Sunday, November 11, 2007

I get a gold star! ;0)

This is a response to the comments made on my last posting. It ended up being such a long response, I figured I'd just create a separate posting for it...

Fortunately, if there is one thing I pride myself on when it comes to teaching, it is that I am so not the authoritative dictator lecturing at my class - my syllabus even says that I look forward to all of us teaching, learning, and growing together, myself included. Yes, I can be stubborn, but I am so NOT a "my-way-or-the-highway" type**. And I totally approach teaching from that stance that I have just as much to learn as my students in the long run, but I also have that much more experience under my belt in this particular area to share with them. In fact, just the other day I referred to teaching as "sharing." Remember sharing-time from elementary school, and you'd get all excited 'cause this was your chance to share your "thing" - whatever it was you were passionate about at the time? This approach also makes me feel okay saying to students, "I don't know the answer to that, but I'll look into it and get back to you."

I do have those students that WANT a more authoritative, dictator-type. They want to know the one, correct, end-all-be-all answer, so I really try to help them understand that there is no one "correct" answer in many situations - especially as a teacher! (this course is for future music teachers). My job isn't to tell them how to do their job the "right" way - just to provide them with tools and ideas and feedback and practice so they can make that decision, themselves. I'll make suggestions and tell them "this is the way I usually do it" and why, but I also try to acknowledge other options. And then I put questions on the midterm and final in which they have to actually make decisions and support their position.

Yay me! I just might be culturing some independent thinkers, yet!

Back to the...ehem..."anonymous" "teach till you die program" commentator. I DO like your artist metaphore. I was just talking to adopted-mentor-professor about that - how "it" - being teaching, papers we are submitting for publication, etc. - are never "done." And how we can hold ourselves to such double-standards. I fully expect every person who is "good" at what they do to constantly be evaluating and making changes - brave enough to try new things, even if they risk falling on their faces. It is the person who thinks they have it all down that maybe needs to consider moving on to a new profession. And yet, I expect myself to have it "right" right now??? What kind of teacher would I be if I wasn't preparing to try new things? We don't make progress by travelling in ruts.

And I will never, EVER make everyone happy all the time (that was another topic of conversation in counseling this week - another one of those concepts I understand and accept in that logical part of my brain, but I still struggle with when it comes down to truly believing it in all senses).

It's interesting - a former-classmate of mine defended her dissertation this last week, and gave a practice-run to my reasearch in music ed. class. Her study looked at those skills of novice and experienced instrumental music teachers, and where those skills came from - and the area both groups felt was most important, and yet most lacking in their formal teacher prep. education fell into the category of "personal growth." Boy-oh-boy, doesn't that ring true.

Hm. what a lovely pep-talk I have given myself =0) thank you! to both Kiki and "teach till you die" for inspiring me to spew all this out. =0)

And now back to our regularly-scheduled Sunday programming (HOMEWORK!).

**seriously, I am even having trouble asserting my opinion authoritatively in a paper I am working on with a prof to submit for publication. One might think after putting in all the blood, sweat, and tears that I have (okay, maybe not blood, but you never know when paper-cuts might strike!), I might feel entitled to assert my opinion. But, man, it's hard putting yourself out there. I am not a "doctor" anyone, yet! (which is why I asked said professor if he would be second-author on the paper - it's cool to be sole-author, but it's also nice to have some credibility and clout...).

No comments: