One of my goals after retiring from 35 years as an educator and administrator in the public schools was to reach-out to college music education majors and offer some tips and techniques for preparing for this honorable career.
I have assembled a library of blog-posts on a variety of topics at my website (https://paulfox.blog/), and invite you to peruse the section “Becoming a Music Educator” at https://paulfox.blog/becoming-a-music-educator/.
If you are a junior or senior in college, assigned to field experiences or student teaching, or a recent graduate or transfer looking for a job or otherwise unemployed, I hope I can help you!
Please review the following categorized outlines of links to articles and other resources.
First stop: Tips on Student Teaching.
Also check out these past issues of PMEA Collegiate Communique:
- January 31, 2019
- September 28, 2018
- August 30, 2018 and “Advice for Student Teachers by Jennifer Gonzalez”
“Secrets” for that First Year
- Discounted NAfME + PMEA first-year membership: only $90. (If you are a recent college graduate in your first year of teaching, or if you are the spouse of a current or retired NAfME member, contact NAfME at 800-336-3768 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out if you qualify for a reduced rate.
- PMEA Mentor or other state’s MEA support program for new teachers.
- R3 = Retiree Resource Registry for PA music teachers.
- PMEA Webinars.
- NAfME Academy of numerous videos (only a $20 annual subscription).
- Professional development credits just for reading an article in NAfME Music Educators Journal
- Model Curriculum Framework (Have to be a PMEA member)
- What a deal! PMEA summer conference as little as $30/person. Check out your own state’s MEA discounts and offers for collegiate members and new teachers!
- Numerous helpful blog posts from NAfME Music in a Minuet and paulfox.blog.
Everything… Including the Kitchen Sink
Check out the online resources on the PMEA Council for Teacher Training, Recruitment, and Retention website, free/open to all music teachers. Especially take note of the supplemental links on a variety of topics posted here.
A summary of my re-occurring themes on marketing your professionalism and a few “pet peeves” include the following:
- Create a multi-media digital portfolio, video recording excerpts of your memorable solo, chamber, and ensemble performances, teaching experiences, and other opportunities you have had in working with children of all ages. To the interviews, bring both a printed version and jump drive (the latter to leave with the screening committee) of these artifacts and a list of your other activities, awards, accomplishments, mission/vision, transcripts, music education and class management philosophies, recommendations, etc.
- Take the time to assemble “the stories of your life, work, and teaching experiences” (both successes and the “glitches” or “snags” along the way which you had to resolve) that demonstrate your competencies, relationships with students, personality traits, acquired skills, problem-solving, and maturity.
- Bring to any employment screening your resume, business card, and an e-portfolio referencing a professional website which archives everything in #1 and #2 above.
- Avoid one-word responses or short answers to most interview questions. Instead, seek ways to incorporate the anecdotes you have made ready at your fingertips (#1 above) that model those characteristics a prospective employer is seeking in a music teacher.
- If you want to be the one “in control” of the possible jobs that may come your way, avoid marketing your skills as a “music specialist” (e.g. band director or elementary music teacher). Most degree programs prepare the students for teaching certification in “Music Grades Pre-K to 12.” If you are looking to expand your opportunities, don’t limit your capabilities or options upfront. You CAN teach all forms and levels of music!
- Clean-up and curate your social media sites, treating your Facebook pages as another “personal branding resource.” Experts recommend that “your profile information should reflect integrity and responsibility… You should expand or add content that projects a professional image, shows a friendly, positive personality, demonstrates that you are well-rounded with wide range of interests, and models… great communication skills.” Source: https://paulfox.blog/2019/03/01/collegiates-clean-up-your-social-media/.
- How to your get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice! How do you ace your interview? Practice, practice, practice! Put yourself through “mock interviews” and record and later assess your “performance.” Sample questions are posted at my blog-site.
Collegiates, welcome to the profession!
“Break a leg” at your employment interviews!
Photo credits in order from Pixabay.com:
- “children-violin-street-instruments” by mochilazocultural or Angel Chavez
- “Taiwan-guitar-girl-music-life” by catandway
- “clarinet-musical-instrument-woodwind” by Couleur
- “trumpet-slide-trumpet” by congerdesign
- “big-band-musical-instruments” by KeithJJ
- “maestro-conductor-orchestra-music by Mohamed Hassan
- “woman-office-teacher” by jsoto
- “music-kids-children-play-xylophone” by thedanw
- “choir-church-sing-schonbrunn” by intmurr or Peter Markl
- “wooden-train-toys-train-first-class” by Couleur.
© 2019 Paul K. Fox