Unbalanced

What has happened to the balance control on most stereos and music playing devices these days?

I still need this feature on occasion and am often frustrated that I cannot find it.

For instance, this morning I wanted to get a stereo to play only the left channel of a track. I have a radio in my class but it doesn’t have a balance control. I usually play music on my computer because I can use Window’s Media Player and adjust the balance on the graphic equalizer of that program.

I have some excellent music teaching resources and many of these programs come with records or CDs that have split tracks on them. These tracks will play normally on any stereo. You can hear the song with both the vocals and the instrumental track. This is a handy feature since you can learn to sing along with the song and then when you are ready to perform it yourself, you can pan the signal all the way to the left and you will only hear the instrumental track. The songs basically then become karaoke versions.

I absolutely love split track recordings. The best thing about them is that once you learn a song in class, you don’t need to find a piano and a player to accompany you. I find that the students really like having music to sing along with. It helps keep them on time and on beat, and it helps them from being shy and singing without any accompaniment.

The problem is that I wanted to have the choir sing a song in this morning’s assembly. I tried to find a stereo with a balance on it and I came up dry. I knew that a few classrooms have laptop computers so I tried to use of those but they all have a different version on Media Player on them and there is no balance control on it. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t have this feature.

I also couldn’t figure out a way to adjust the balance on the computer’s main volume. I think there is probably a way to do that but I ran out of time. So the choir did not perform today. I will make sure that we have the proper gear and equipment so that next time we have an opportunity to perform, we will be able to.

Let me hear from you.

Check your stereo or MP3 player. Does it have a balance control? If not, does it bother you that you don’t have this option? Why do you think this isn’t a standard feature?

2 Comments on Unbalanced

  1. no balance control on my stero, but an equalizer. is that the same?

  2. Hi Natural,

    Nope, it's not the same thing. Thanks for checking and commenting.

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Unbalanced

I want to rant about a few things that I don’t like about my new school. I know that I shouldn’t. Every school is different and there is a period of adjustment that I have to work through. That’s fine.

But what is with this so-called “balanced day schedule” that most schools seem to be adopting these days?

What’s wrong with the traditional lunch hour and two recess breaks?

This is how it works at my school. We have class from 9:00 to 10:40. At 10:40 the junior grades have recess outside for twenty minutes. They then come back into the classroom to have a snack. Class resumes at 11:00 a.m.

This is repeated again at 1:00 with a twenty minute recess and a twenty minute lunch.

The younger kids in the school eat first and then go outside. This way the entire student body isn’t outside at one time. It does make outdoor supervision a little bit easier as there are less kids outside and seemingly less problems.

But I don’t like this system for a few reasons. My kids have to go from eating to working without a break. It seems more natural to eat, then go outside, and then come back to the class ready to learn.

I don’t like that they have to eat inside the classroom and that I also have to eat at my desk. I would like to have some time to go to the staffroom and socialize a bit. But I don’t really get a chance to do that. Twenty minutes goes by quick. And before I know it, I need to be back in the class to supervise them as they eat. I might as well eat at that time too.

This schedule seems unbalanced. I don’t understand the terminology at all. We used to have recess at 10:30 when I was a kid for fifteen minutes. If you brought a snack, fine, but most people didn’t. We ate at 12:00 and then had about forty minutes outside. This also gave us time to do sports or intramurals. The balanced day makes it near impossible to have any sort of organized extra-curricular activity.

We had a recess again at 2:30.

So we actually got outside three times a day. The school day was broken up so that it flowed nicely. I think the old way is more balanced. What do you think?

5 Comments on Unbalanced

  1. I agree with you, Chase. Kids (and grownups) need a break from the work and a real chance to socialize and play. It’s even worse down here — many schools have eliminated recess altogether, and the favored punishment for classroom misbehavior is a collective “silent lunch.”

  2. Hi Ecd,

    My classroom may seem a bit loud at times but noise doesn’t really bother me. Plus I think it is natural for kids to be a bit loud at times.

    A “silent lunch” may be okay every now and then but I agree with you, we all need to socialize and we would never think of having a silent lunch in the staffroom or coffee shop.

  3. Hi Chase,

    Wow! This is a new concept I wasn’t aware of.

    Personally I like the old way better, and I agree, teachers need time away from the classroom, either to socialize with other teachers or to have quiet time to themselves.

    Is this something you can discuss with the staff, or is it “set in stone”?

  4. I am a huge fan of balanced day, though I can see the flaws in yours. When I moved from another board that did the traditional recess-lunch-recess, I thought I would never get used to the balanced day, which I thought was inefficient. I was surprised at how quickly I adjusted and how much better it is for the kids.

    We have 100 minutes of teaching, then a 40 minute break (20 minutes inside eating, 20 minutes outside), another 100 minute block followed by another break (25-25), and the last 100 minute block of the day. The mostly-uninterrupted block of teaching is fantastic, and I find the kids are more alert as they’ve had a nice meal/snack and some time to run around and are ready for each one. If I find they need a break in the middle, we can always do some Daily Physical Activity.

    That said, I do not have to supervise my kids while they eat lunch, unless it is one of my assigned supervision duties through the week. I think that would drive me crazy… teachers do need that time to meet, prepare, socialize and have a break themselves. I also agree that having the kids sit and eat lunch and then immediately switch over to work time is a bit much.

    Perhaps after you’ve been there a year, you can propose a more efficient way of organizing the ‘nutrition breaks’ so that everyone gets what they need out of it.

  5. Hi Barbara,

    One of the other teachers and I addressed this issue and have gotten relief now so that we can actually leave the classroom during one eating period every day.

    It’s a little thing but it makes a big difference.

    Hi Leese,

    I only have 1 block of time that isn’t interupted. I wish I had more blocks of time just in my class. But gym, second language, and computers get in the way.

    And like you mention, there are some pluses to this system. The timing does seem to work. I just need to train myself to eat two smaller lunches now instead of one bigger one.

    Before the other teacher and I sorted things out, we had 13 duties a week. It’s now gone down to 7 so I can live with that much better.

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