Teachers, tune in and take notes


Graphic by Alyssa Sanchez

The music notes drift into my ear. The singer’s voice is bathed in bubbles of warmth that envelop my soul. I lean back in my creaky chair. Breathe in, breathe out. Encompassed by the raindrops smacking against my window and the sound of the wind roaring against scathing tree branches, I’m warmly greeted with a mellow Chinese melody when I enter the Zoom meeting. My Mandarin teacher always plays music for us so when we enter the call, we can start our class relaxed and composed.

Teachers of Glenbrook North: hear my cries. Music has been a budding peony in my dreary school year. Please spread this delight to all your students, as that extra click of “share computer sound” produces exceptional joy. To brighten these days that are as flat as week-old soda, nothing works better than music. Each tune adds bountiful bubbles of precious fizz to an otherwise boring day.

The routine is relatively straightforward: I sit at my blank desk and stare at a blinding screen all day long. I’ve tried those blue-light blocking glasses, and I’ve tried attending class in bed. At first, it seemed as though nothing could make me feel comfortable during E-Learning.

As it turns out, my cure is music. During this pandemic, we students can’t be appeased by watching a video or scrolling through a media feed, because we’re constantly looking at screens. But, add in a dash of song — a hint of rhythm and we’re eager to take on the rest of the day. There’s something about music that gives me peace of mind and allows me to tiptoe away from the cacophony raging outside my window.

There’s also something about my teacher playing music for us every class, without fail. It’s as if she’s telling me, “Hey, I care about you. We’ll get through this together.” A song before we start takes away many of the borders that come with E-Learning. I look inside those little Zoom boxes and see my peers bobbing their heads along to the beat, just as I am. Together, we’re enjoying a song, and it’s as simple as that. We’re marching to the beat of our collective drum.

Teachers: listening to music at the beginning of class is essential to being fully prepared for the oncoming tide of class. While playing music does take a bit of class time, nourishing our minds and giving ourselves time to breathe have great benefits. My mind is never clear, and I’m constantly worried about events like the WiFi crashing during a lecture. Our minds are persistently shrouded by streams of Google Classroom posts and Zoom calls, and there’s only so much we can take.

My creaky chair squeaks once again. But this time, it’s part of a symphony of jubilation flowing from my laptop speakers. I look up. My Chinese teacher is the maestro. In her little box, she smiles at all her students and waves her excited hands at no one in particular. I wave back. Teachers: please play music to brighten up our days and endorse interconnectedness. Take notes.