Last week's #MusEdChat on Twitter focused on what makes a music teacher successful. We discovered the answer is varied depending on the perspective of parents, students, administrators, and ourselves. I always love these chats and I can't wait for the next one. They always make me think a little deeper. It's not talk about philosophy instead of just pedagogy. Honestly, I think more deeply about pedagogy most of the time.
Anyway, we tweeted about all these different groups. We talked of how sometimes parents just want it to be fun for their kids. I spoke about the idea of teaching parents during the school concert. An Informance instead of a Performance if you will. Teachers all view their own success very differently, some more noble than others. I wish I was more noble actually...and then bringing up administrators always starts an uproar.
The most important group for me is the students. Sure, I want to myself and my peers to view me as successful. I want the administrators and parents to respect what I do. However, if they students don't see me as successful, what kind of leader or teacher am I? I'm not a clown to entertain them, but I am there to be a counselor, their musicality leader, an explorer, a knowledge giver as well as seeker, and many other things.
Since I let me former students find me on Facebook, I put up a post asking what makes a successful teacher? I was impressed that a few took the time to tell me. Even more impressed that one(who is a history ed major now) sent me a paper he wrote for class. So here are some response excerpts below. What do your kids think?
"I feel a music teacher should be judged on his musicianship and how he uses it to improve his students' musicianship. The teachers who go out of their way and use their time to help a student in need or a student who just wants to be the best is always a teacher I would choose. Also I feel that teacher should push his students to their greatest potential and not give up on any student because he, the teacher, doesn't feel the student has the capablilties to improve or expand. Lastly and most importantly: I feel a music teacher should have a great love for all musics and children or teens (whatever age group) he is working with and should accept any student, no matter their skill level, who comes to him with an intrest in music and accept that student with open arms."
"Have fun and being able to connect with the students and just lay back and have a blast playing!"
"Discipline is extremely important because you also earn respect from your students. And strong leadership skills will tell students that you are the one in charge-not them."
"I think its a combination of two things, character and wisdom. Students won't respect a teacher unless they see something there to respect, if you know your stuff and your able to portray that knowledge in an interesting way I think you've got it made. I know that if I have a professor that is more knowedgeable about music than I could ever hope to be and that professor can show that through his conducting, his assistance with different instruments, personal accounts, and on a one on one basis that is the best teacher I can get. And I would hope that, at least on a collegiate level, that respect would counter the need for discipline."
"talking and getting to know your students. that way you know and understand what drives them to work hard and improve."
"...seemingly in constant motion with one thing or another going. ..Very early on in my education, I was inspired by my teachers. I admired their work ethic and their ability to make me enjoy learning. That was quite an accomplishment with my case, for I was not too interested in learning at that time. "
I hope those first couple of classes of mine, the grads of 08-10 continue to think as well as post goofy videos on FB. :)