Hello from snowy Maryland! We had a snowstorm today but the schools were open and learning DID take place. I have to give a shout-out to my principal, Mr. Powell. He was outside for the better part of the morning shoveling/sweeping the ramps to all of the portables. He must have removed about 5 inches of snow so that students could get to music and other specials. I don't know what we would have done without him!
As we begin the snowy season, I am cheered by the fact that I get to participate in a brand new linky party, courtesy of Melissa Stouffer of Mrs. Stouffer's Music Room!
January Teacher Survival Guide
For this linkup, I am going to post three tips that I use to keep me motivated as we return from the holidays and start the second lap on this racetrack:
1. New year, new start
January is the perfect time to reset the tone of a class. Maybe things were getting a little sloppy before the holidays... Some of the behaviors you intended to address got ignored in the name of holiday cheer. Maybe your lessons lost a bit of their rigor while 30 tiny smiling faces wanted nothing more than one more verse of Frosty the Snowman.
Now is time to press the reset button! I've been reminding my students of our rules, practicing procedures, and getting everyone back on track. I mentioned this wonderful article yesterday. I'm so glad I came across it during the winter break because it was the perfect reminder of what to do to set the right tone in the classroom.
2. Audition Season
It is audition season for our county's performing and visual arts magnet programs, and I am happy to be assisting with the audition process this month. I do not get the privilege of teaching chorus at either of my schools, so I don't get a lot of time to focus on things like audition skills. We do a bit of performing in general music, but I prefer my classes to be more inclusive and experience-based.
At the auditions, I love hearing these dedicated students who have put in the extra time outside of class and who are seriously interested in pursuing music. It's a side of things that I don't always get to see, and it reminds me what I am setting the foundation for in my classroom.
3. Second Semester Kindergarteners
Gosh, is there anything sweeter than second semester Kindergarteners? I was chatting with a Kinder teacher at the beginning of this school year; she happened to have been dealt a group of kids that seemed to be particularly lacking in life skills. Hardly any of them had been in Pre-K and they were completely overwhelmed by school. She said to me, "I just have to remember that it won't be like this all year. It will get better." and she is so right.
I adore my kinder classes in the second half of the year. They are starting to get the hang of this school thing. They have their routines in place. They will simply eat up ANY musical style or genre that I play for them, provided that I sell it the right way. They are honest and eager to succeed.
Of course, our role as teachers is to try and maintain that feeling- that spark and love of learning- in these kids for the next twelve years.
I hope I've given you some motivation to get through this gloomy weather. If you want to share your own January Teacher Survival Guide, please head over to Mrs. Stouffer's Music Room and link up!