Soft Eyes

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 12 2011

Teacher Beats

The bus ride to the school where I teach is about 20-25 minutes long, and that is some precious listening-to-music time. Anyone who knows me can attest to how terribly picky I am about music, especially when traveling. Most people use the bus ride to sleep or bs with one another, but I NEED that time with my headphones on to get centered for the day, or I am much less enthused about the Teaching I need to do For America that day. So here, in no particular order, are some of the songs that have been helping me cling grudgingly on to my sanity for the past several weeks:

1. Janelle Monae- Cold War: Because teaching is kind of like being an android revolutionary.

2.The Beatles- Getting Better: From the “fake it til you make it” files. If I listen to this song enough I can almost convince myself that my teaching is, in fact, getting better all the time.

3. Jill Scott- Golden: Despite the 5am wake up calls and the, shall we say, disheartening lunches, being here is what I want to do. I am living my life like it’s golden, thankyouverymuch.

4.Sufjan Stevens- Chicago: This isn’t the first major life event this song has gotten me through, and I daresay it won’t be the last. I think this song is the “Don’t Stop Believin’” of our generation, and I look forward to its saccharine Glee cover.

5. Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues“I was raised up believin’ I was somehow unique/ like a snowflake, distinct among snowflakes unique in each way you can see/ And now after some thinkin’ I’d say I’d rather be/ a functioning cog in some great machinery servin’ something beyond me. /But I don’t, I don’t know what that will be. /I’ll get back to you someday/ Soon you will see.” This IS the first major life event this song has gotten me through, but I can tell you it won’t be the last (Montezuma also gets played a whole lot)

6.The Roots- The Fire: While I knew that this song will totally pump me up no matter how down I might be feeling, I did not know until I looked up the video just now what a baller music video it has. Whoa.

7.Nickel Creek- When In Rome: “Where can a teacher go?/ Wherever she thinks people need the things she knows.”

8. Stevie Wonder- Higher Ground: Not only will this song prompt me to shake my booty wherever I happen to be, its zen message reminds me to stop trippin’ about whether my lesson plan is getting rated BP- or BP+. (BONUS: There are some really amusing Youtube comments for this video).

9. Goldfish- This Is How It Goes: This is great chillin’ on the road music, and when I played it for my kids last week during their independent work time they LOVED it. Their taste consistently surprises me.

10. Florence and the Machine- Dog Days Are Over: Why no, I’m NOT sick of this overplayed song. If this song doesn’t make you feel generally okay about life you should probably make an appointment with your health care specialist. Because I’m concerned about you.

11. Alabama 3- Let’s Go Back to Church: Pay no attention to the footage of Vietnamese markets; this song is Delta as all get out.

12.The Decemberists- This Is Why We Fight: This is my favorite Decemberists’ album to date (don’t hate) and this is one of my favorite tracks. If you were playing close attention to this list you might notice a theme of youthful idealism for the slightly less youthful listener. I never said I was deep.

13. Utada Hikaru- Simple and Clean (remix): “Regardless of warning/ the future doesn’t scare me at all.” SUGOI!! ^_^ Whatever, I’m not too proud.

14. Sarah Jarosz- My Muse: I downloaded this album on an impulse because it was a dollar on Amazon, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made since arriving at institute (along with the purchase of a $9 electric tea kettle). It’s completely gorgeous beginning to end and I can play on repeat for hours, but this song just sort of slipped inside my heart and has stayed their for weeks.

15. Daft Punk- Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: That’s what I’m here to become, right? “Our work is never over.”

Only four days left! My kids have their reading tomorrow and I couldn’t be more stoked. I can’t wait to see them all dressed up and showing off their work!

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