Thoughts on retaining students
September 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm #28409
This is my second year in a HS band position. I started out the year with numbers in the mid 70s, but students are dropping band daily (1 or 2 each day). One student quit because they didn’t want to march or play in pep band. Others are kids that have been showing up to lessons, but don’t practice. I purposely picked music that is more contemporary this year for pep band shared the music we would be playing this year. Parents are willing to let kids drop and the kids sit in studyhall. My guidance counselors (even though I share with them that students could benefit from playing in band rather than SH) are not encouraging kids to stay with me. I explained to kids that first day that they don’t have to be auditioning for the NY Philharmonic after they leave me, but they should have proper technique, listen in rehearsal, be able to play the music presented. After a few days of school I feel bummed to lose kids, but I know if they aren’t doing the work, they won’t help in the long run anyway. I expect the kids to come to lessons (prepared to play), come to concerts and parades. These students have had several teachers (none of the teachers in the district have taught in the same band position for more than 3 years) and I know consistency is key. Anyone have suggestions? I know I need to focus on my youngers students (not ingrained with band habits). Please share experiences that it does get better.September 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm #28672
Once a student starts the semester, they must finish the semester. That NEEDS to be the rule and your guidance counselors need to be on the same page as you. Looks like you need to have a good talk with them! Talk to the kids (the ones that are still there) and find out what’s going on. They will know why the ones that are quitting are really quitting. Then go from there…Do you have band trips? I know that isn’t a good reason to retain but it helps me!September 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm #28784
I agree with orndorffm that once you start a class the councelors/administration should make the kids complete the semester.
You don’t have that situation at this current time so I would say. Let them go. They are just going to cause problems in your class if you make them stay and as you pointed out build from the bottom. Make what students you have left as good as possible so the younger kids are excited to join and work form there.
I had the same problem my second year teaching high school and followed the above advice that was given to me by a colleague. by the time I moved two years later I had doubled the band. I know it is hard, but it will get better if you stick to it.
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