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6 Ways First Year Music Teachers Can Avoid Problems

Posted by on in Ideas in Music Education
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If you are a first year music teacher or starting out as the new music teacher in a new school, there are countless pitfalls and traps you can easily avoid. Here are six ways our experts feel you can easily avoid some problems in your music class.

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1) Make Your Room Beautiful (Tracy King, Music Teacher):

Like it or not, every student and every teacher and every parent will be judging the new music teacher. They'll be drawing their own conclusions based on the looks of your classroom. So even if you are brand new to the music education game, don't come empty handed. Consider making a few inexpensive purchases to buy posters or go browsing at a local thrift store for some music-themed decorations. Make it warm and inviting. This should be a safe space for your students.

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2) Dress Appropriately (Espie Estrella, Music Education Expert):

We may be tempted to dress casually (to connect with the students) or we may be tempted to dress like "cool musicians" but remember that we are teachers first. Dress appropriately for school as a teaching professional and use some sort of accessory or flare to accent the fact that you're the cool music teacher. Make a good first impression by being in command of your appearance.

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3) Play the "rookie card" often (Stacy Hurst, Curriculum Specialist): 

Give yourself some slack and create some wiggle room to learn the new position and your new surroundings. Don't be bashful or shamed to say that you're a rookie or your new to the school. We have ALL been there. Teachers, parents and students will consciously or even subconsciously give you a few "get out of jail free cards". But be cautious not to overuse them. There will be an appropriate time and place.

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4) Use ideas and resources of others (Mrs. Miracle's Music Room):

There's no need to build every piece of learning content from scratch. There are many free resources available on this website and others that you can begin using in your classroom today. Check out Teachers Pay Teachers for no-prep music activities you can download and use in a pinch or search for specific activities through google by typing in "[the topic] +[grade level] +music".

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5) Be a friend to custodians and secretaries (Cassandra Butler, Music Teacher):

"These people run the school! And if you need something, they are the ones to ask. It is good to have them on your side. Thank you notes and appreciation gifts go a long way, especially around concert time when stress levels are already high (winter break, testing, etc)."

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6) Make Friends (Shelley, Music Teacher):

"I became close friends with my fellow co-teachers and colleagues. Going to work felt like attending a party every day.  I had someone to share my day with and my co-teacher and I were matched well in our strengths and weaknesses.  I loved my administration and they were so kind and sweet to me as a first year teacher.  They cheered me on on good days and helped me make better decisions on bad days."

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Guest Thursday, 24 August 2017

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