A few notes from my short-hand, scribbled quickly in my teacher journal, during the quiet after a class leaves Band and before another class comes in:
“Smile, for music is about appreciation, and expression.”
I am learning to teach passionately without taking it personally. Some days I find that I bring home more stress than pleasure, unnecessarily, because I had forgotten how to appreciate the chaos in the learning process.
“Take a deep breath and make the call.”
Sometimes students confront me about the way I do things and how it is different from the previous teacher. It used to make me feel a jealousy? or a feeling of embarrassment from being confronted. I’ve stayed calm, honest, and open in my communication with them. I have been firm when I’ve had to, deciding to take feedback and make decisions. A month in, my students look to me as their ‘teacher’ now, after all the testing of my boundaries… It just took lots of patience and consistency to build rapport with the students.
“Positivity trumps all. Fear cripples optimism for no good reason, and limits potential!”
With each class, I feel more confident. I have searched for support and mentorship and gotten wonderful feedback and advice. It is a cozy, close-knit school district I work for. For that, I am lucky and grateful. I have made the best judgement calls I could, repeated mantras to myself to get through the challenging days when more than one instrument needs repairs…, learned more about all the instruments than I ever thought I would, and now we are in the final 6 weeks before instruments are returned!
“…desire to be present for my Ss but balance responsibility/stress”
It was quite a challenge to be present 100% of my teaching time because I was somewhat overwhelmed with the constant to-do list running in my head. It is a lot to learn the names much less become familiar with all the students’ musical skills. That stress made me feel like I couldn’t possibly contribute more than I am, yet for some reason I wasn’t serving my students to the best of my ability. I think this speaks strongly to the importance of professional development and connection with experienced teachers. I look forward to more pro-D because after yesterday’s workshop and conversation with seasoned teachers, I felt more mentally engaged and confident because I felt the support network backing me. I look forward to the rest of the school year!