The New Year Music Teacher

Our New Year started in September really didn’t it. The fresh faces of our new students and the chance to review the previous years results and achievements.

But when we go back to work this week we have another chance to re-energise our students and a fresh set of opportunities. I started to think about work today after a much needed break over Christmas. I really did work hard in the lead up to the end of term, and two weeks of family time is just so important – so I have done very little work. But my head is getting back into things now and I have some thoughts on what I am going to do this term and how I am going approach the new year.

  1. What are your personal resolutions and will they help you with work? I am really going to try and shut the laptop more in the evenings and not spend so long on work related social media after hours. I think we all need resolutions that are going to help us with our down time.
  2. Recruitment. Our Christmas programme is full on and exciting and the best thing is that the whole school get to see our music making. Our carol service is a big event and this year I felt like we put on a great service. I know that out there in the congregation, students would have been inspired. So I am planning a big recruitment drive this week because I know I can make some more students into singers and instrumentalists.
  3. Coursework. This term is about coursework for us music teachers. I mean, I know there are other things, but coursework really will take centre stage. But this year I am determined to really ensure that where possible, I get work recorded ASAP. Some students are ready, they had ABRSM exams last term and so why wait. I want to try and get the paperwork all done and then focus on students who inevitably need a little more attention. This is obvious and it isn’t a new idea, but I am really going to try!
  4. New ideas are so important and I really want to make sure that I put some time into thinking about new projects and ideas for the coming months. I want to keep my lessons fresh and relevant and this is always important around options picking season. This term I am going to try a couple of new ideas with Year 9 and I also want to really make sure that I come up with some relevant revision ideas for the new spec.
  5. This term I am going to try and not get overwhelmed by the work load. There is a lot to do and a lot of ground to cover. There is so much “unknown” stuff ahead and the new specs are just so hard to work out at times. But I think that I have followed the advice, taught the stuff and the students have worked hard. So I am going to just keep going and rely on my own experiences.
  6. I am going to ensure that I get the right balance between giving students a load of fun opportunities to perform and also giving students a chance to really work on their coursework. The Christmas term is always exciting and we do lots of fun festive events, but inevitably this can get in the way of the hard work that is needed. This term I need to make sure that we have events, but I also need to ensure we have time to really get the work done. I will say though that having just marked some essays from December, I am really pleased with the progress students made.
  7. I went to see “The Greatest Showman” with my son last week and I loved it – he did too. He is 8 years old and hasn’t stopped singing the songs since we left the cinema. If you haven’t seen it then I would urge you to go. You may not like it, and you may hate the songs, but there is a lot you can get from it I am convinced. It got me thinking again about what I do in my job and this year I am going to really walk tall as a Music Teacher. We have had a hard time over the last few years – EBacc, Spec changes and all that. But I think we need to walk tall and remember that what we do matters and is still relevant. We may not have the funding, or the support, but we have a subject that is alive and without it we wouldn’t have these amazing films & shows. Music Teachers are brilliant and we need to remember that. This year I am going to be even more proud of what I do and what we do in the department. If as a department we can pull of big carol events and musicals etc, then maybe there is something other departments can learn from us about events, or public outreach etc. And of course I think there is so much I can learn from others. So that is my big thing – not only love my job but look at how it might make an impact on other staff and other areas of the school. I think we need to sometimes step out of our music bubble and see how music and the performing arts can positively impact on a school and on a teacher.

So 2018 is upon us and I am excited about another term. I am expecting to be really tired by the end of day one, but I really am looking forward to hitting the ground running. I have a tour to look forward to in April and then another musical production in June – watch this space. I hope you all have a great term and enjoy as much of it as you can! Don’t do it alone and make sure that you get in touch with other teachers and find the support that you need.

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