10 Tips for Young Music Teachers
As a young educator, music teachers may be slightly nervous to start each new school year. With curriculums to update, a classroom culture to establish and a large number of students to get to know, it’s certainly easy for young teachers to become overwhelmed before the school year even starts. Don’t be nervous – there are a vast amount of tips that can help ease the transition into the school year. Below, we’ll highlight 10 of the best tips for young music teachers.
Set Ground Rules Early
Be sure to set classroom ground rules and policies early with your students, even if they are minimal. Setting ground rules early is important because it establishes the foundation for the rest of the year. Remember, it’s much easier to set strict ground rules early and loosen them up as the year goes on than the other way around.
Speak with Other Teachers
One of the best things that young teachers can do is to speak with other teachers in the summer prior to the start of school. Veteran teachers have been either in the district or the profession (or both) for awhile so they will have a lot of valuable insight as to what young teachers can expect. Also, young teachers would be smart to build a network of teachers that they can turn to for advice. These networks can consist of local teachers or those that are in the same higher education program.
Find a Reliable Instrument Dealer
As a music teacher, you’ll need to be able to provide students with reliable and affordable instruments, so it will be important to find a reliable instrument dealer in the area. Young teachers will want to establish a relationship with an instrument dealer far before the school year starts. To help with this feel free to ask local music teachers for ideas, but don’t be afraid to do some exploring yourself.
Plan Your Curriculum
The first year of teaching is full of both unexpected and rewarding situations, so young teachers will want to be sure that they fully plan their curriculum prior to the start of the year. Granted, feel free to plan for some changes throughout the year, but the teachers that plan out their curriculum will certainly be glad that they did.
Get to Know Your Students
Being a young teacher, students may start the year out being shy and reserved. There is no better way for music teachers to get to know their students than to ask them about their favorite songs or artists. Also, feel free to provide students with the option to choose what kind of music they would like to perform.
Use a Seating Chart (At Least at First!)
While some teachers may not be interested in the idea of having a seating chart, they are extremely helpful for learning students’ names. Seating charts are also great for gaining insight to classroom dynamics, as well as helping students interact with new people.
Young teachers will be trying a variety of different teaching styles and activities, so it’ll be essential for teachers to document their efforts so they can know what works and what doesn’t. Feel free to think of this documenting process as a personal teaching journal. When documenting, be sure to clearly note why something does or doesn’t work, as well as ideas on how you would do things different in the future.
Pre-Establish a Protocol for Reluctant Learners
In the perfect classroom, every student is excited to learn and happy to participate in any and all classroom activities. While this may often be the case, in reality, there will days where students are more reluctant to learn and participate in activities. To assist with these difficult times, young teachers will want to have pre-established protocols for encouraging reluctant learners. Ideas may include incorporating songs into the curriculum that reluctant learners like or even simply providing these students with special tasks.
Meet with Student Leaders
Another great way to start the new school year is to meet with the student leaders of the upcoming class. This meeting can be either formal or informal, but either way the goal is to establish a positive relationship with the student body. Feel free to share ideas with the student leaders, or even brainstorm fun classroom activities.
It’s not uncommon for young teachers to be so anxious for the school year that they forget one of their greatest assets: technology. Whether its evaluating instrument dealers or streaming music on YouTube, technology provides young music teachers with a number of helpful resources for implementing a fun and educational curriculum.
As a music educator, you know firsthand how important it is for students and teachers to build strong relationships. You also know how important it is for teachers to develop a network of peers to share ideas and seek advice. With Kent State’s online Master of Music in music education program, music educators can work with esteemed faculty to help build these relationships, develop a progressive curriculum, further your craft and expand career opportunities. Interested? Find out more today!