Double post day! After I had scheduled my post for today, I had a very enlightening and empowering walk (aka philosophical talk) with one of my mentors around the school grounds. He asked me how I try to teach students who may not be at the same level but are in the same ensemble. I shared that at a previous placement I had experienced this and the results had parents coming up to me thanking me for my help. He then asked what I did and all I could respond with is I tried to allow the students to know that I cared about them. I wasn’t somebody showing up cashing in on my degree and just taught because that was all I knew or felt I could do. I tried to challenge those who were advanced and then given the same concept at a lower level. I think that overall it was very successful; look here to see for yourself:
This got a very unexpected response from him; ‘That is a wonderful way to approach teaching. If you stick with that and hold true, I believe that your program will go far.’ This was/is something that gave me energy for the day. My view on how students should be taught and interacted with aligns with a very successful teacher’s views. We went on to discuss how in the program I inherit it may not be successful, or it may not be stable due to recent issues. He said if I approach and let the students know ‘we can go places, this year, next year; it won’t matter I am a very patient man.’ He went on to say how things have constantly been changing in Arizona and how AMEA and ABODA look at the younger directors. He thinks that my generation of directors are about to take over and he is ok with that. While he misses how things were, He knows that if it was not for his other 2 team teachers he would have retired long before this current year. He is not envious of what I am about to step into. There are more competitions, more ensembles to run, more standards and yet I still have to create wonderful music.
We then went on to talk about how I need to not be afraid to ask for help, there are more people out in the field who are more than willing to help and give guidance even a veteran teacher needs to remember that they can receive help. It helped me shape what I believe in for my teaching:
Excellence through performance, character, and integrity.
This with the underlying student guided learning I think will help me go far. I believe that I am able to give a new take on traditional ensembles with a true student driven ideas. Of course that all may change in a year or so, however I feel its a good place to start.