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Stuck in the Middle: Self-Regulating One Beat at a Time

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Stuck in the Middle: Self-Regulating One Beat at a Time
by Kal Russell - Monday, 30 October 2017, 10:18 AM

Stuck in the Middle:  Self-Regulating One Beat at a Time

Last week we had two new portables arrive at North Saanich.  We need these two additional classroom spaces because we have an extra division this year.  As many of you know, class sizes are smaller than in the recent past, due to the court ruling on class size and composition.  We were one of the few schools to get extra funding for portables.  Many other schools, around the district and province, are just using different spaces in their schools like the art room or the computer lab to house their new classes.

At NSMS, Div. 10 has been using the band room as their classroom while we have been waiting for their new portable home.  In the meantime, Mrs. Pires’ class and our band students have done a great job sharing this space.  The band students set up the class for Div. 10 each morning and at the end of the day Div. 10 takes the classroom down and sets up the room for the morning band class.  It is amazing how quickly they can set up or take down the room and their efforts in this regard are greatly appreciated.  Div. 10 can have their tables and other furniture put away and the chairs and drums set up for the band in less than 5 minutes.  

This is even more impressive considering the fact that after folding up their tables they have to move the percussion instruments and chairs into place.  When I was their age I am positive that I would have been tempted to bang on the drums while moving them in place for the band.  Today in education, we teach kids how to self-regulate and we often do not give our students enough credit for their ability to control their impulses.  

Recently, I went into the band room to update Mrs. Pires on the progress of the portables.  Two of her students were standing in the room politely waiting for me to finish talking.  When I finished speaking with Mrs. Pires she turned the other way as I started to leave the room.  I impulsively tapped the large bass drum that was sitting in the back of the class as I walked by the two boys. As I was leaving the room I saw Mrs. Pires turn around and say to the boys, “Hey guys.  We have gone all year without anyone banging on the drums, so why are we starting to do that today?”  It was not so much a question as an expectation.  

Hearing this I turned and apologized, “Sorry Mrs. Pires, that was me.”  I then quickly left the room with a sheepish grin on my face.   What I should have told Mrs. Pires and her students is that I lost my self-control because deep down “I don’t want to work, I want to Bang on the Drum all day.”   Of course, I didn’t quote the classic Todd Rundgren song, but I wanted too.

Our teachers are always helping our middle schoolers self-regulate.  We teach students that self-regulation is a skill they can acquire with practice and patience both by the students and the adults working with them.  Mrs. Pires has done a great job teaching her class to keep their hands off the instruments while they’re sharing the band room.  

At North Saanich Middle School, students and staff are both learning to self-regulate their behaviour so that they can be respectful and focused learners.  So if you attend North Saanich and you can’t control your urge to bang on the drum then you can always join the band, or if you're a little crazy, you can eventually become the Principal.

Go Hawks!  And thank you Div. 10 for being so patient, while you wait for your room.

Todd Rundgren - ‘Bang on the Drum All Day’

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