Year: 1996-1997
Month: October
Leader: Group B

Situation/Case Study:

A music teacher described a current situation where she sees 7 students and transitioning them from class and into class is like herding cattle. She must spend an inordinate amount of time asking kids to be quiet. It's no fun! The music teacher is not respected by the kids and it is very frustrating for the teacher. The sixth grade is most challenging and trying to do middle school curriculum designed for a trimester on an elementary schedule is very difficult.


Theories behind practice:
Consult with other resources. It may be helpful to talk to another experienced teacher who has a similar schedule or who has had one. Ask about behavior management and organization strategies that he/she might use. Begin a behavior modification program to retain their behavior with clear expectations and some logical consequences.

Impact on others:
Is there any support from the classroom teacher? Is there any kind of support? The classes are back to back and greeting the coming class is impossible as you are dismissing the previous class and setting up for the in-coming class. It is necessary to put away materials and set up new materials. Students don't see the music teacher as a real teacher. Students don't cooperate.

Observe an experienced teacher in music at a different school. Retrain one behavior at a time, i.e., coming and going. Have something on the board to focus their attention when they come in to the class. Shape desired behavior with a reward system. Meet with the kids and set objectives for the new year. Set clear expectations and work on one thing at a time, respect, but define it for your setting. Meet with the kids who are most disruptive and give them a leadership role and use peer pressure. Kids need to pick up on your enthusiasm, your love and joy in music. Write notes to kids to let them know you appreciate their contributions and any improvement they are making. Personalize involvement. Write notes back to homeroom teacher/principal, i.e., "Class was cooperative today". Use humor with the students, especially the older ones, when you can; laugh with them.

Christmas break will help sort things out. The discussion and feedback as well as suggestions feel supportive. There is a very real difficulty in not having a mentor in the building. There are lots of ideas and this feels helpful; there are many helpful ideas from the group.