South Page High | My Teaching Years

Do you ever look back on your life and marvel at how fast it has gone and how much has changed?  Do you look back in fondness or yearning?   I stumbled upon one of my old scrapbooks tonight and holy flood of memories.

Did You Know? 

Once upon a time I was a teacher for a very small community in Iowa.

Once upon a time my life revolved around music, instruments, chord structure, choreography, 60+ hour “work” weeks and lots of amazing, smart and talented kids.

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For two years I served as the Director of Bands and the 5-12th Grade Vocal Music Teacher for South Page High School located in rural College Springs, Iowa.

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In addition, for three years I served as the Coach for both the Cheerleading and Dance teams.   I started Coaching in 2003, when I was still in College full-time finishing my music degree.

I loved those girls and those teams.

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Those two years of teaching and coaching were some of the best years of my life and also some of the most challenging.  I learned so much about myself as a leader, as a colleague, as a mentor, as a spouse and as a person.

I have nothing but fond memories when I look back.

I was 23 when I started at South Page.  Young, naive, impressionable, fresh and ready to devote all my time to these kids.

They were my everything for 3 solid joy filled years.

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I loved my classroom at the end of the building.  I loved having that back door open, bringing in the freshness of the outdoors any chance I could.   I loved that my room connected to the gym, the stage and my own back storage room full of music from years and years before my arrival.

These students brought so much LIFE to those years.

Homecoming and their accompanying themes were always a hit, case in point by all the costumes.  Nearly every kid took pride in participating.

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I really appreciated how small the classes were at SP.   Total enrollment at South Page ranged between 240-275 during my years there.

Those small classes gave me a chance to make mistakes and not have them seem so big.  It was a chance for us all to learn together.

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I loved the relationships built with fellow teachers and students.  Jodi was my GIRL and also a great mentor to me.  Her teaching best practices were always one step ahead.

I remain in touch with many of the students still to this day.  In fact, I have had a great time sharing photos to many of their FB walls this evening.   Mostly for my pleasure and their dismay.  🙂

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Summer band camp always brought the worst heat and humidity.  Two years of marching band out in the streets in the early mornings with 7-12th grade students was quite the experience.  But, looking back, I actually kind of miss it.  If I could be a part time helper to a small Iowa town marching band, I’d probably due it in a heartbeat.

Note:  When I say part-time, I really mean occasionally.  When I want to.  Like, maybe once a fall.  😉

I had strong leaders in the Marching Band.  From my drum major, Allison, to my drum core led by Lowell and Eric.   I still laugh at the impatience a simple “Left, Right, Left” could bring to a person after days on end of 6:45am street marching practices.

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The Cheerleading Squads grew strong over the three years.  We lost a few as they graduated and gained more as the ages moved up.

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They agreed to my crazy 6:30am practices and in return we saw their stunts grow larger, their basket tosses flew higher, and their confidence and skill set grew by leaps and bounds.

Their relationships and sense of team pride was some of the strongest I had ever seen.  For the size of district we were, we had a reputation.  A reputation of powerful young women who proved Cheerleaders were tough.   All you had to do was look at their stunts.

Shining stars, I tell ya.

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Three years of Homecomings, Pep Rally’s, Proms, Concerts and Movie Nights.  My schedule was never dull.   I lived for it!

South Page was full of spirit and pride.

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The Dance Team was a step out of my comfort zone.   I won’t ever consider myself a dancer.  I do well with choreography, but free style?

Leave me out of it.  

I took this challenge on with full force and am so thankful the girls went along with me and my crazy ideas.

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↑The First Ever South Page Dance Team↑

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Just like the Cheer Squad, the Dance team evolved over the years as well.   What a joy it was to see the variety of girls gain confidence during the audition process and throughout the seasons.

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From my young 5th grade kiddos to my Seniors, each one of these kids has a special place in my heart.

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I learned a lot about being a leader from many of these students.  Some were wise and mature beyond their years.

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Even when they couldn’t manage to be serious.

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Game Nights were some of my favorite!  Between keeping up with the game, cueing the pep band at the right time, executing the Start Spangled Banner with respect, carefully monitoring the cheerleaders during stunts and running the sound for the dancers, I was never sitting still.

But, it was really those leaders I spoke of before that really pulled it off.  I was just the talking head and moving hands. 🙂

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PROM was one of my last big events before my time at South Page came to an end.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group of Juniors to work with.   From decorating the gym for photos, to decorating the buses for our trip to Brownville, NE  and the time spent organizing the details for the 4 hour riverboat ride (while trusting I wouldn’t have to dive in after any pranksters), I gained respect for many of those kids.   Of course, there were some who pushed the limits, but who didn’t at that age?   Hey, all I cared about was making it back to the High School before After-Prom when they would no longer be my duty.  😉

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The last concert I would ever have at South Page was incredibly bittersweet.   Our concerts always took place a few days after Prom so our stage was always decorated to the nines.   It added a level of magic to the whole event.  Especially for my last one.   We had a great set for both the band and choir.  I even had the drum line do one last show to put their skills on display.  They had grown so much that year and I was so incredibly proud.

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I broke it to my students early May of 2006 that it would be my last month with them.  Leaving South Page was a very hard decision for me to make, but absolutely the right one.  I mentioned earlier that those years at SP were some of the best, but also some of the most challenging.   My personal life had taken a turn, I had learned more of who I was and what I wanted in life, the direction of South Page was moving opposite of what I could handle and a move to the city was the right thing for me to do.

And so the decision was made.

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My kiddos made my last days some of the absolute BEST.  Between the signs, cards, presents and hugs, I never felt more loved and appreciated.

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My years at South Page are very special to me.   I look back now and have nothing but warm, fond feelings for the time spent there.

To the students of South Page High,

  Thanks for being some of the best students I could have ever had and for teaching me more about myself then you could ever imagine.

                                                                                                                          Cheers,

                                                                                                                                     Jordan

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