Friday, December 3, 2010

Week 12: My Way

Over the summer as a I began to prepare myself for my first year at this school my general plan was to stick as close as I could to what the previous teacher did. The teacher before me was a veteran who had spent most of his career at this school and was respected by the students and the teaching community.

As a music teacher in a school that is steeped in tradition, much of what I do involves performances. Many of these have musical components that have been done a certain way according to tradition so following the plans set out by the processor made perfect sense.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Now that I’m nearing winter break, I’m been reflecting on what has been most successful in my teaching. What I found is that the things that I did in the way that the previous teacher has done have worked but haven’t been nearly as successful as the projects that I’ve re-imagined and done “my way.”

Everyone has been comfortable with me referring to the notes and material of my predecessor for guidance. Other teachers understand that I don’t really know the overall context of what I’m doing. What I’m finding is that what people really want to hear is what I think.  There’s an excitement that I feel when I begin taking what has been given to me and put my own spin on it.

I wasn’t hired to do the exact same thing as the teacher before me.  Even if that is what people wanted out of me, I couldn't do it.  The bottom line is that no matter how hard I try I can’t do what my predecessor did before me did and be successful because I’m not him. So for me to be successful, I simply have to be me.

What would you rather do? Be mediocre through following someone else’s plan or be spectacular following your own path? Of course we want to be spectacular but doing that means taking chances. With every chance comes the possibility of failure and maybe in the big performances in front of huge crowds I don’t take those chances. I wait until living through it once before making it my own. However with others things, well, there’s no reason not to make it my own right now.

It’s hard to know what people expect out of you when you’re new at a job. While I spend time worrying about how what I’m doing is perceived in the eyes of the people around me, I remind myself that all I can be in me. I can’t pretend to be anything else.  I would rather fail when being the teacher that I genuinely am, than succeed trying to be someone else.

I got a lot more of the year coming up and a lot of thing laid out for me by the previous teacher.  I'll work through it and keep the traditions going but I got to do it my way because that's the only way I know how.

They hired Kingsley Tang and that’s exactly who they are going to get.

No comments:

Post a Comment