Posted by: meredithbuchanan | October 4, 2009

Getting to Know You

Being a full time band teacher can be tricky. In a rotary position, you must learn the names and personalities of about 245 students every year. This is a daunting task and can obviously not be done within the first week of school, it takes some time. My mentor teacher had some great ideas to jump start the process. I learned a lot from her on how to learn your students. At the start of the school year she would photocopy pages from last years yearbook of the grade. 6s who are now going into grade seven and are beginning the band program. She would study the faces of her new students, getting to know each name. For the grade 7s she hands out a survey of about 20 questions that asks such things as ‘What are your talents?’ ‘For group work, who would you like to work with?’ ‘What radio stations do you listen to?’ ‘What do you love to do?’ She collects these surveys and puts it into a database. She can see where friend clichés lie, she can tell who has severe motor skills; some students can hardly hold a pencil in their hand, which means there are instruments that they will have more success on then others. She can also begin to spot kinesthetic learners, and visual learners. She finds out so much about these kids just by looking closely at the answers they provide her and by learning to read in between the lines. I enjoyed watching this process unfold and could see the benefit almost immediately in understanding who the people are that you teach.

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