Sometimes it feels like I graduated college yesterday and landed my first teaching job. Other days, I feel like I've been at it for so long, that I'm teaching like a robot. Each year, I tell myself that I'm going to incorporate new ideas, new lessons, and more technology. Sometimes I focus so much on changing what already works, that I miss out on quality opportunities with my students. I rush through a PowerPoint or Prezi slideshow so I can get to the "meat" of the lesson, telling my students to save their questions and comments for the end. By the time I get to the end, we are either out of time or they have forgotten their questions!
This year, I told myself that I am going to embrace moments, embrace time. Over the month of August, I've reflected on those aspects of my music room that I've embraced over the past 10 years of teaching that have come to be staples in my music room. I've had the same class questions (rules) since my internship in college! A friend of mine made this poster for me in 2006 when I first started teaching. Thanks to lamination, it has lasted 10 years!
American Idol was such a big hit while I was in college, so I started doing "Idol" with my after school music program. At every school I've taught at since then, I have always used "Idol" as a wrap up at the end of music class. It has now become a great way to manage classroom behavior, as well as motivate students. I keep these letters on the front board and if the class earns it, we have "Davis Idol" at the end of music!
Lastly, the Big Hand Award. I can't take credit for this - I owe it all to my dear friend, Shelley Tomich. She created this masterpiece - and boy do my students love to receive this award!
So what am I doing NEW this year? I'm embracing what works! I'm embracing the moments that I have with my students. I'm recognizing the resources that I have and realizing that I don't have to re-create the wheel every year. I'm taking time to get to know my students, their interest in music, and asking them what THEY want to learn about.
I've recently discovered Teachers Pay Teachers - and what a fabulous resource! The wheel has already been created! Between that and Pinterest, it's just a matter of taking a few minutes to search what I'm looking for. It's out there - and I will find it, without starting from scratch and creating it all myself. It's ok to borrow from others if it allows me to save time to do other worthwhile musical things with my students. Here's to a great NEW school year! L'chaim!