Surviving Your First Few Years of Teaching (TBA Archives)

Are you in your first few years of teaching? Do you know someone who is? This is great advice!

The TBA Archives refer to the Texas Bandmasters Association archives of clinic handouts from past conventions.  Conventions are one of  the best ways to learn new things, spark new ideas, ask questions and be inspired.  The only problem is all of that new knowledge is thrown at us in about a 48 hour window and it’s hard to retain much of it.

The TBA archives are a great resource on-line that can be beneficial to use when you have time to remind you of things you learned at conventions. It can also give you some ideas you may have missed out on if you weren’t able to attend convention.

In these posts on we will choose a clinic handout that can give you good ideas even without the actual presentation.  We’ll highlight a few great quotes we noticed and give you the link to the full handout. Clinicians spend a lot of time preparing the handouts and they can be a wonderful resource if they don’t get lost in a pile on your desk.  I will try not to comment or analyze because I don’t want to misinterpret the clinician’s meaning.

Today’s Highlighted Clinic:
Surviving Your First Few Years of Teaching
Rylon Guidry, Steve Lisko, Tiffany Lisko, Jennifer Wren, Joel Wren

Your mentor needs to be someone that you will feel comfortable sharing your struggles and weaknesses with.  Schedule your mentors to see you teach and hear your group many times during your school year to establish consistency. Make time outside of class to discuss feedback – not just about the class, but about you and your teaching.

Become Friends with Your Co-Workers
Reaching out to your co-workers will help to strengthen your team teaching and establish trust with one another. This can also include other directors in your school district. Try to create some time to socialize that doesn’t always include “work talk.”


  • Communication – calendars, grading and participation expectations should always be clearly communicated. Find multiple ways to keep your parents in touch.
  • Invite parents to chaperone on trips. It’s a GOOD thing for them to see you in action.
  • Pick the right battles with parents.
  • Even though it’s hard…admit that something might be your fault when it is.

Being a Good Assistant

  • Be a “kid magnet”
  • Write things down and take notes!
  • Anticipate things that you can handle on your own.
  • Be dependable, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Take ownership in things of which you are in charge.
  • Be in other band rehearsals when you are free.  Offer to help in any way possible.

Find Groups Better than Yours

  • Listen to recordings
  • Take time to go watch other teachers (in the classroom, as well as performances)
  • Volunteer to organize a region band and observe the clinician’s teaching style

Other topics covered in this handout include:
The never-ending to-do list, keeping the “me” time, Keep in touch with college friends, Administration, Transitioning to a new position, Being a good head director, Find groups better than yours, No excuses!, Programming, Be organized, Establish procedures, Be patient, and Get involved in your profession.

Click HERE to read the entire clinic.
There are lots of gems I haven’t mentioned here.

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Related Reading:
Lessons from Almost a Half-Century of Teaching
Why Are My Clarinets Playing Flat?
Making Administration your Ally
So I Teach at a Low Socioeconomic School…Now What?

Learn. Share. Inspire.


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