skills about now. Four days until Winter Concert #1 and I'm sooo close to having the accompaniment down, but really need a break from practicing.
November 29, 2009 at 9:15am

Tess Gray can't believe this semester has gone by so fast! Are there seriously only two weeks left until I'm finished with my bachelor's degree?! How did I get here?
November 29, 2009 at 11:16am
Melanie Openshaw
Time... and some effort I guess. It is weird to think about though. We're big kids!
November 29, 2009 at 1:22pm
Robin Neely
seriously, agreed
November 29, 2009 at 8:44pm

Wow... it's hard to believe that this was an entire month ago. It still feels to me like I'm still there, wishing it didn't have to end. I know it just feels like a state of suspended animation right now because I'm waiting to hear back from a job, and the schools are on their last couple days of winter break anyway. I'll probably have some weird-out moments next week thinking about how I could just go visit if I wanted to, but I dare not, because it will just be me hanging on to something that I have to let go. Once I get situated in a new work schedule I'll try to talk to Shryock again about volunteering. He's really just trying to play the tough love approach and helping me to move on, so I'm trying to respect that and keep my distance, even though coming back to help is always on my mind. I think about how he can always use my help in the classroom, but the way the semester ended between us makes me think twice and realize that my intentions would be selfish in trying to hold onto something that is no longer rightfully mine, and if I'm around too much, it would just become awkward. More on this later.

Tess Gray is gonna get one last round of piano practice in before hittin' the hay. I'm that sleepy.
November 29, 2009 at 8:10pm

Tess Gray needs to get her Jr. High kids out of their winter funk. Concert Thursday and zero energy. What gives?
November 30, 2009 at 5:12pm
Seriously. They were giving me zero energy, when before Thanksgiving they were doing so well!


Tess Gray
got a little emotional today. Really? I only get to student teach for two more weeks? T_T (<-- that's a crying face, btw) I'd like to suspend this moment in time. Please and thank you. December 1, 2009 at 5:59pm

Tess Gray just wants tomorrow to be over.
December 2, 2009 at 5:22pm
... because the way that day's rehearsal went, I could only imagine what a train wreck the concert the next night could be. Seriously, when I pulled into our driveway after leaving school that day, I sat with the engine and radio off for what felt like a good 20 minutes just racking my brain for how to turn this situation around. I couldn't think of anything, and I was in a funk for the rest of the night.
Melanie Openshaw
Me too!!! What do you have tomorrow, I have a concert. It will be nice when that is done!
December 2, 2009 at 5:52pm
Tess Gray

Same here... Jr. High concert. Thanksgiving break just really through off our groove. My 7th grade girls have been giving me NOTHING all week and I just want to move on.
December 2, 2009 at 5:57pm
Tess Gray

I meant "threw off" not "through off"...
December 2, 2009 at 6:31pm

Tess Gray really needed a reason to smile after a rough day at the Jr. High, and found it after reading through 3 pages of "Today, I found a fan page on facebook that said "I like watching raindrops race across my window and silently cheer for them". I'm glad I'm not the only one. MLIA"
December 2, 2009 at 6:43pm
Tess Gray
This one made me laugh out loud. :D
December 2, 2009 at 6:43pm

Tess Gray hopes that a Christmas miracle happens tonight. I've done all I can do. It's their time to step it up.
December 3, 2009 at 6:04am
Tess Gray
... and they were doing so well before the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend threw off the flow. That's what kills me.
December 3, 2009 at 6:05am
Melanie Openshaw

My kids too! Yesterday they acted as if they had never heard the music before!!!! AHHH!!! I hear you. A miracle needs to happen tonight!
December 3, 2009 at 2:51pm

Glad to hear I wasn't the only one.

Tess Gray is... well, one Winter Concert down, six more to go! Seriously... Six more... and that's counting both of tomorrow's assemblies as one and not including all of Chamber's caroling gigs.
December 3, 2009 at 10:06pm
Something about it being concert day brought a little bit of energy back to the choir, but it was still like pulling teeth in some cases.

Tess Gray has two assemblies and a caroling competition to be at today. Yaaaay choir! :)
December 4, 2009 at 6:14am
Just a video of the end of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" at the Peoria caroling competition. They ended up taking second, but not because they weren't the best ones there (which they were). We went early on, and they picked the last group to perform as the winners. Well, at the very least we left with $500 more than when we got there, so that's better than a kick in the face.

Tess Gray walked 5k to save the arts this morning. You're welcome, arts.
December 5, 2009 at 10:39am
Shryock really wasn't expecting me to actually show up to this, but he was just happy that I brought him coffee. :-P It ended up being a really good time, and I even got hooked up with a voice student!

Tess Gray is in Flagstaff... Sittin' in the Dub... Just waitin' for Holiday Dinner! Woot!
December 5, 2009 at 5:10pm via Mobile Web
I had just gotten into town, and instead of going to someone's apartment to sit around for an hour and then battle traffic in the parking lot I just decided to come straight to the DuBois center, lovingly referred to as the Dub ("doob"). It was pretty boring at first because I was really early, so I sat there by myself, updating my Facebook from my phone. While I waited for the rest of our table to get there to the lobby I got to say hi to NAU people passing by whom I hadn't seen in a while who were there to help set up for the night.

Tess Gray thought Holiday Dinner was awesome and a whole lot of fun! Two words: Pumpkin Cheesecake. Best $65 ever spent.
December 5, 2009 at 10:56pm
Our alumni table, right in front of the Shrine risers! :)

Tess Gray Pet Peeve: When hanging out with 'friends', one person starts to bring something up, notices you are in their company, then says to just one other person, "Oh, I'll tell you later." Seriously? It's incredibly rude and exclusionary and makes me wonder why you even bother calling me your friend sometimes.
December 6, 2009 at 8:09am
Brittany Gregory Sorensen
December 6, 2009 at 9:01am
Jared Young

December 6, 2009 at 10:44am
Paul Sanchez

I would just perpousfully make sure im driving in a car with them and lock the windows and just fart. Because that what people like that deserve, they deserve what they act like, and thats thats. they act like Stinky fart.
December 6, 2009 at 2:20pm
Morena Sanchez

HOLY COW! Some people are just jerks!
December 6, 2009 at 3:10pm

Is a little bit of tact too much to ask for?

Tess Gray is back in town after just a short trip up the hill for Holiday Dinner. It was a fun night, but I'm glad to be back where it's slightly warmer.
December 6, 2009 at 11:55am

Tess Gray is mentally preparing herself for her last full week of student teaching. Am I seriously graduating college on Friday? Whaaaaa?
December 7, 2009 at 5:56am
Andrea Jones
Have fun!
December 7, 2009 at 6:42am
Tim Klingler

Enjoy it. I was shocked when it ended. kids who I thought hated me came up to me in tears and hugged me and told me not to go. Kind of gratifying. Treasure it!
December 7, 2009 at 3:51pm
Josiah Sanchez

I get to sing at your Graduation! Well the one you would be at. lol
December 7, 2009 at 5:22pm
Tricia Caudle Ubrig

So excited for you :-)
December 7, 2009 at 8:45pm
Tess Gray

Haha... too bad I already walked in May, Josiah. I won't be walking this Friday, that's just the official day I'm done with college. I'll actually be sticking with my student teaching placements through the end of their semester, just one week longer.
December 7, 2009 at 9:45pm

Tess Gray thinks it's lame NAU is cancelling finals due to snow when we had crazy snow last year during finals week and still had to go. Meh, whatever, I'm over it.
December 7, 2009 at 9:56pm

Tess Gray has JV concert at Marcos tomorrow! ... and I've caught a cold. Well, it was bound to happen sometime. Boy is it windy outside.
December 7, 2009 at 9:59pm
Of course the time I finally catch a cold has to be during concert week. It was pretty funny, I showed up at school with a box of tissues, and since I was running late, I came in after Shryock had begun rehearsal without me, and didn't get the chance to explain why my eyes were all watery. I sat behind Chamber as Shryock ran rehearsal of some jazz charts for Jazz/Mad, and I was having a small amount of amusement imagining Shryock's perspective, wondering why I was crying. I could tell he was assuming that something was wrong emotionally because he'd glance back at me sympathetically, and always made sure I had a copy of the music they were looking at, kind of as a, "I'm really not mad that you were late, if that's why you're crying" gesture. We had a good laugh after rehearsal ended and I explained, "It may look like I'm tearing up, but it's really just that this cold just hit me and my eyes just won't stop watering, and I brought the tissues because my nose is runny too, and you don't keep tissues around... But it was amusing to see the cogs in your brain turning, trying to figure out why I was sad while running a rehearsal."

Tess Gray is conducting Chorale and playing flute for Women's at Marcos de Niza's JV winter concert tonight! Good times to be had by all!
December 8, 2009 at 6:10am
Melanie Openshaw
Holla! Way to be!
December 8, 2009 at 8:59pm

Tess Gray had an awesome time at Marcos's Freshman/JV concert tonight! The kids were awesome, and thank goodness adrenaline was enough to make this blasted cold subside for a few hours. Now time to knock myself out with some NyQuil and sleep what's left of the night away.
December 8, 2009 at 10:24pm
Note to self: NyQuil doesn't work for me. If anything, I slept worse than I would have without it.
Tammy Roche
Well done! And hope you feel better, Tellll-GATO! Tel..gato! Teg-alto!
December 8, 2009 at 10:29pm
This is what I was talking about earlier with the confusion on how to pronounce my screenname. It has kind of become an inside joke with my R&L fan friends.
Mollie Heiden

you did a great job on the flute!we wouldn't have sounded the same without you!(:
December 8, 2009 at 10:32pm
Well I was happy to do it, especially since I didn't have enough time to learn their accompaniment well enough to play for them. At least the flute part for that one song was in a flat key (with a couple key changes), and it wasn't too fast. I always like to see the looks on the kids' faces when they realize that I play another instrument. The kids in Chorale had no idea.
Tess Gray

:) Thanks Tammy and Mollie!
December 9, 2009 at 5:45am

Tess Gray, after her 2-day absence from the Jr. High, had one of her 7th graders say, "We missed you! We all love you, Ms. Gray! Even when you tell me to stop talking all the time, because I know it's good for me."
December 9, 2009 at 7:08pm
Seriously, that's almost exactly what she said. Oh, Logan M., one frustratingly ADD girl, but still funny as heck.
Tim Klingler
Hope I hear that when I go back Friday
December 9, 2009 at 9:36pm
Marc Wagner

ha ha....thats awesome...i need to become a teacher...
December 10, 2009 at 12:00am

Tess Gray has another concert tonight! This time, Varsity concert at Marcos de Niza, 7:00 PM! Come one and all! It'll be a blasty blast!
December 10, 2009 at 6:06am
Tess Gray
In other news, I'm sort of officially graduating from NAU tomorrow...
December 10, 2009 at 6:07am

Recognizing A Cappella after my last song conducting, before I left the stage and cried. I probably wouldn't have if Shryock hadn't announced my entrance to the stage as this being my final concert at Marcos de Niza. Up until that point I was strictly in concert mode. I hadn't thought about the fact that this really was the beginning of the end.

Tess Gray wants to congratulate all of the Marcos de Niza performing ensembles on two great Winter concerts this week. It's been a blast working with such great kids and exceptional faculty... Now don't think you can get rid of me THAT easily!
December 10, 2009 at 10:31pm
Tess Gray
Not gonna lie, I cried after A Cappella's set, and halfway through the orchestra's.
December 10, 2009 at 10:32pm

Tess Gray is kind of really sad she has to miss the "day after the concert" rehash in A Cappella today to be on a Jr. High choir field trip. In other news, I woke up with a sore throat feeling as though I wouldn't have a voice. Turns out it's only lost my voice at the top of the treble clef, D# - E-ish... Good thing my speaking voice usually hangs around right below the treble clef... I'm such a music nerd.
December 11, 2009 at 5:30am
Seriously... I would have much rather just been finished with the jr. high after their concert week but they needed me to accompany and conduct on this field trip. This was the only time I was sad to have to miss something with one school because I had to be with the other school for something else. There's only one "day after the concert", you know?

Tess Gray is... whoa... wait... I'm officially graduating from freaking COLLEGE today! Whaaaaa?
December 11, 2009 at 5:41am

Tess Gray wore her NAU alumni pin she got back in May all day today... because she could.
December 11, 2009 at 11:45pm
Tess Gray
Also spent the day with a bunch of Jr. High choir kids traipsing about the elementary schools of east Mesa, and went to the AZ high school football state championship game. Padres lost, but hey, they made it the furthest they've ever been in over three decades!
December 11, 2009 at 11:46pm

I'm so glad I went to that championship game! Chez and I got in free because we came with Chamber, for whom Shryock had pulled strings to get to sing the National Anthem. It was really exciting because they all dressed nice, even Shryock (hehe... it 's a long-standing fact that I was nearly always more dressed up than he was, especially at the football games), and we entered the stadium while the stands were still empty, and, as Shryock didn't fail to point out, it was just like the movies, Shryock and his entourage entering the football stadium as VIPs. ;)

Tess Gray had fun with the Chamber kids tonight. :) P.S. - Don't ever try Key Lime flavored Apple Chips. Blech.
December 12, 2009 at 11:36pm
It was the annual Chamber Christmas Party that had been postponed twice because of football games. We had a secret Santa gift exchange. Sean Mushro had me, and got me an apple-cinnamon scented candle, appletini mix (he didn't know until that night that I was Mormon and didn't drink. Don't worry, there wasn't any alcohol in the bottle, just the mix flavoring), and Key Lime flavored Apple Chips. All apple-themed things because he was sad I don't get to go with them to the BIG APPLE in the spring. Haha... ha... get it? Big Apple? Because A Cappella is going to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York? Huh? Huh? Yeah, I love those kids.

Tess Gray feels like she's in a weird state of limbo... My official student teaching semester is over, but I've committed to finishing out the school's final week... Trying to fill out substitute teacher application, but am still waiting on AEPA results to become certified... Oh well... off to church!
December 13, 2009 at 1:09pm
Heck, I still feel in a weird sort of limbo. Even though I now have my AEPA results, I still have to wait until my degree is posted to actually get certified, and degree posting was delayed due to that snow day that NAU had during finals week. Lame.

Tess Gray has procrastinated going to bed long enough... Just two more days of zero hour left in the semester... crazy.
December 13, 2009 at 9:48pm

Tess Gray is wondering if she should give her contacts another shot yet... They kind of killed her eyes on Saturday... In other news, MdN Chamber Caroling Concert tonight, 7PM!
December 14, 2009 at 5:46am
Seriously, I don't know what was going on that day, but I put in new contacts that morning and as soon as I got driving I was having the darndest time keeping my eyes open because of those dumb contacts. It was really dangerous.

Tess Gray would like to congratulate Chamber on a great Caroling Concert tonight! Great turnout! :)
December 14, 2009 at 9:28pm
It really was a good concert! I got to create the program and show order, conduct the first part of it, and met a lot of kids' parents. It was fun, and probably the last real official thing I was able to do with Marcos. Everything else was either proctoring the guitar final, grading the guitar final, sitting in on the choir final projects, and hanging around at caroling gigs, because I felt like I should be there.

Tess Gray finally fulfilled her last obligations to Shepherd Jr. High. Woot! Concert at the temple lights went well, but the kids kept saying, "Why can't stay?! You didn't get paid this whole time, so why not just keep it up?" and "Is it true??? You're not coming back?!" Bahahahaha...
December 15, 2009 at 8:47pm
Tess Gray
There were even some girls from Red Mountain High who had been told about me by my Shepherd kids and were excited to meet "Awesome Miss Gray". How well I have them fooled... ~_^
December 15, 2009 at 8:50pm
Melanie Openshaw

That is my favorite. "Just stay!!" You don't need to make money or have any bills to pay or anything!! According to my high school kids I will be taking up residence in a practice room. My next door neighbor will be another kid who is moving to China next semester. We're going to have block parties.
December 15, 2009 at 9:03pm
Gary L Gray

Melanie? China?
December 15, 2009 at 11:18pm
Melanie Openshaw

Haha, no, a kid in my choir is moving to China and they want him to stay just like me so they're telling him he is going to live in a practice room too... I wish I was moving to China!
December 16, 2009 at 5:50am
Tess Gray

Gah... one of the kids from Shepherd Jr's men's choir just auditioned and got into the Phoenix Children's Choir touring choir, and is going to China this summer. Punk. I mean literally, he's a punk. Mohawk and all.
December 16, 2009 at 6:50am

Tess Gray is excited... No more splitting my time and loyalties between two schools and two cooperating teachers! Just Marcos from here on out! Yaaaay! -But wait... That's all of two half finals days. *le sigh* At least I've got caroling and holiday parties to look forward to!
December 16, 2009 at 6:55am

Tess Gray is heading off to Marcos for her last day of student teaching... But then there's the A Cappella party, the Jeffery's party, and caroling on Saturday, so plenty more fun awaits!
December 17, 2009 at 7:03am
Yeah, not so much on the Saturday caroling thing. See a couple entries down.

Tess Gray feels like there's something missing... and there is. Why did this semester have to end so quickly?
December 18, 2009 at 8:20am

Tess Gray thinks there should be counseling for student teaching withdrawals. I'm really, REALLY sad right now. Is there anybody out there who can cheer me up?
December 18, 2009 at 1:02pm
So basically this day was a teacher work day, so Shryock had the council kids come to help clean the room and get the library emptied out for the installation of new cabinetry. I could tell that for the past couple of days Shryock was trying to find the right time to say what he would say to me the first time it was just the two of us in his office that morning, which was, "So are you going to the Jeffery's tonight?" "Of course!" "Okay, then here comes tough love time. (I'm thinking... Oh great)... I think today should be your last day." He said some other stuff that I don't quite remember because that hit me really hard and my head was swimming. I wasn't mentally prepared for this, because I had thought I was invited to finish out the caroling season with the kids, and I had planned on going to the last two caroling gigs the next day, Saturday. In hindsight I know that he was right, because it wasn't anything I would really be of much use for, I had just gotten used to making sure I was at any choir function he was, because if it was my program, that's where I would be too. While I now understand his reasoning and know that this wasn't by any means shafting me, I just wish he had taken the time earlier in the week to sit down and have this conversation instead of just announcing it to me. I immediately started tearing up, and kept myself busy helping clean for the rest of the morning, and avoiding any conversation that would make me cry.

As it was I bawled on my whole drive home... But I had to put my brave face on to come back for the Jeffery's party that evening. As we were waiting in the Jeffery's kitchen before performing for their party, Shryock presented me with a small gift of a bamboo plant (for luck and prosperity) and a card from him. I was actually surprised, and that really made me feel better about the whole situation. I had been feeling abandoned, and that was a nice reminder that it's all for the best, and I just have to keep moving forward. We had fun that night, the kids put on a good performance, despite missing three of the four tenors, and we went to go see some cool Christmas lights. Before we left for the night and I said my final farewells as Marcos de Niza choir student teacher, I wanted to make sure I got at least one group picture to send me on my way:
Don't let anyone tell you that taking tough love is easy. It's not. It's really hard. And it sucks. Saying goodbye always does.

Tess Gray hopes the "falling" chapter in her life will only last a short while. For an explanation on what I mean by this, see my latest note, wherein I wax philosophical, metaphorical, and all-around verbose.
December 19, 2009 at 2:25am

"The Fledgling
Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 1:03am

This was originally just going to be a status update, but I ended up having a bit more to say than I thought I did. Here goes:

I am not a fan of this stage in life where chapters are constantly closing. It seems as though everything is temporary, but lasts just long enough for me to become attached, making each new severance hurt all the more.

I cried one of my best cries when I left Flagstaff back in May. A great four-year chapter ended then. Ever since, my life has been in a perpetual state of transition. Half of my worldly possessions are sitting in my parents' garage, just waiting for me to be living on my own again. In the meantime I live in my 10' x 12' fortress of solitude which has been my only haven, the only thing that is all 'me' through all of this, even though it, too, is only temporary.

I enjoyed myself this past semester of student teaching so much that I failed to mentally prepare myself for the emotional roller coaster I'd be on when it finally came time to end. I really do feel as though I've found a new family. I think Shryock put it best when he said after I started to tear up about tonight's Chamber caroling gig being my final hoorah, "We've turned her into a Padre." I love all the awesome kids I've gotten to work with these past four months. They have taught me more than they know, and I'll never forget them. I love the community of kids' parents I've gotten to know, and I absolutely love the amazing, talented, funny, and supportive faculty members I now count as friends.

I cried one of my best cries today, and I'm not ashamed. It's yet another chapter in my life that has drawn to a close - the best chapter yet, in my opinion. Much too short, but oh so satisfying. I know that there is much more to come for me in the future, but please allow me to use an extremely sappy metaphor to explain my feelings at this exact moment in time:

Up until this August, I was inside the egg. Seventeen straight years of sterile classroom learning, attempting to prepare for, with only theoretical knowledge, the so-called "real world." Student teaching was the hatching of the egg, and ensuing fledgling state of being. Finally, I was able to put my life's work into practice. I was safe inside the nest, with someone to catch me if I fell, and someone to let me fall if that's what was best for me. (Yes, I just compared Shryock to a mother bird.) All in the matter of one day, today, I was pushed from the nest. I have a feeling that the next chapter in my life is going to be tough, because if I know a bird metaphor, that's the falling chapter. I'm falling, and it sure is scary, because now it's up to me to spread my wings and fly for myself. When that will happen, only time may tell.

Thank you all for taking his journey with me. Don't be strangers!

-Tess AKA Ms. Gray

P.S. - It occurred to me about two-thirds in that this would make a great monologue. Somebody make that happen. :P"

Shadmo Mulligan
Perhaps we'll be seeing you... in all the old familiar places.
December 19, 2009 at 3:01pm
Tess Gray

Perhaps? There's no perhaps. You all haven't seen the last of me!While I'm at it, let me just say that I finished this note about 2 AM... I get pretty philosophical the later I stay up. ;)
December 19, 2009 at 5:07pm
Malorie Danielle Aralica

December 20, 2009 at 11:22am
Haley Winward

you're amazing ms.gray i've learned so much from you :)
December 20, 2009 at 12:49pm

I think that just about says it all.

Tess Gray just had some fun adding her mark to a traveling Styrofoam head. Now to send it on to Maine!
December 19, 2009 at 5:11pm
So earlier in the year one of my online friends over at the RhettandLinKommunity decided to implement the Sisterhood of the Traveling Head. Long story about why we picked a Styrofoam head, but we got 18 of us chicks over at the Komm to join in the fun, and the head and we take turns mailing it to each other, signing it, writing a note in the accompanying travel log, and sending it on to the next person. Once it's gotten to all of us, we're going to send it to Rhett and Link for their fan submission area. A bit of frivolity, but fun nonetheless.

So the very day after all of this depression went down, the day that I originally thought was going to be my last day, the head arrived at my house, a welcome surprise to take my mind off of being sad for a little while:

Tess Gray is hoping for the best but hates all of this unsurety and sadness... Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, I suppose.
December 20, 2009 at 8:06am
I probably read that corny "Fledgling" note that I wrote a dozen times over this weekend, and cried every time. I would tear up over anything. Seriously. I've gotten better, but I still fight the urge to cry whenever I talk about my last day.

Tess Gray is one day out from getting her AEPA results, and is starting to get nervous.
December 20, 2009 at 6:20pm
Eric Olsen
Oh man!
December 20, 2009 at 6:20pm
Tess Gray

"Oh d-d-d-dear!" - Piglet, Winnie the Pooh
December 20, 2009 at 6:22pm
Eric Olsen

"/facepalm" - The Internet
December 20, 2009 at 6:23pm
Tess Gray

"/headdesk" - also The Internet
December 20, 2009 at 6:23pm
Eric and I are nerds. We know this.
Tammy Roche

I have faith! You have been studious--not wasting time on FarmVille like me!! :o\
December 20, 2009 at 6:26pm
Tess Gray

Hehe. I took this test on Nov. 21, and depending on the results I get tomorrow, Arizona may or may not allow me to get my teaching certificate! Well, it takes an 80% to pass, and if you don't pass you can always take it again... It's just kind of expensive and really stressful.
December 20, 2009 at 6:28pm
Tammy Roche

I await the good news! I just know you got this one! :o)
December 20, 2009 at 6:31pm
Tess Gray

Okay, well if I don't pass I'm blaming you now, Tammy! :P
December 20, 2009 at 7:24pm
Krisy Hafford

Oh my goodness I'm so excited!! I can't wait to hear your results! YAY.
December 20, 2009 at 10:55pm

I really had been feeling pretty indifferent about waiting for the results, because worrying about them for a month just makes it worse. It wasn't until I knew I would get to find out the next day that I started to get nervous, thinking... Oh man, what if I have to take it again?!

Tess Gray Is it sad that this is the first thing that has really gotten me to laugh since all this sad, sappy, "I can't believe I'm done with student teaching" crying? Now I'm going to think about this every time I babysit my niece and she wants to watch Yo Gabba Gabba.

December 20, 2009 at 10:05pm

Laughter really is the best medicine, and sometimes you don't remember that until something like this makes you genuinely laugh.

Tess Gray passed her AEPA!!! Wooo!
December 21, 2009 at 11:50am via Mobile Web
Teresa Ulrich
GO TESS!!!!1!1!1!!!!!!!!!!!!1111!!!!! :) ********************** and ^^^^^^!!!!!!!!!
December 21, 2009 at 11:53am
Tammy Roche

Mmmm hmmm! :o) Congrats girl!!
December 21, 2009 at 11:56am
Tim Klingler

See, no reason to be nervous :-)
December 21, 2009 at 12:14pm
Tess Gray

Ooo... Applause AND high fives from Teresa! :D
December 21, 2009 at 12:22pm
Josiah Sanchez

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Now go teach to the world! =D
December 21, 2009 at 1:14pm
Tammy Roche

So happy for you new grads!
December 21, 2009 at 1:15pm
Christi Cluff Gray

And you did all that worrying for nothing. I knew you could do it!
December 21, 2009 at 1:31pm
Christianne Wendt Gray

Yay for you!!! I'm proud of you!
December 21, 2009 at 1:57pm
Rachelle Richter

I knew you would!! Congrats Tess! :)
December 22, 2009 at 8:21am
Debra Jo Borden

Congratulations! In many ways that was one of the most exhausting tests I've ever taken. I'm happy for you!
December 22, 2009 at 8:41am
Tess Gray

Seriously, Debra Jo! I took the Music test and the Professional Knowledge - Secondary test. The Music one was no sweat... I actually enjoyed taking it... But the Secondary one was soooo stressful! I left with no idea how I might have done, and that's usually not a good sign. Glad it's over, though, and I don't have to retake it! Yaaay!
December 22, 2009 at 12:18pm

Tess Gray has submitted over 20 apps/resumes in the past four days... Tess needs a job!
December 22, 2009 at 7:08pm
Still do!

Tess Gray just thought this looked cool --> ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
December 23, 2009 at 8:43am
Well... it does...

Tess Gray is spending her newfound free time using wrapping paper in creative and artistic ways to wrap her mother's Christmas presents. Perhaps I should do this for a living? Pictures to follow.
December 23, 2009 at 7:19pm
Still haven't gotten around to getting those pictures off my camera, but I'll update the post when I do. I was really proud of my little works of art, since I couldn't really afford gifts for anyone this year.
Jasen Evoy
Ah, yes - I have been known to even break out the hot glue gun.
December 23, 2009 at 8:11pm
Tess Gray

Awesome... Why does this not surprise me?
December 23, 2009 at 11:49pm

Tess Gray is finally looking forward to time with friends. Friends? I still have those?
December 23, 2009 at 11:51pm
It's true. After a busy semester all around for all of us, the game night gang spontaneously got back together. On the 23rd we went to the Mesa LDS temple to see the Christmas lights, went back to Gumby's afterwards and began planning to make a short video. Just something silly to give our lives purpose during winter break. I hadn't hung out with these guys in a long time, so it was good to fall back into the groove.

Tess Gray had fun today. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of structured silliness... :)
December 24, 2009 at 5:54pm
And here is the final result of our movie-making! The stop motion was Eric's idea, which he had used in another video with Gumby just a few days previously, the music video was my idea (inspired by Eric), and we each kind of came up with our own intro sequence. Eric and I did the directing. 'Twas a lot of fun!

Tess Gray
is glad Christmas was all about family togetherness this year. Low pressure on gift-giving and -receiving really takes the stress off.
December 26, 2009 at 12:43am
Seriously... I know I couldn't afford anything, what with my scholarship money running out and needing to save everything I have to make my January car and insurance payment.

Tess Gray
likes how the graphical representation of her official AEPA results for the music test consist of six completely filled-in horizontal bars. Yes, that's right, official AEPA results have been mailed and received, so now I can go become a certified teacher! Woot!
December 27, 2009 at 12:18am
Teresa Ulrich
December 27, 2009 at 12:19am
Robin Neely

Recieved???!!!! Mine should be here soon!!!!!!!!!!! Hooray!
December 27, 2009 at 12:30am
Robin Neely

and, more appropriately, congrats on your passing with flying colors, and on receiving your results! =)
December 27, 2009 at 12:31am
Tess Gray

Haha... Thanks, Robin. How did you do? You got the unofficial scores emailed on Monday, right?

Haha... So while my Music scores were awesome, my Secondary Knowledge one had four bars in the graph: Awesome, Awesome, Good, and Weak. The "weak" was for the essay section... Apparently my BS-ing didn't fool them! Hahaha... Well, at least that constitutes a passing grade, and I never have to write those stinking essays again!
December 27, 2009 at 10:52am
Rebecca Schmidt

Awesome! Now you can come subfor us when shryguy wants to take a day off. :)
December 27, 2009 at 1:12pm
Tess Gray

That's the plan! ;) Now if only I can get my substitute application with TUHSD pushed through so I can sub for him next week...
December 27, 2009 at 6:18pm

Tess Gray needs to get In the Heights out of her head and stop having dreams about student teaching... Kinda hard to get over it when my subconscious can't.
December 28, 2009 at 4:36pm
Seriously... I finally begin to emotionally accept that I'm finally done, and I start having dreams about being back at Marcos and student teaching, or volunteering, or just sticking around in general and not letting go. Happened like, three nights in-a-row before I posted this status. I also had "Sunrise" from In the Heights stuck in my head that day, which was one of the songs that A Cappella did in the Broadway Show. Heck, right now I have "Peter Rabbit" stuck in my head from Charlie Brown. Stupid subconscious. Can't let me let go. :P

Tess Gray has an interview on Wednesday! In the meantime, should I apply for an early morning baker position? 3 AM just seems a little ridiculous.
December 28, 2009 at 6:19pm
I decided not to apply for the early-morning bagel baker position.

Tess Gray is bored. Might actually clean my room again and get started on my Albertsons bag crocheting...
December 29, 2009 at 5:20pm
Did clean the room, did not get started on the crocheting...

Tess Gray has two interviews today! Wish me luck!
December 30, 2009 at 8:44am

Tess Gray had two interviews this afternoon. First one: so-so, Second one: Pretty good! I even got to show off my mad typing skillz. 92 wpm, zero errors. That's right. I'm hard-core.
December 30, 2009 at 3:27pm
Sean Varga
that is up there in the ranks of court reporters....awesome.
December 30, 2009 at 3:29pm
Tess Gray

;) Maybe I've missed my calling in life.
December 30, 2009 at 3:29pm

The first one was for an after-school musical theater class teaching position for elementary through junior high-aged kids. While this at first seemed like something perfect that I could put my degree to use for, it turned out to be mostly teaching kids repertoire by rote while teaching them dance moves (would have loved to see me do that, wouldn't you?), and this lady basically wanted to train someone to be her replacement and be super dedicated to the program and process. Definitely something I don't want to get roped into for an indefinite period of time, especially since I don't know if I'll be able to find a teaching job in the area come next fall.

The second interview was at a small family-run office to be a part-time office assistant and transcriber, hence the typing test. I seemed to really impress them with my uber typing skills, and we had a few laughs. I really liked the feel of the work environment, I'm fine with part-time, and it's totally a coincidence that the office is just a few miles away from Marcos, making it all too convenient to substitute and volunteer... Meh, anyhow, I find out on Monday if I got the job, and I'm really hoping I do, because the craigslist postings seem to have started to dry up over the past week, though I keep checking back. If I do get it, the job will start on Wednesday! Eep! I'm really hoping for this one!

Tess Gray is kind of indifferent about the new year... 2009 was a pretty good one for me. It'll be hard to top it. On a different note, who's ready for some New Year's Eve fun?
December 31, 2009 at 7:56am
Despite the country being in economic turmoil and everyone calling 2009 a crappy year, it really was the best year of my life so far. I graduated at the top of my Choral Ed. class from NAU, I student taught with the best kids I could have hoped for, and worked with some of the most talented and fun people I know. Who cares about the money? I found purpose in my life.

Tess Gray is depressed to learn that since NAU is pushing back posting of degrees due to the finals week snow day, she cannot complete her certification until the end of January. Sorry Marcos kids, that means I can't sub for you guys until February. :(
December 31, 2009 at 9:24am
Melanie Openshaw
I thought that would be the case. Sucks for us. Really badly.
December 31, 2009 at 9:56am
Emilie Doering

Well at least you can sub in time to cover Shryock during tour!
December 31, 2009 at 10:19am
Tess Gray

True, Emilie. Just stinks because he'll be needing a sub next week.
December 31, 2009 at 12:14pm

Tess Gray wants to know: Have you ever had a headache so excruciating that you've considered getting your left eye amputated, just to remove the pain, or is that just me?
December 31, 2009 at 5:22pm
Seriously, it was baaad. It stuck around for two days.


Tess Gray
had great sisterly/aunty New Year's fun tonight, even though this durn headache never completely went away.
January 1, 2010 at 1:23am
Had a Wii night at Whitney's. We played Super Mario Bros. and this one new card game, and made confetti because this was the first year Chloe's stayed up until midnight for the New Year's countdown. She was so cute! :)

Tess Gray is wondering why her internal clock won't let her sleep a full 8 hours, even though it's later in the morning than usual. At least the migraine appears to have subsided... Oh well... Happy New Year, one and all!
January 1, 2010 at 8:56am
Seriously though... I wanted to sleep! Well, it's kind of in part because I'm house sitting again right now, and sleeping in a bed I'm not used to just doesn't work well for me. I wake up several times during the night, and can't find a comfortable position to sleep in. I usually fall asleep on my stomach, and it weirds me out that I turn so much in my sleep in an unfamiliar bed that I wake up in the middle of the night on my back. I can't fall asleep until I turn back to my stomach again. Strange, I know.

So... It took me three days, but I did it: copied all of my FB statuses chronologically, formatted the text, put in my hindsight commentary, added any pictures or videos that fit in, and basically relived my semester several times. Well, now you're all caught up with my life! Today is Sunday, January 3rd, 2010... Like I said before, I haven't really been excited for a new year or anything. It's just another month that I've been scrimping and saving to make a car payment for. I think the thing that makes me most excited about it being a new year is that all of the Christmas decorations come down and life gets back to normal. Don't get me wrong, I like to be in the Christmas spirit, but when you're a choir person you get Christmas music starting in October, if not earlier, and there's so much build up and preparation for the holiday concert/gig extravaganza that the ending of the season is more a relief than a downer. Life forges on.

This is also the first new year since I was four that I haven't had a school semester to look forward to that would plan my life for me for at least the next five months. I'm uncertain as to what 2010 will have in store for me. Will I get this office job I interviewed for? I find out tomorrow! Will I finally be able to substitute? I sure hope so! Will I get my first teaching job in the fall? Only time may tell. In the mean time, I leave you with my current Facebook Status:

Tess Gray sometimes feels like she should carry a FAQ sheet with her wherever she goes.
January 3, 2010 at 11:18am
Tess Gray

...With answers such as, "No, I didn't do distance learning from NAU, I just came down from Flagstaff for my student teaching." "No, I don't automatically have a teaching job lined up. I'll probably be working in an office for at least the next 7 months. Thanks for reminding me." and "Yes, I'm aware that music education doesn't provide as many job opportunities as other degrees, but I'd appreciate you not being an insensitive jerk by suggesting I get a job at Wal*Mart."
January 3, 2010 at 11:18am
Josiah Sanchez
WOW! That's good questions to have answers to. Was that last one really mentioned? lol
January 3, 2010 at 11:24am
Allison Romero
You tell 'em, Tess.
January 3, 2010 at 11:24am
Melanie Openshaw
amen. Especially to the last one.
January 3, 2010 at 11:27am
Tess Gray
Yeah, Josiah... There's a reason it's on the FAQ. That's what you have to look forward to!
January 3, 2010 at 11:40am

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