Friday, July 20, 2012

Student Teaching Part III - The Most Important Part Of Teaching

This is the third entry of my student teaching journals (Part I & Part II).

Today I got to talk to Mr. S about some issues with teaching. He thinks the most important thing a teacher has is that he or she cares about her kids. The second most important thing is that the teacher has a level of artistic integrity. These two are very close. It is interesting that the choir teacher and the orchestra teacher show different parts of that spectrum. I know that I care about the kids. I do not find that part difficult. What is interesting is that I feel I have a strong sense of artistic integrity for music however it is not solely centered on band music. Band literature is just one facet of music that interests me, not the central one.

When you explain things to people and you try to relate it to what they know, you validate their knowledge. That shows that you care about them and are willing to go the extra step to explain something. It is saying that you already know something and that all you are doing is reminding them of something that they already know. This is a powerful idea that I think helps people understand others. Kids appreciate someone who is willing to ask how you are doing and honestly cares and will spend only a little time to make a real connection. It doesn’t take a lot but I feel like that is the fastest and most effective way to get students to like you.

Can you change a kid when her parents aren't being good models of what you are trying to teach in four years? Yes you can, they can learn that their parents do not have all the right answers and that they do not need to be exactly like their parents.

Mr. S talked to April’s mom and she was as scatterbrained as April and he doesn't think the change in April is going to come from home. Mr. S told me that you can't give up and that you can show the students a better way. It's possible, it's hard but it's real.

Yesterday there were two inappropriate comment one was about homosexuals and one was racial and I stopped and told the kids it was not ok. I told Mr. S and he said what I did was right. They are boys and good kids but they don't know the weight of what they say. I'm in an inbetween position as a teacher/student, so it was good and important for me to identify myself as a teacher in this situation and reprimand these students.

It's weird because it's about who I am.  It's forcing me to clean up the way I talk and the way I think and express myself. And if I'm asking students to be better in who they are I need to do that for myself. In a way teaching these students to be better people forces myself to be a better person as well. It's great that it forces me to grow . . . but it's hard.

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