A teacher’s epiphany

It started as just a simple minor essay to give to my students — one that seemed like it would be pretty easy and hopefully kind of fun. What I ended up getting was a moment that really made me love my job.

I decided to give them a lyrical essay assignment in which they had to choose their favorite song, analyze the lyrics and then, drawing on the meaning of the lyrics, explain why the song means so much to them. I figured something like this would be somewhat fun for them; generally, any time you can write about something you particularly like, things usually go a little easier.

Obviously, music means many different things to people, and that is the great thing about it. Just one song can harbor so many different meanings. There are many times when I feel as though the music that I am listening to can somehow read my mood and perfectly provide the soundtrack to my life. It is almost as if music can read our soul.

For many of us, the song’s lyrics are far better at giving our feelings justice than we could ever do ourselves. It really makes you wonder about what inspired that artist to craft those lyrics and their rhythm just right so it could have that effect on you. The song I have had the most resonance with lately is “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.

Admittedly, the message is one that I cannot easily describe, but something in the lyrics captivates my mind. If I had to guess, it goes something along the lines of waking up to an epiphany and embracing this newfound radioactive status. I think it is that idea of being radioactive, special but also unstable, that really catches my mind.

This is the crazy part about this whole assignment. I expected it to be a fun paper, but never did I ever have an inkling that it would be so much more for some of my students. I have always had a special relationship with music, as it has done so much for my life, but some of these students really had stories to tell with their songs. It is amazing just how far these songs can affect a person. For some, their songs were truly life changing in ways I thought could only happen in the movies.

What it comes down to is this: As a teacher, it is these kinds of moments that truly make you love your job. It’s times like these that help me realize that the job I am doing is well worth whatever stress and frustrations may come along with it. Just like in any good job, the joys of success and productivity far outweigh the cons. In the case of being a teacher, that success is embodied in the thoughts of living beings that takes the gratification of this job further than we may realize.

In the end, I came away with two things: One is an affirmation of just how important music is to people’s lives, and second is that being a teacher might be a challenging job, but it’s one that is completely and truly worth every minute of it.

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