Hello to all my favorite band warriors out there! I was sitting around this weekend watching all of the “back to school” posts from my former colleagues in education and I began reminiscing about my time in the classroom. You are probably about to go to all sorts of professional development “institute” days that will most likely be developed by admin from central office that went to an exciting new admin conference and learned at least 5 new icebreakers that will get you up and moving! YAY!
But after that you will be hog-tied and thrown unceremoniously in front of a pack of wild children and left for the wolves! So here are a few things to keep in mind as you fight that urge to hide under the covers every morning before work.
1. You will literally be one of the only consistent “things” in some child’s day.
a. The first gig I had was in a rough school with rough kids. Some of these students brought weapons to school because they were afraid to walk home or of what situation they might be walking into when they get there. You will become an icon of stability for them. When you wake up in the morning and feel like calling in sick, remember that some of those kids get up every day just to see you!
2. Consistency is key both for them and you.
a. Classroom management is one of the most crucial aspects of being a teacher. There are a lot of techniques out there to help teachers understand how to control large groups of kids, but the best weapon is consistency. They need it from you, and you want it from them. If you say you are going to do something, do it!
3. A snack and a moment of your time go an awful long way.
a. One of the only memories I have left from elementary school was from 4th grade. My teacher saw I was not happy about something when we were dismissed for P.E. and held me back. She tried for a minute to get me to tell her what was wrong to no avail, so she instead offered me an apple and told me stories about her younger years when she used to drive a truck around the states. That simple human interaction made me respect that teacher more than she could ever know.
4. Don’t be their friend…but you can still be “friendly”
a. You will often hear “don’t smile until after Christmas!” Being stern and managing the class doesn’t mean you can’t also make the class a kind and caring environment. Most times the kids that push your buttons the most, need a smile way more than the discipline it seems like they are asking you for.
5. Caring is Sharing!
a. We want to share music with our students because we are passionate about what we do. Students want to feel appreciated and important. If you can get your students to feel loved and cared for then teaching them to care about music passionately will be easy!
As you return to the trenches this year, try to remember what got you into teaching in the first place…you know, other than the million-dollar salary and summers “off”. You never know, you may just find yourself looking forward to daily battle!
Tyler Arcari draws on his experience as a middle and high school director to craft music that is both sophisticated and geared towards student performance. His music is fun, fresh, and dynamic! He is currently the Instrumental Music Editor for Excelcia Music Publishing. Tyler has also taught at both the middle school and high school levels. As a high school director, Mr. Arcari’s bands consistently received superior ratings at contests and festivals. As a commissioned composer, Tyler writes marching band shows and original works for various types of ensembles. His music is featured on multiple state lists as well as Bandworld Magazine’s Top 100.