NQT Music Teacher – @music_musictech
Two stars and a wish (and a wish and wish…)
After planning on writing my first blog at the end of my first week of being an NQT I am finally getting around to completing the task at the end of the term! The initial term has served to fuel the fires that made me passionate about teaching and learning before I even submitted an application to be considered on the PGCE course.
The school environment, that flows down from the senior management team and my head of department, truly makes me want to be the most inspiring, inclusive and passionate teacher I can possibly be. We are working extremely hard to create and maintain a true sense of family within the school and I believe we can achieve this using the fantastic relationships that already exist between staff, learners and parents.
Inspired by Rachel Jones’ @rlj1981 blog named ‘Show me the money’ (July 15th, 2013) it makes perfect sense for me to use my first blog to comment on some of things that haven’t gone so well to date and state how I will improve on them (that way i’ll have to have done something positive by the time I post my next blog!).
Wishes (areas for improvement)…
Consistency of teaching, planning and behaviour management
During the next term I will strive to improve the consistency and overall quality of my planning, teaching and behaviour management. After experimenting with a few different lesson plan templates (even my own which reflects the Welsh Government’s national priorities) I felt that the greatest learning took place when I had used the ‘5 minute lesson plan’ from @TeacherToolkit. The focused nature of the plan forced me to think hard about what the learners really needed to gain from their hour in the classroom with me.
I made the NQT (rookie) error of trying to use the same lesson plan with classes who were at the same stage within the unit of work. THIS DID NOT WORK! When the plan was used for every individual class the lessons were so much more successful and enjoyable for both the learners and myself. Therefore, I will plan EVERY INDIVIDUAL LESSON throughout the next term (and ideally my whole career)! I may even tweet a picture of them in order to maintain a level of personal accountability.
I personally believe, mostly because I see it reflected in my own daily practice, that well planned learning activities almost always make behaviour management easier. I feel this happens for two reasons (probably very obvious ones to experienced teachers):
– Learners that are more engaged in their learning do tend to stay on task
– When clear objectives are established and acknowledged by all it is easier to keep the learners on track
Therefore, in order to test this assumption with more scrutiny I will again make the personal promise to improve my planning and implementation of the plans throughout the rest of the academic year.
Strategies to deal with disruptive students
I believe that all teachers deal with students in the way that they feel is best. I have always aimed to create an inclusive and secure atmosphere inside my classroom and apply the same feeling to individual discussions with disruptive students. However, on three occasions this term I feel I could have dealt with some disruptive learners in a much more constructive manner. On each occasion, after using and failing with my usual approach, I allowed the individual learner to ‘wind me up’. This meant that the focus of the conversation shifted from the incident and the ‘why’ of the conversation and focused on the learner and their personality. BIG MISTAKE! Each time I allowed this to happen there were no positive outcomes for either party, and each incident only served to destroy the chances of a positive learning relationship being formed.
On reflection, and after getting a little bit more teaching experience under my belt I now know that there is not one way to deal with all these individual learners. I try to walk around the school at break times and lunch times and say hello and talk to these specific pupils outside of the music classroom. I attempt to start every lesson ‘fresh’ and leave any poor behaviour and attitude in the last week. It is not perfect, and I still have A LOT to learn, but these little changes have made a big impact with at least two out of the 3 learners mentioned above.
Overall, 2014 should be a fantastic year for my school and our music department. With a growing number of learners taking part in extracurricular activities and concerts, a ‘feel good’ vibe established in the department and an exciting Music Scheme of Work rewrite still ahead of us, things are looking good. I will keep blogging and hope to receive as much feedback as possible from anyone who takes the time read the blog. Thank you for reading!