My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.

May 15, 2012

Second Violin

Slice of Life Tuesdays hosted by Two Writing Teachers
If you asked my family and friends to describe my personality, they would tell you that I L-O-V-E to talk.  My grandmother even bought me a shirt when I was a teen that labeled me "The Babbler."  I love to generate ideas, get people excited, and I tend to think "outside the box."

At school, do I see myself as a leader?  Nope.  I see myself as a solid second violin.

Classical music composers tend to write thousands of showy, shiny, high-pitched notes for the first violins.  They carry most of the melodies.  In contrast, the second violins have hundreds of solid, smooth, middle-range notes that support the first violins.  The first violins (in my opinion) need the anchor of the second violins to help their melodies sound better.

In teaching (and in the real world), I work best as a second violin.  I don't worry about being the first to try a new strategy.  I'm not great at leading everyone to the next best thing.  I'm much better at supporting everyone around me, helping them to be their best.  I ask questions that help others make decisions.  I nod, smile and think of more questions to guide them to success.

Sometimes I wish I was the rock-star teacher, but I think those shoes are too big for me right now.  I'm happy standing in the wings cheering on my friends, wiping their tears when they get overwhelmed, and always being here to listen.

Harmony can be more powerful than melody.


  1. You way way underestimate are right on however when you say you are a great support to and for people and that in my opinion is harder that being the "first" at things...we all need people like you...thanks for being there for me!!

  2. I used to play in a band and can relate to what you are saying - and what I know about the teachers at my school who might call themselves "second violins" is that the first chairs couldn't do what they do without the seconds.

  3. No matter which "chair" we do need each other to make that beautiful music. You have made me think about our roles together in a new way and value our different roles.

  4. So reflective and thoughtful! I agree that we need both first and second violins to make music that moves us. And guess what? You are that rockstar teacher - just ask the kids! You do an awesome job cheering us all on and listening when we need you!

  5. Powerful post Chris. I think you are so right. It takes all the instruments in the orchestra to make a beautiful symphony. It is ok to be a rocks tar and it is ok to play a supporting role. We couldn't have one without the other.

  6. We are each important and necessary to one another. I love how you related your teaching to your music. Sometimes we are first chair and other times we're second, but we are all important to make the music flow.

  7. Wow, I love the comparison to the violin chair. I didn't realize that and learned something new today. The line about helping to wipe a tear is an important job!!! love nanc xo