Oh yeah, we are back in the thick of it-right! Whether it’s snowing or sunny, the school year is in full swing now, with music lessons, programs and activities that have me knee deep in “business” and a bit of stress! So I was thinking back on some experiences I’d had that helped me get through tough times during the school year. And I got to thinking about this slogan I made; “What’s your teaching super power? I help kids make music!” And I put on my sparkling aqua and pink cape and headed off for another day of music class heroics!
You do know that you have a super power right?
TEACHING SUPER POWER IDEA #1
Relate to Your Students
Are you thinking you don’t have one?
I used to think that too! I just thought that since I loved music, my job was a good fit for me as a person.
I just had an experience a few weeks ago as we were getting ready for a musical program that sparked some ideas about my skills as a teacher. A students’ mom had informed me that her 3rd grader had stage fright and would not be performing in the program. The email came across as “final decision”. But in my best positive attitude I emailed the mother back and asked if I might speak with her daughter and encourage her to try. Sure–was the response, so in my trying not to be too pushy teacher manner, I encouraged the student to work through the process–learn the songs, the choreography, participate in the practices and then see how she felt on stage during the dress rehearsal. I gave her the option out–
I could tell easily that she loved the music we were rehearsing–it was all gospel and spirituals about the fight for freedom and Martin Luther King Jr. We got to the dress rehearsal and she was absent for it. I wondered what she would do the next day at the program…she did amazing! Now she beams at me every time I see her..And she and her sisters came to my room and gave me Girl Scout cookies. Who could ask for more? Who cares about Mt. Everest! I watched that little girl climb our of her shy shell and up a tough mountain and she did it! I’m so proud of her. Makes it all worth while. I just love her smile.
(P.S. It’s been a few years and she still beams at me!)
So what does that have to do with “super powers?”
TEACHING SUPER POWER IDEA #2
Use Your Talents
All teachers have experiences like the one I had-but it did get me thinking that I might have something in my back pocket I could use with difficult students, or shy students- (the ones opposite of myself).
So I began to think about using this skill in my classroom…
I may not be the hero in this story–but I did help my student to become one. Isn’t that the same thing? I mean, all of my favorite heroes are heroes because they are helping people out of a difficult, dangerous and sometimes even deadly situation. So don’t you and I do that every day? We help the child who can’t tell right from left when we sing solfa, or do a scarf activity or a dance. We help the child who can’t read well when we echo chant and tap the words to “Engine, Engine No. 9”. And we help a child who doesn’t quite fit in–but sings perfect pitch become the “cool kid” of the music room.
I believe that there are millions of ways in which we help kids learn, grow and change every day–so doesn’t that make us heroes?
And then I came up with this idea!
What’s my superpower? I help kids make music.
Eventually I got thinking about this idea of focusing on one super power instead of being the all around perfect teacher. I mean think about the Avengers! Each super hero has a special gift that they use to help win the fight against evil.
Likewise, all the teachers in a school have their own unique super power that they use to help kids learn, grow and achieve!
What’s the 1 thing you can do at your school that nobody else can? (RE: Teaching)
And then I realized that I had a couple of skills that I could add to my super hero list of powers.
I’d never really come to appreciate the fact that I can write a song about anything. I grew up doing it all the time, and I honestly didn’t realize that it was a unique skill-and that not all musicians can do it! (But don’t ask me to play a solo on any instrument….I prefer to sing!)
I use my songwriting skills to help students get into Quadrant D thinking and composing.
My students are used to me taking a rhythm chant, picking up my guitar and then turning it into a song. Just last week my guitar students were composing Valentine songs using candy hearts for inspiration.
TEACHING SUPER POWER IDEA #3
Be Confident in Your Zone
As I worked my way around the room helping them, one student said; I think it’s a slow love song. So I sang and played it on the guitar over dramatizing the “love” parts. The whole class laughed. Then I asked if another student wanted their song “arranged” and I made it a pop style.
That got the room buzzing- everyone busy composing their little songs. For the first time ever, that class didn’t want to leave music-they wanted to keep on writing their songs.
I don’t know, music class is so short I shouldn’t be using the time – but I don’t do it very often, and I’ve found it does help students visualize your expectations if you share your talents. So if it inspires and motivates my students to perform, to get into quadrant D thinking and loving music class-then it’s totally worth it!
You are in the trenches working hard and giving your all every day to your students!
I want to cheer YOU on!
I want to applaud YOU!
I want to make up a song about YOU! ( I will too if you send me your ideas!)
So What’s Your Super Power?
Please share this post with your teacher friends!