Starting a new position can be an exciting and challenging time. Walking into a new job can mean having new resources, living in a new area, working with new students, working with new co-workers, and new responsibilities. Making proper adjustments and positive decisions can make starting your new position easier. Here are six things that every new teacher should consider when starting a new job.
Learn the Staff
The teaching staff at your new place of employment is essential. This is especially true if there is a current band staff that will work under your leadership. The staff can be extremely helpful in assisting you with the many new tasks that you will be faced with. The staff will be able to help guide you on the new system that you will be working in as well as who will be the best people to make major connects with to ensure a smooth transition.
Learn the students
No two students are alike. Each student will come with their own skill set, emotions, and issues. It is important that you learn every student’s name. Calling them by their name can make them feel important since you have taken the time to learn a little something about them. Remember, learning each student’s name will take time, but in the long run, knowing your students by name will make teaching them a little easier. You might think that learning names is just another task but in reality, learning the student’s names will also help you learn about the students on another level. For example, as you learn more about them, it will be easier to know how to work with certain students as well as how to approach each of them.
Implement Changes Slowly
Everyone should have some understanding that change is constant. Change is an area that many people may have a hard time adjusting to, but this will allow for smoother transitions as you develop closer work relationships. Any new person that assumes a new role transitioning in to work with new people should understand that this takes time and cannot be done in one setting. Older peers, especially students are accustomed to things going a certain way year in and year out, will have a great deal of push back as you begin to implement your changes. While these changes may seem futile in the beginning stages, stick to your gut if you have had success in the past. Simple hiccups may occur with a disgruntled student from time to time, but these will diminish with time. Someone may become furious that a procedure has changed from its original genesis of 20 years prior and may become enraged that you do not want them to succeed. However, this outdated process has shown to be a bigger issue to the masses than the few people mad at the change. Always remember to have a plan for change roll-out and stick to it.
Build Relationships with Alumni
A great support system can begin with the assistance of loyal alumni. Alumni are always willing to give aid and support to their alma mater by providing valuable resources through relationships. Establishing strong relationships with alumni will guarantee long-lasting bonds that will develop into gift-giving or donations that will assist in the success of your program. Not only will alumni want to provide as many opportunities financially, but they want to have a sense of community through trustworthy relationships. You can enhance involvement by communicating and inviting alumni to events or showcasing updates of your program with newsletters and emails.
Learn Any and All Traditions
Tradition is an integral part of any school’s experience. Knowing and learning what traditions a program is accustomed to can be vital to the success of the program. Some traditions may include wearing the school’s colors, singing songs or chants, playing traditional school songs, holding a school’s hand sign during the playing of the school’s alma mater or annual events. These could be long-standing traditions that are unique not only to the program but to the overall school. New ideas can modernize some traditions and over time be implemented. Keeping the true essence of a program’s traditions cultivates school pride and creates unique legacies for future generations.
Outline Your Goals for The Program
The first day of meeting and working with your new program is the perfect time to outline your goals for the program. Starting on the first day allows you to set the bar high and show you have high standards. Waiting to set program goals can cause issues with your program as some might feel there is no clear direction or that the program is not working to accomplishing anything. Here are three levels to consider when organizing your goals.
Level 1. Short-Term – These goals are things you are looking to have completed in a few weeks or even months. The short-term goals are just a stepping stone to advancing the program.
Level 2. Focus Goals – The focus goals are things to consider in the long run. Focus goals also allow others to give input on the direction the program should be working to be successful.
Level 3. Personal – Outline your personal goals to your organization and also allow those participating in your organization to explain what they plan to do to better themselves for the sake of the program.
These three levels are just examples and can be expanded on every year. The key is to start early, set the standard high, and never give up on working to make your program a success.
Patrick Moore is the Director of Bands at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina and is an active percussion performer, educator, arranger, adjudicator, and clinician. Moore is a versatile percussionist with experience in many areas of percussion. Patrick is an education endorser of Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and Majestic percussion.
Albert J. Shuler serves as the Arranger and Assistant to the Director of Bands of the Marching “101” Band at South Carolina State University. Mr. Shuler earned his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Music Industry from South Carolina State University and is currently work toward his Masters of Music Degree.
Eric Williams is the Band Compliance Coordinator/ Equipment Inventory Technician for University Bands at South Carolina State University. Mr. Williams is no stranger to music and has a passion for music that is resilient and loves to see students excel to their fullest potential and leave nothing to be desired.
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