It amazes me to watch some teachers in action. The band director for the 6th grade bands in the George County School District is one of those teachers. This school year, the sixth grades stayed at the elementary schools instead of going to the Middle School. In order to maintain a 6th grade band program, one of the middle school band directors, Mr. Terry Slayter, agreed to travel to every elementary school in the county every day to teach band. What an undertaking!! But, honestly, the man seems to work miracles.
The 6th grade band, when they all combined for the Lucedale Christmas parade, was about 125 strong. They played and they marched, AT THE SAME TIME!! As one of the parents marching along with them, I heard "Jingle Bells" about 40 times. Mr. Slayter does a GREAT job of motivating those kids. And he does it so gently, and makes it seem so effortless.
After the parade, when the 6th graders came back to the gym at the middle school, Mr. Slayter told them to line up in their parade formation. He then told them how proud he was of them, especially the drummers, who had never carried that much equipment that far. He told them the performance wasn't perfect, but that gave them something to strive for next time. When he told them to go put their horns away and then come back and sit in that same formation, they did it. This was to make handing out pizza easier, but for some reason the pizza wasn't there yet. Over the next 40 minutes, he kept those kids entertained while we waited for pizza. He never seemed stressed or aggrivated (like I would have!). He talked, he listened, he threw candy at them since they didn't get to collect any from the parade. He is such a gentleman. We ended up heading home before the pizza arrived, if it ever did. But the attitude of Mr. Slayter was very positive the whole time.
You can tell that this man loves what he does. Without the beginning foundation our kids get from him, they would never stick it out all the way to the high school band. I am so glad that this man is a part of the lives of so many kids I know. They are better for knowing him.