Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will. My music teacher in junior high had a poster in his office that said “Murphy was an optimist.” That statement went over my head at the time, but I so get it now.
If you’ve taught music for more than a day, you probably don’t need too many examples of things that might go wrong. Students will lose music. Instruments will fall apart right before a performance. The package that was supposed to arrive this morning won’t get to you until next week. The student with the big solo can’t come to the concert.
One lesson I’ve learned is to not be surprised when things go wrong, but to expect problems. The Boy Scouts have the right idea: Be prepared.
So what does this mean for music teachers?
– Have extra sheet music available.
– Have instrument supplies and basic repair tools on hand.
– Plan lead time into your calendar. Don’t expect the photocopier to be working right before a rehearsal. If you’re counting on someone else to meet your deadline, allow margin for them to be late.
– Avoid depending on technology too much. Will your lesson plan or presentation be a failure if your computer crashes? What if that DVD player you reserved is broken or unavailable? Low-tech solutions can often bail out hi-tech failures.
– Have a Plan B whenever possible. I’ve been amazed many times watching a plan fall through for a classroom teacher, only to watch them pull an activity from their bags of tricks to the delight of the class.
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