In another post, I wrote about how one of my schools performed a particularly poor Winter Concert. That experience has forced me to reflect on my teaching techniques and rethink some of my basic approaches to working with those students.
Over the next few posts, I’ll write about some of the biggest issues those ensembles are facing (and they’re big ones!) and how I’ll address them. I’ll share some thoughts about my classroom management here.
The Beginning Band at this school is one of the biggest I’ve ever had. While that’s great for my numbers, it means that I have very little time to give individual attention to each student. Consequently, those students probably think I’m a madman, frantically trying to cram all I can into each 30 minute lesson. They probably aren’t getting the encouraging/nurturing praise and relationship building they probably need from me.
Therefore, my goal for the new calendar year is to offer a minute of personal attention and praise to each student in that class at some point within the first two weeks of January. My hope is that if each student individually knows that I value and care about him/her, then the overall morale of the band will improve.
I also think that I need to offer another minute of admonition about appropriate behavior and personal responsibility to my more troublesome students. While these students certainly need positive reinforcement, I also want to make sure they are aware of how their behavior affects the rest of the class. Likewise, my hope is that disruptions will decrease if each student individually understands how I expect him/her to behave.
Also, I’ll try and keep the “praise minute” and the “admonition minute” separate conversations. I don’t necessarily want my students to think their value rests entirely on their behavior.
Does any of this make sense? Can you relate? Any thoughts?