Wow! It’s been a crazy busy couple of weeks.
I finally passed my final practicum, which means Yours Truly gets to become a real-life paid teacher! This wasn’t really in doubt, but it’s nice to have the final interview and such done. For those student teachers whose programs don’t do an in-person final review, you should push for it. It’s nice to have an opportunity to almost practice for a job interview and really make a case to people who could be your employers and colleagues in the near future why you’re a good teacher and would be an asset to the school.
If you’re a type A person like me, this can also have an undertone of regret. There’s always that one thing that you wanted to get to that you never quite do, and when you are reviewing your practicum to bring out the positive highlights, you always run up against that. For me, I know that I want to do even more assessment when I get my own classroom. Anyone who follows this blog who knows me may be surprised to hear me say that, since I make such a big deal out of assessment being important to the class. However, my study project brought out so many positives to doing lots of assessment and large amounts of evidence showing many music teachers emphatically don’t do that, that I always feel like I should do more.
Of course, it’s hard to sell that to students in the right way. Anytime you change something up, you have to wrap it in a package that doesn’t present it as an onerous task. Students hate the idea that something they aren’t yet familiar with will determine a ‘grade’. It’s all very well to explain that it’s not a hard or intensive tasks, they’ll still be wary of it. And I can’t really blame them, given how much societal pressure we put on ‘marks’.
I could go into that, but it probably deserves an entire, more involved, much more well-informed post. Suffice it to say that teachers don’t care about the marks of their students to the extent that students and parents assume they do, and definitely not in the same way. I’ll certainly address that more in the future.
Last busy thing that’s been happening is of course Christmas concerts. One of the things I’m very grateful for in the smaller urban areas of Alberta (and by extension Canada) is the fact that we can actually call it a ‘Christmas concert’ or a ‘Winter concert’, or whatever, without having someone grump at us for being ‘offensive’. After all, what really matters is not what it’s called, or how many cultural/religious groups it pays respect to, but the fact that a bunch of young (or old) musicians have all gathered into one place to make the special magic that is music happen for anyone who wants to listen.