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Shut Up and Teach!

Shut Up and Teach!

Joel |

I get so tired of hearing teachers complaining about No Child Left Behind. I get so tired of hearing teachers complain about administration. I get so tired of hearing teachers complain about parents.

Shut up and teach!

It’s a simple concept, but some teachers seem to derive greater joy from feeling victimized than they do from feeling victorious. After all, it’s much simpler to complain than it is to create solutions. I am convinced that if I took the skills that I use in teaching beginning band, that my students would excel.

I want to share a few things that really seem to help my students learn the material well. Keep in mind that as they enter 6th grade, many of them essentially know nothing about music or playing an instrument. Our district has music class one day a week for 45 minutes from the time they are in kindergarten until they finish 5th grade. Talk about a retention nightmare! So they get to us as fresh beginners. What do we do?

Begin with the end in mind

Stephen Covey would be proud. This is habit 2. You are in this thing to bring the students a taste of success. There is a fine line between teaching to the test and teaching for success. As much as we deride competition in many educational circles, most of the students I have met see competition in a positive light. Success that is philosophical is not as important to kids as success that is tangible. For that reason, and since there is a test at the end of the year, it is important to teach the students those skills that are necessary for passing the test at the end of the year.

Lay a foundation of success

If there is no foundation, a building will have major problems throughout its life. Similarly, a successful school year must begin with a solid classroom management foundation. Additionally, you need to establish a solid knowledge foundation. This may be difficult because of varied backgrounds for the students, but success is vital on starting where you are, establishing some common grounds, and building from there.

The tortoise beats the hare

This is no race. Your goal is to win the race (ie. have a higher percentage of students passing the test than the other teachers). Do not rush through fundamentals. Just as I don’t try to get my trumpet players to play too high too fast, you don’t need to rush progress. Having the goal before you, take one day at a time. Realize that progress happens much faster in the second semester than it does in the first semester. Slow and steady wins. Every time.

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