Jamie kindly shared some of her perspective on student teaching and the first year of teaching.
I have so much to say, but not enough room to write. Please feel free to contact me at anytime: jamieruckerATmacDOTcom
The first day/week:
I would recommend sitting in with the kids rather than sitting off in a corner for the first week.....Don't be afraid to sit on the floor with them! You will get to know them by "playing" and they will respect and look up to you. You will learn from your cooperating teacher by being engaged in her music class....And like Molly Weaver always says "We learn by DOING". She is absolutely correct.
Make it a personal goal to learn 1-5 names each class. Take notes... draw pictures if you have to. Associate them with a trait they posses like "Booger Bobby" or" Jumping Jillian." Finally, ASK QUESTIONS... Ask them even if they feel simple.
Repertoire and Paperwork:
Learn where to find repertoire. Trust me, you didn't get enough pieces to fill a year with k-5 at WVU. Ask your co-op about good publishers, arrangers, arrange something yourself and try it out, ask him/her to leaf through his/her pieces, and make yourself a binder of good repertoire. In that binder, take notes on why they are good pieces. (EX: good for steady beat, good for rhythmic notation)
Learn how to fill out paper work and do administrative things. Ask if you can fill out some of your co-ops paperwork. Get used to doing it because sometimes it seems like that's all you do when you get a job. Talk to him/her about budget. Although not all schools are the same, it is nice to know how some schools budget for music. Then... ask what are good ways to use the budget.... especially if you walk into a situation with NOTHING.
It's all about the kids:
This is my 3rd year of teaching. I taught elementary music for a year and am now teaching high school band. No matter the age, kids need us. Especially in music because it is the one time of week or day that they get to express themselves and get away from all that is standardized testing. This is the best thing I can leave you with... and I remind myself of this EVERYDAY... " It's all about the kids!" This is why we are teachers... cause we all know it ain't about the money!
As a student teacher, you are learning too. You learn from the kids and you are learning from your co-op. Sometimes I think student teachers (I know I did) get so wrapped up in themselves. Asking questions like:
How am I teaching...
Was it ok to say that?...
Hows my singing?.....
Do I look dumb?...
Is my personality to lax or too bubbly right now?
The kids are talking... I must suck.
But when it comes down to it... IT'S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS.
(say this everyday!)
Rephrase these questions:
Did the kids learn from me?
Is my personality/energy appropriate for this lesson and for the kids?
Are the students engaged?
The students are acting a little wild, is it because I am talking really loudly today?
Are the kids talking right now because of my pacing?
Be on time!
Be flexible!(it's kids!They are totally unpredictable so, adapt)
Do your job!
Good Luck to you!!!!
Jamie Rucker (Groves)
Jamie, thanks so much for taking time to share!