Turning a bad situation into good

By Brittany Thomas, Carter G Woodson School

The trumpet player I work with at Wiley Middle School walked into class on Wednesday with tears filling his eyes. This student is one that I believe is being bullied and is just not respected as a person. I have been working to make sure I can help him find confidence and escape from that world through playing trumpet.

He walked in class crying. The teacher seemed to not even acknowledge he was crying or that something could possibly be wrong. I immediately asked to work with him one-on-one to continue with our private lessons to prepare for all-county auditions.

Once we got into the room I asked him if there was anything wrong and whether he would like to talk about it or allow me to go get him a tissue. He said he would like to talk about it because he was too upset to play right away so I listened. He began to tell me that he normally takes his trumpet to gym class with him but this time something happened. In the middle of gym class someone decided to take his trumpet from the locker room and hide it in a bathroom. He searched for it everywhere until someone was kind enough to bring it to him and ask if it was his. He was in tears the whole time he told this story. I started off by telling him that I am very sorry he had to experience this and I understand why he is upset. I also asked if this was the first time people have taken his stuff. He told me that it was the first time they took his trumpet but not the first time people had taken other stuff he has, like his pencils.

After I listened and he got it all out and was able to calm down a little we worked together to come up with a plan to prevent this from happening again. Instead of him taking his trumpet with him to classes we decided to speak to the band teacher and made a plan it to drop it off in the band room in the morning and take it with him at the end of the day. Also, we put a pencil in his trumpet case so that he knows he always has a pencil safe in his case.

I knew he needed to come up with a plan to prevent this from happening on his own so I helped guide him in coming up with it. I let him know that sometimes people are just not very kind and that I understand why this would hurt his feelings and that we can use the rest of our lesson time to just enjoy making music and shake off the worries and sadness that he experienced before the class started.

By the end of the class he was able to complete his entire scale sheet and make it through part of his solo. He was smiling and giving me high-fives for the progress he continues to show on the instrument. I am so glad that even for a little while he was able to use art to shake off the struggles of people who are unkind to him at school.

October 14, 2017