Category: Student teaching Reflections/Experiences


“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” Clay P. Bedford

The past 14 weeks have definitely been a challenge in many ways, but I can’t believe that it is already over. These past few months have flown by and now in just 6 short days I will be walking across the stage and receiving my undergraduate degree!! While it is a relief to be done with student teaching, I still miss it and the students. I truly enjoyed the whole experience and really connected with my students. I was very lucky to have 3 incredible co-ops and for the most part I had an extremely positive experience. I have found like a lot of things in life student teaching is what you make of it. While  there are just some bad placements, I believe that your success with student teaching is based on how much effort and time you put into it and what your attitude about it is. I really enjoyed student teaching because I finally got to put to use everything that I have learned and worked for over the past 3 1/2 years. I know I have shared my experiences over the past 14 weeks, but I thought I would use this recap to share some of the biggest lessons I learned throughout this semester.

Top 10 Lessons I Learned

  1. Confidence– I have found that it is important to have confidence in front of the students especially with the older ones because you are only 4 years older than them. In order for them to respect you they need to know that you are confident, in charge and know what you are doing. Show them that you are the expert in the room, but if you aren’t sure of something admit that to them and then found out the answer.
  2. SING!!- I know I have mentioned this over and over, but I feel that I can’t express the importance of singing to, with and for your students enough. This kind of goes without saying in choir or elementary general music, but I believe that it is imperative to sing in your band rehearsals. the students need to hear what their parts sound like, how the style of music should be played etc. I was amazed how much quicker the students picked up on things when I sang. Also, this gets the students to realize that singing is okay and is one step in helping you fight the battle of getting your students to sing.
  3. Organization– While your classroom is bound to become a mess at some point I found it is very beneficial to stay as organized as possible. If you are organized this helps your lessons to run smoother and can help prevent problems in the classroom. Also, staying organized may take time at first it will save you time in the future. This is especially important in elementary general music when you may have no time between classes. You need to have everything ready to go and organized before the day even starts. Staying organized will also allow you to be more flexible.
  4. Go With the Flow- As music teachers we have to be flexible and willing to go with the flow. So many times are schedules get messed up do to PSSA testing, field trips, special days etc. While this can be frustrating we need to be flexible and show that we are able to work around these challenges. You also have to be flexible for when something goes wrong in your classroom. For example, on my last day the CD player quit working in the middle of a song so instead of stopping I just kept going and we sang it a capella. If you are not good with just rolling with the punches, I would suggest getting some practice because I found that being flexible is a necessity as a teacher.
  5. Communicate– Believe it or not teaching can be a very lonely profession at times, but it doesn’t have to be. As a student teacher or even full-time teacher we need to always be communicating not only with the people around us, but also others through blogs, twitter, MPLN etc. There is so much we can learn from others and communicating with others can also help us realize that we are not the only ones going through a certain situation.
  6. Leave Your Comfort Zone-  I can’t stress enough the importance of getting comfortable and getting experience in all areas and being willing to go out of your comfort zone. There were so many times during the past weeks that I was stretched outside of my comfort zone such as teaching a drum set player and directing middle school choir, but I felt that these were some of the times when i learned the most. With the current education situation it is more important than ever that we are comfortable in all areas of music because you never know where you might end up!!
  7. Be a sponge– I believe as a teacher we should never be done learning. I heard a student teacher the other day say “I just want to be done student teaching because I have learned everything I need to.” Even when you feel like you have learned everything there is still more so try to soak up everything whether it is while you are teaching, observing, or even when you are eating in the faculty lounge. Also I have found that part of learning is finding out what you don’t want to do as a teacher as much as learning what you want to do. This goes back to what I have said in earlier posts, but don’t see anything as pointless in your undergraduate career!! You will be shocked at how much of this information you will use and you never know when one day you might need it.
  8. Be Proactive- While classroom management thankfully came fairly natural to me, it is still a challenge and I believe will be a challenge even after teaching for 30 years. I learned that one of the best things you can do is be proactive and try to stop bad behavior before it starts. You can do this by making your behavioral expectations extremely clear from the beginning and by correctly pacing your lessons to fit the needs of your students.
  9. Remember the Purpose– I have found that there is so much that we as teachers want to cover and teach that we often spend a lot of the class or rehearsal time talking about what we want or introducing a concept. We need to remember what both us and the students are there for; to MAKE MUSIC!! While of course there are things we have to teach through talking it is imperative to keep in mind that the students are there to play, sing, and make music. I taped one of my band rehearsals and was shocked at how much I talked during the rehearsal. By the end of my experience I taped one again and this changed drastically and the class period was much more productive. As my one co-op always told me Talk little, sing/play/do MUCH!!
  10. Passion– I think one of the biggest lessons I learned is to make sure you have true passion for what you are doing and find a way to relay that to your students. If your students can’t tell that you are passionate and care about what you are doing they won’t care either. Also, I found how demanding a teacher’s schedule is and without passion it extremely easy to get burn-out. I think some of the most rewarding times during my student teaching experience were when my students told me that they loved coming to my class because they could tell I loved music and were making them to love it also 🙂

While these are by no means all the lessons I learned while student teaching these are some of the ones that I felt were the most important and kept occurring over the last 14 weeks. These are all lessons that I believe that are imperative to learn early in our career to help us become the best music educators possible. Also I have found that most of the lessons listed above and ones that I have learned are things that you are not taught during your undergraduate courses!

I hope you have enjoyed following along on my student teaching journey with me and have been able to learn something from my experiences. I have really enjoyed sharing my experiences with you and they have been a great way for me to reflect upon what I have learned. Stay tuned for a post to come in the next few days on my tips for having a successful student teaching experience.

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“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.”- Og Mandino

This week was definitely a challenge in many ways. As it gets further into the semester and further into my second placement I am taking on more classes which requires more planning, ensembles are starting to perform more, and the job search and application process is now in full swing. All of these things keep me extremely busy and this week it has been a challenge to find a balance between them all. I feel that one of the biggest challenge as an undergraduate from freshman year to senior year is keeping everything in balance. I also believe that this will continue to be a struggle once I start teaching, just in a different way. In regards to teaching I felt like this week went very smoothly and I had a lot of success with my lessons. Each week I am still amazed at the amount that I am continuing to learn. Below are some of the challenges I faced this week and lessons I am learning.

Challenges

  1. Disruptions/Schedule Changes- One big challenge I faced this week was dealing with constant disruptions and scheduling changes. I feel that scheduling changes are always a challenge for the teacher because you have to change around your lesson plans and often have to re-organize your entire schedule for that day or maybe even the week. This week was full of schedule changes for me because of PSSA testing, assemblies etc. One challenge this brought to me this week was because of an assembly we combined some of our classes so no classes would miss music. This was definitely a challenge because now I had to teach classes of 35 kids, which is very challenging and exhausting. There are also many disruptions that take place daily that are challenging to deal with because the get the students out of their routine. Some disruptions I faced this week were fire drills, announcements in the middle of class, students getting called to the nurse for hearing tests etc. Scheduling changes and disruptions are not something we can change as teachers, but I believe it is important for undergraduates to be aware of them and realize what they may have to deal with in the future.
  2. Student Accountability– This is an area that is definitely a challenge, but not something that I am able to deal with during student teaching. It is very hard to find ways to keep students accountable especially when it comes to areas such as practicing. As I said this isn’t something I can change during student teaching, but I am thankful that I get to experience this and see how my cooperating teachers deal with it because I am sure that I will be faced with this issue in the future. My advice to undergraduates is to starting coming up with your own ideas now of how you might deal with this situation when faced with it in the future.
  3. Adjusting to Different Grade Levels- Another big challenge that elementary general music teachers have to face is adjusting to different grade levels very quickly. For example on Mondays I teach two kindergarten classes in a row and then have two sixth grade classes. This is a huge jump and your entire way of teaching has to change almost instantaneously. It is even hard to switch between grades such as kindergarten and first because there is such a difference in development, maturity, and behavior. I believe that this is something that just takes getting use to and after time the adjustment isn’t as challenging.
  4. Multi-Tasking- Elementary music teachers I have found are the wearer of many hats and must be very good at multi-tasking. There are days when I feel like I need multiple sets of hands and eyes in the back of my head just to teach a lesson. This learning to multi-task definitely takes some time and was overwhelming at first, but is starting to get easier. For example I am often finding myself playing piano, singing, leading the students, watching the students for behavior, correcting behavioral problems and assessing student performance all at the same time!!!
  5. Balancing- As I said at the beginning of this post, this week I have definitely been struggling with balance. Student teaching takes up so much time and energy, but I also have nightly ensemble rehearsals, and many job applications to finish. It is a challenge to balance these things without getting burned-out. My piece of advice is to prioritize everything and be realistic when setting weekly or daily goals. If we are not setting realistic goals we are just setting ourselves up for failure which leads to more frustration. I believe this is a challenge that everyone from undergraduates to experienced teachers are faced with continually.

Lessons Learned

  1. Be Prepared for Questions– One lesson I learned this week is to be ready for all kind of questions especially with the younger students. Many times these questions are great and lead to more teaching opportunities, but many times the questions are completely un-related to what we are talking about, but still may be a good question. I have found that it is important to not let questions through you off guard. One piece of advice I have is when preparing your lessons come up with some questions that you think students may ask. This may also help you in figuring out the timing of your lesson.
  2. High Expectations– It is very important to set high expectations for our students and to challenge them. I have learned that usually the students surprise us and rise to the occasion if they know what our expectations are. I believe that what we expect is what we are going to get. For example this week I did a recorder lesson where not only was there a simple recorder part, but there were two other classroom instrument parts. This was definitely a challenge for the students, but before we started I clearly set my expectations and to my surprise the student rose to the challenge and did extremely well.
  3. Don’t Stifle Student Creativity– Elementary general music classes can often get very loud and chaotic and we as teachers are quick to stop this. I believe we need to have control of the classroom at all times, but we also need to make sure that in no way are we stifling student creativity. For example this week in kindergarten my cooperating teacher had the students listening to a piece of music. The students automatically started reacting and moving to the music. Instead of stopping this as some teachers would, she allowed them to continue, but set some guidelines such as they had to stay within their area and not talk.
  4. Play Songs More Times than you Think– I am also learning that we need to play a song more times than you think in order for the students to learn it. Once or twice is not enough times for students, especially younger ones, to comprehend and learn the song. My cooperating teacher said that we get sick of the songs so we are quick to think that the students heard it enough.
  5. Get Out of Comfort Zone- The last lesson that I have learned through the past few weeks and this week especially is that you have to be willing to be silly and crazy with the students, which may require you to come out of your comfort zone. The students want to see someone who is able to have fun in front of them and is not afraid to act silly. I have seen many of my music education undergraduate friends who have not been willing to come out of their comfort zone and be silly and I believe that the students are benefiting from this. We as teachers often have to have fun and silly to get our students involved in the learning and keep them engaged throughout the lesson. My advice for undergraduates is to begin getting out of your comfort zone now so that the transition later is not as hard.

This week as always I faced many challenges, but I also feel like I had some major successes in classroom management. The first few weeks of my elementary placement I struggled with classroom management because the students are so active, but now I believe I am getting better at it. This week I was much more proactive especially when teaching lessons that required the use of classroom instruments. I also tried being more firm with the students and making sure they know what I expect and then making sure that I follow through with any consequences. I can almost guarantee that as an undergraduate music education major you will struggle with classroom management at some point. My biggest piece of advice is to be firm, set clear expectations and most importantly be PROACTIVE instead of reactive!! I can’t believe I only have a few short weeks left of student teaching, but I am looking forward to sharing the rest of my experiences!!

“Don’t try to fix the students, fix ourselves first. The good teacher makes the poor student good and the good student superior. When our students fail, we, as teachers, too, have failed.”- Marva Collins

Last week I taught each grade level (K-6) for at least part of the class period and many classes I taught the entire lesson. It was great to start taking over the classes instead of just observing. While observing is great, there is a lot in elementary general music that you can only learn by doing. Also, I believe that until you begin teaching multiple classes for the full period you don’t realize how crazy and elementary general music teacher’s schedule is. Last week I taught ten different lessons and taught a few of them multiple times. Through these ten lessons I learned a lot of invaluable information that is helping me to continually grow as a music educator. Below are what I feel are some of the top challenges and most important lessons I learned during this past week in my elementary placement.

Challenges Faced

  1. Lesson Pacing– Knowing how much to plan for one lesson and how long each activity is going to take has still been a challenge for me. I am getting better and figuring out how longs an activity will probably last, but there is definitely still room for improvement. It is really challenging because it depends on each class, how well-behaved they are, how interactive they are etc. I have found that you can do the same lesson 3 times with the same grade level and will probably end at a different place each time. I am hoping that the more I plan and teach lessons I will get better at judging this. One piece that I have found with planning lessons is to always plan for more than you are going to need. It is better to not get to all of your activities than to run out of stuff to do and have ten minutes left in class!!
  2. Adapting Lessons for all Students– Adapting your lessons so that all of your students can learn and succeed is definitely a challenge in the elementary general music classroom. We have such a variety of needs and ability levels that it is hard to individualize instruction for each of them when you have twenty-five kids in your class. One of my most challenging classes is one of my first grade classes. This class has almost thirty students in it and is mixed with sever special education students from the Intermediate Unit. There are around 10 students from the IU that need a lot of extra attention. This makes teaching a challenge because you are trying to make sure you are reaching them while not leaving the other twenty behind. I believe this is something that comes with experience.
  3. Technology Issues– I am a firm believer in implementing technology in the classroom in as many ways as possible to help the students learn. Unfortunately this has been a big challenge for me in this placement. First of all the district does not have much technology and does not put much emphasis on it at all. Thankfully there is a Smartboard in one of my three schools, but other than that there is not much technology to work with. The main challenge is that the school blocks tons of websites. For a lessons last week on instruments I had quite a few websites to play music examples from and all of them were blocked. Also, sites such as youtube and Twitter are blocked as well. This is not something that I really can fix during my student teaching, but it is definitely a challenge that I am faced with during this placement.
  4. Being aware of entire class-While in high school you also have to be aware of the entire class or ensemble I feel it is much more of a challenge at the elementary level, especially in kindergarten in first grade. There are many days where I feel like I need extra hands and a pair of eyes in the back of my head. There is just so much going on in the elementary music classroom and the pace is very fast so it is extremely hard to be focused and aware of the entire class at one time. For example, you are trying to teach a lesson, plus deal with kids mis-behaving, answering questions, and focusing on students that need help or are not getting the concept all at the same time. While I am getting better at this I feel that this is an area that I will need to continually practice until it becomes more second nature.
  5. Different Room Layouts– One challenge of travelling between multiple buildings is that the layouts of each room are completely different. Most of the rooms that I am in are not ideal situations, but some are better than others. This makes for an extra challenge because you have to take into consideration each room layout when planning a lesson. For example, last week I taught a boom whacker lesson and Orff instrument lesson to kindergartners and first grade at two different schools. At each school I had to structure the lesson completely different based on the layout of the room. While this is definitely doable, it just takes more advanced planning and consideration on the part of the teacher.

Lessons Learned

  1. Know Songs Inside and Out-While this seems like common sense I have found that is imperative that you know the songs you are teaching inside and out. My advice especially for new teachers is when you feel like you have practiced the song enough and know it very well, practice it a few more times. It may seem like you know the song, but when you get in front of students and are focusing on ten other things at the same time it is very easy to become flustered and forget. With elementary students when we have to look back for the words or keep our head buried in a book we lose the students and more behavioral problems occur.
  2. Student Involvement– It is very important to keep the students involved at all times during the lesson and not to expect them to just sit around and listen too much (especially younger children because this is when behavioral problems often happen). For example last week I did a few lessons/demonstrations on French horn for kindergarten and first grade. While they loved the lesson I had to continually think of ways to involve them such as asking a lot of questions, letting them ask questions, and letting them predict what would happens if I did certain things. This helped keep them involved and they were more attentive than if I would have just talked the entire lesson. It is easy to get going on a lesson and forget to actively involve the student.
  3. Lesson Setup– Another thing that I am learning is how to correctly or best set up and elementary general music lesson. There is not one way that is necessarily the best, but it is important that you find what works for you and I believe that student teaching is a great time to do that. For me I like to start of each class with either a song we did the week before or a review song of some sort. This gets the students active right away and ready for music class. Then the middle of my lesson is where I put the most challenging activities and teach new concepts. I believe you need to do this when the students are still fresh. Then  end my lessons with either another review song or another fun musical activity that the students will enjoy. As I said there is no sure-fire method, but this is a format that seems to be working well for me.
  4. Limit Number of Directions– With elementary students I have found that it is extremely important to make your directions concise and limit it to 2 or 3 important directions at a time. If you tell the students to do too much at once they will either forget or shut you off after two or three directions. I have found that it is best to give the one or two most important directions first and then after they completed those go on with your other directions. If you find that students are continually not following your directions you will want to reflect and make sure that you are not overwhelming the students with too many directions at once.
  5. Remember Purpose of Music Class-With elementary general music there is so much information that we want and need to cover that we often get going on a tangent and forget the purpose of music class. While part of the purpose is to teach students about musical concepts and help them enjoy music we need to remember that the students are their to sing, play instruments and have fun. It is important to make sure that you have a balance between those activities and talking so that your students don’t get bored. My cooperating teachers are always reminding me “Talk little, Sing/Play/Do MUCH!!!

While I undoubtedly have a tons more to learn and was faced with many challenges this week, I also saw that a lot of teaching comes natural to me  and I am able to quickly think on my feet. I believe that one of the main goals of everyone’s student teaching experience should be to find your strengths and weaknesses and then find ways to challenge yourself to improve in those areas of weakness. So many times I have heard undergraduates  not attempt a lesson because they feel that it is too challenging for them or that there are too many things that could go wrong. These are the types of lessons that I want to teach and think everyone should teaching during their student teaching experience because that is how we learn. I tried a few challenging lessons this week that definitely didn’t go perfect or as well as I wanted them to, but I learned a lot that I probably would have learned if I would have shied away and not taught those lessons. While teaching elementary general music is very different, I am loving the challenge and the experience that I am getting and am looking forward to what else is in store for me during my last few weeks of student teaching.

“The experienced teacher invited rather than compels the student and is pleased by the emergence of differences.”- Ernst Bacon

Unfortunately last week I was unable to post my reflection for the week so I am hoping to post both last weeks and just this past weeks experiences over the weekend. Last week I began to take over a few classes, but I was still mainly observing. While, of course I want to teach and get hands on experience there is a lot of valuable knowledge that you can learn just by carefully and closely watching to veteran teachers. It has also been a great experience because I am getting the opportunity to see two completely different approaches to elementary general music and two different styles of teaching. Teaching elementary general music is a completely different world than high school instrumental music is, but I am really enjoying it and feel that this placement is really challenging me and helping me to grow as a music educator in many ways. Since during last week i still didn’t take over many classes, I thought I would use this post to share a few of the main differences that I have found between teaching high school and elementary music.

Schedules-

At the elementary level the schedule is completely different than in high school. Below are some of the scheduling differences I have found between my two placements, bust I am sure these vary from every elementary to high school. One big change is with elementary I am at school a lot less. I arrive at school around 8 and leave at 3:30. In my high school placement I arrived around 7 or shortly after and usually stayed to close 5 for after school activities. It is great getting out earlier, but with that being said my schedule throughout the day is much busier at the elementary level. Most days we do not get a planning period throughout the day. Our only planning period is in the morning when the teachers get there and while the students are getting settled in. This makes for a long and tiring day. At my high school placement we had 1 planning period plus 1 or 2 study halls a day which was a great break. Travelling between buildings also makes the schedule at my elementary placement busier. Because of the lack of prep time most of the preparation has to be done outside of school because the morning is usually taken by helping students and laying out all of your materials for the entire day because most days we do not have ANY downtime between the classes.

Amount of Students-

At my high school placement I was able to get to know the students on a much more personal level which is something I really enjoy and feel is important. One thing I am struggling with at my elementary placement is not getting to know the students as well. I feel like in some of my classes I barely know the students and I am still struggling with learning names. This is a big change because a the high school level I saw a lot fewer students and most of them I saw a few times a day because they were in different ensembles. Now I only see the students once a week for 40 minutes and am at three different schools throughout the course of the week. I have 30 general music classes throughout the week which leads to me seeing close to 600 students in a week. This is definitely a challenge for me, but is part of what comes with teaching elementary general music.

Energy-

Another difference between high school and elementary general music is not only the amount of energy the students have, but the amount of energy that you must have to keep the students excited and engaged during the entire class period. Unfortunately at the high school level many times the students do not want to be there, but are forced to be there for some reason or another. Also the students at the high school level often have less energy because they have much more going on in their lives. On the other hand, elementary students have a ton of energy and for the most part seem to really enjoy music class. I really love this aspect because as the teacher you can feed off of their energy and really have a lot of fun. Going along with this I am more exhausted after teaching multiple general music classes than I was when I taught high school ensembles. I feel that elementary general music requires more focus and energy at all times. I am not saying that high school doesn’t require energy because it definitely does just in a different way.

Back to Basics-

The last major difference that I have noticed is at the elementary level you have to remember that you are going back to basics. This was a big adjustment for me because at the high school level we were working more on being musical and all the technical elements of music. With the elementary students you are working on all the extremely important fundamentals such as rhythm, melody, and steady beat. I have caught my self a few times going to much in-depth with a concept, not explaining something clear enough, or using too many musical terms that the students have not been introduced to yet. As elementary teachers we have to remember for some of the young students this is some of their first formal encounters with music. I love teaching the basics and beginning to instill a love of music into the students, but it is a completely different frame of mind from teaching high school. It is important to remember though, without these basics and teachers to teach our students these basics we would not be able to get into the higher level concepts with the high school students.

While switching from high school to elementary has been a huge change I am still really enjoying it. I love working with the younger students and love how much energy and excitement they bring into the classroom. Going into my student teaching experience I was hoping that I would get a better idea of what level I wanted to teach at. Unfortunately I have still don’t know. There are aspects I love about each level and now I am just enjoying teaching music no matter what level. Look for a post at the end of my experience reflecting what I enjoy and don’t enjoy as much about each both elementary and high school. This past week I just finished was full of challenges and a lot of lessons learned as I began to take over most of the classes. Look for another reflection post coming soon.

“When one teaches, two learn”- Robert Half

Last week marked the halfway point of my student teaching experience and this past Monday I switched from high school instrumental to elementary general. Last week I was not able to write a reflection because I participated in the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band held at Juanita college. The band was under the direction of Dr. Mark Scatterday from Eastman School of Music. This was an incredible experience and I learned a lot of valuable information both as a performer and music educator. Dr. Scatterday gave a lot of great pointers for future music educators and shared a lot of stories, which as a current student teacher I was able to relate to quite well. I feel as teachers there are a lot of valuable lessons that we can learn through our own rehearsals and performances. My high school placement was a great experience and I feel that it helped me to grow tremendously as a music educator. While there were plenty o f hardships and challenges  I learned more  lessons than I ever could have imagined and began to find myself as a music educator. Over the past seven weeks I have shared a bunch of the lessons I have learned so instead of repeating those I thought I would share what I would do differently if I were given the opportunity to re-do this placement.

Things I Would Do Differently

  1. Be More Firm from the Beginning– If I were able to do my high school placement over again I would be more firm from the start. My first week or two of teaching I wasn’t very strict or firm with the students because I was trying to build relationships with them and didn’t want my firmness to hinder those relationships. Thankfully I was still able to gain respect and control of the classroom even though I didn’t start firm. Reflecting back on the experience I believe that I would have had less classroom management problems, especially at the beginning if I would have been more strict from the beginning. Especially as a young teacher it is important for the students to know that you are in charge and gain their respect. I believe that to do this you must be strict and let you expectations be known right from the beginning. I found that when I really pushed my students and raised my expectations they continually raised the bar to meet those expectations. On my last day many of my students even told me that they appreciated how hard I pushed them in rehearsals, which meant a lot to me.
  2. Capture Student Progress– Over the past seven weeks I noticed so much progress in my students playing and ability levels. From day one when I heard them until the night of the concert they sounded completely different. I was able to hear and see this progress on a daily basis, but now looking back I wish I would have captured this progress. If I were to re-do this experience I would record my students during the first week and then record them again during my last week. This way not only would I see the progress, but I could show the students how much they improved. This is also a great way to show the importance of your program and show that learning is taking place in your classroom.
  3. Establish Routines Quicker– This is hard as a student teacher because you mainly have to follow the routines that your cooperating teacher already has established. With that being said you are still able to establish a rehearsal routine that works for you and your teaching style. While I had a rehearsal routine by the end of the placement, I wish I would have established it earlier on. At the beginning of my placement I would do warm-ups and tuning, but I didn’t do it consistently because I was more focused on getting into the music and seeing where the students were at, so I would know what needed work. If I would have established these routines earlier on I believe it would have been easier for both me and the students and I would have saved myself some headaches when trying to establish these routines later in the placement.
  4. Be More Proactive– I feel that there are some areas where I could have been more proactive. While my classroom management skills improved over the course of the past seven weeks, I believe that if I would have been more proactive I would have been faced with less classroom management problems. One way to be proactive in regards to classroom management is to make sure that you clearly state your behavioral expectations from the beginning. This is something I really didn’t do because I figured my cooperating teacher already had these in place. While my co-op did have these expectations in place, reflecting back on the experience I realize that I should have made my behavioral expectations clear from the start.
  5. Rehearsal Techniques– While I was pleased with most of my rehearsal techniques and how my rehearsals went, there is one thing I would change. I continually struggled with getting the percussion to cooperate and participate during rehearsal (this is also something my co-op said she struggled with on a daily basis). A lot of the problem is that their parts are very easy for them and they feel that they don’t need to rehearse as much as the rest of the band. This was a daily challenge for me and many times I felt like just ignoring it so I could have a productive rehearsal with the rest of the band. If I were to do this placement over again I would find more rehearsal strategies and techniques to involve the percussion so that they participate and aren’t bored.

These past seven weeks have definitely been some of the most challenging/stressful, but yet best weeks of my undergraduate career. Over the past weeks there have been a lot of eye-opening experiences that have really made me think and grow as an educator. Going into this placement I was a little nervous because I never saw myself as a high school band director, but I can definitely say that my opinions have changed and I can easily see myself teaching high school instrumental music. Leaving my students was definitely a bittersweet feeling. I am excited to move on and see what new experiences lie ahead, but it is also hard to leave the students that I have worked with for the past seven weeks. This week I got to conduct 2 numbers at their concert. This was an amazing experience and was great to see and hear how much the students grew over the past seven weeks. While the performance by no means was perfect, I am confident that both the students and I learned a lot, which is what matters the most.   This past week I started my elementary placement which is full of new challenges and experiences. Be looking for a reflection post on my experiences during my first week in elementary general music within the next few days.