Oct 30, 2013

Why I Still Love to Teach

To be honest, the start of this school was very busy.  I won the lotto and it was my turn this year to be full-blown evaluated based on the Danielson Framework.  PLC meetings were now twice per week, including required professional development and faculty meetings every two weeks.  With only two plans, my time is already scarce.  Then there is student data to analyze, "I Can" statements to make, students to RTI, blah-blah- blah.  The list goes on.  And, I do not claim to be any busier than any other teacher.  But, here's the deal.  I STILL LOVE TEACHING!

You read it correctly.  I love teaching regardless of how hard it is or the amount of work it takes.

Teachers all over the country, my colleagues and teacher friends will attest that teaching is harder than ever for a variety of reasons.  But, I continue to find it incredibly gratifying.

Here's why:

Teaching is challenging.  I am challenged to improve because of my own expectations and because of the Danielson Framework.  I have heard lots of complaints from other teachers and I may have even uttered one or two occasionally.  But, the bottom line is that it has helped me focus on improving aspects of my teaching.  I am challenged to be at the top of my game every single day.  It is the equivalent of a corporate executive giving multiple presentations 5 days a week.  I am challenged in that my students can only perform what I have taught them.  If I did not do a good job teaching something, it is my fault.  I am challenged to manage my time even more effectively to meet deadlines and my own goals and expectations.  And you know what?  I like to be challenged.

Hard work pays off.  There are no short-cuts to putting in the time.  Each year, I find things that I can improve like parts of the curriculum I can tweak, how to teach a concept better and other things that will help my students improve.  I use data from student assessments to continually check for student mastery.  None of this comes without putting in the work, to reap the benefits.  Nothing beats the feeling after having a great rehearsal or when a struggling student finally masters that scale test.  As music teachers, we are unique in that our final product is put on public display at every performance.  Set personal goals for where you want to be as a teacher and set goals for your music program.

Meeting challenges and working hard leads to . . .

Teaching is fun.  When you are good at something, it is fun.  Ask your students why they play soccer or why they are in band and they will most likely tell you "it's fun".  I do not play golf because I am terrible at it. Therefore, it is not fun for me to play.  We ask our students to practice so that they can play the music competently and positively contribute to the whole band.  This is when the enjoyment happens.  This is when the music becomes "fun" to play.   When I have personally put in the work, teaching is fun.  Fun also comes from interacting with my students each and every day.  I love the things that middle schoolers say and do.

and, finally . . .

I still believe that I am making a difference.  This may be hard to prove.  But, when I see my students improving and succeeding, I know music is a positive influence to their development and character.

photo credit: Krissy.Venosdale via photopin cc

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