I’m betting most of you have started school with *actual* students already… my time is coming, as the little darlin’s come waltzing in after labor day in my district. Its right about now that I start reminiscing about my first few years as a brand new music teacher. I was lucky, and had a lot of help from a fabulous mentor teacher. But before I met her at that job, I was ALLLLLLL ALONE in a previous job.
Amazingly, I’m starting out year 20 now!
I’d like to encourage all those who are starting out in the music teaching world to seek out the input of people who can help encourage you and guide you on your way to success. Studies show that teacher retention and effectiveness is best achieved in a positive, mentoring environment.
There are certainly great people whom you already work with in your building (even if not your specialty area), but also, go find those music teachers who are ready and willing to be your mentor! Ask around, and seek out wise council from other trusted music teachers. Many districts, like my own, have well thought-out formal mentoring already in place to support those new people. You can also ask for guidance from outside your district (especially if you are the lone wolf in your district!)… seek out the input of your state music association and NAfME.
Lastly, try to seek out many mentors, as many teachers are good at something (ie: classroom management, room organization, music standards and assessments, moral support! etc…). In my advanced chronological age, I am STILL seeking out the wise council of colleagues that can help me better my own teaching practice. After all, it’s for the good of my students!
NW Rep, NAfME Council for General Music Education