Shared Wisdom

A recent NAfME Poll of the Month ask members, “As the new school year begins, what one resource, tip or word of encouragement/wisdom would you share with fellow music educators?”

Here are 10 pieces of advice taken from the poll:

  • Tap into as many local resources as possible, and go to conferences sponsored by your MENC State association. We continue to glean knowledge every day, so be aware of what’s out there, and adapt it to yourself!
  • In the crazy business of our schedules, remember that we are often the bright spot in many students’ day.
  • Educate! Incorporate statistics and vital information into presentations to your board of education, administrators, staff, parents and students concerning the value of music and music education in your school and the world. And, keep educating – once is not enough!
  • Use the private music teachers in your area to help your instrumentalists with their particular instrument. Many private teachers will do one session for free in exchange for letting those students know about their availability for private lessons.
  • Don’t forget to collaborate and communicate with the other MUSIC teachers in your area! Even if you are the only music teacher in your district, find another music teacher who shares your philosophy of music education. They can be both a resource and an encouragement.
  • If you’re a new educator, find an experienced educator whom you respect and solicit his/her help in daily teaching matters. Experienced teachers, find a new teacher and become a mentor and friend. This is the greatest thing we can do to help retain our young and enthusiastic educators.
  • Make time for you. Find time to exercise, meditate, get a pedicure, etc. No matter how much you plan your lessons, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be at your best.
  • Music teachers make an unbelievable difference to students. Don’t forget it! Don’t let anyone distract you from it! And don’t ever take it for granted!
  • Take the time to learn something new, whether for yourself or to share with your students.
  • Maintain high expectations with a positive attitude!

Becky Spray, originally posted October 5, 2010, © National Association for Music Education