On October 4th 2010 I had the privilege to attend a lecture geared for music education undergraduates given by motivational speaker and educator Peter Boonshaft. He started off by telling us that as new teachers our biggest frustration will be taking the first sounds our ensembles make and transforming them into beautiful music. I agree with this because we are all coming from college ensembles where this process happens quickly and without too many problems. He also stated that the greatest lesson is that there is no wrong way to teach, but instead it is our job to find all the ways!! It is important that we constantly change our teaching strategies to meet the needs of our students. Throughout the rest of his lecture he gave 25 tips for us as new teachers to remember.

  1. All great teachers are great communicators
  2. All great teachers get excited about what they teach
  3. Be optimistic not the resident pessimist – be excited in times of normalcy. Never complain it just gives you a bad reputation.
  4. Leave your troubles and bad moods outside the classroom.  He suggested using something as a trouble tree(he used his doorknob). Your personal life should never enter the classroom.
  5. Humility- 5 words to remember “Us, We, not I, Me.
  6. Praise your students a lot give them the credit
  7. Work ethic whatever speed you get things done at now, triple it and you will be half way there. Arrive early and stay late.
  8. Team work- Be a team builder not a kingdom builder. Don’t be the music teacher that just stays in their room all the time.
  9. Respect- parents and administration are always right. Remember you are still a new teacher and are learning the ropes.
  10. Find exceptional qualities in everyone
  11. Say every word that comes out of your mouth as if you are saying it to administrators or parents
  12. Humor- it is the most exciting and engaging way to teach
  13. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice- All great learning begins with “I don’t know”
  14. Develop a personality that is as great as your skills
  15. Make what you teach unforgettable- don’t teach them to just remember something
  16. Make what you teach fun- fun is memorable
  17. Prevent problems by over planning
  18. Get permission for everything you do-administrators don’t like surprises
  19. Some problems may be  more easily avoided than fixed
  20. Take care of your self- warm-up before you conduct, protect your voice, and wear earplugs
  21. Never loose your cool- you will just regret it
  22. Take risks- if you loose they make you smarter, if you win they make you happy
  23. Be a positive spirit- stay ahead of the fastest student and stay along with the slowest student all at the same time
  24. Never settle- always have high expectations
  25. Bloom where you are planted- enjoy the ride

I believe these tips are very valuable for not only future music educators, but also current educators. I learned so much from this lecture and it was also great to hear how passionate Peter Boonshaft still is for teaching music even after doing it for many years. As he spoke his passion radiated throughout the room. This is the type of teacher that I one day want to become. One of the biggest concepts I took from the lecture is that every student deserves to hear something beautiful everyday whether it is a song, a phrase, a chord, or even just one note. This hit home to me because so many times we focus on the negative and never dwell on the positive. It is important for our students to hear what they are doing good. It is our job to make sure that everyone gets to hear beautiful things.

The main idea that I want to carry with me as I begin the process of student teaching and then teaching is the idea of making a difference. As educators we will all change a child’s life and it is up to us if that change is positive or negative!! A phrase that I think all teachers whether experienced or new need to remember is this: “We can spend our lives complaining roses have thorns or rejoice that all thorns have roses.” As a teacher which one will you do?

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