Reader Appreciation: Joel

With all of the great responses I have read with the Reader Appreciation Month, I decided to go ahead and fill out the survey as well.

sywtt2009Name: Joel
Location: The border of Texas and Mexico
Occupation: Middle School Band Director
Blog: So You Want To Teach?

Tell me some of your favorite things about your job
Inspiring children. Spreading my passion for music, life, and learning. Watching the students grow year after year. Recruiting kids into my program. Being creative with the music. Transforming students from knowing nothing about how to play an instrument to being able to perform complicated (for them) music by the end of the year. Demonstrating the value of long-range planning to achieve crazy cool results. Guiding students to success, both individually and through group work. Marketing those successes. I think Jonathan said it best when he said he feels like a game show host at times. It’s something like a mix of game show host, stand up comedian, dad, vaudeville juggler, and sports play-by-play commentator.

One of the greatest benefits I have personally received from the job is that it has helped me to overcome my fear of public speaking (concerts for lots of parents are great about that). I’ve had students tell me that I should be an actor, preacher, and English teacher (I correct grammar frequently).

Tell me some things you loved about your favorite teacher(s)
Discipline. Knowledge of the subject matter. Passion for the subject matter. Inspired leadership. Confidence. They had a real connection with and a genuine interest in the students. They were problem solvers, rather than simply problem identifiers.

Words that do not describe my favorite teachers are: pushover, bored, boring, unorganized, undisciplined, disassociated, complaining.

List some of your most effective classroom management strategies

  1. Love your students above all else
  2. Demonstrate love by not letting them misbehave
  3. Accept responsibility for everything that happens in your classroom, whether good or bad
  4. Assume the role of a benevolent dictator in the classroom
  5. Do not try to make the kids like you; as you make them behave, they will like you
  6. Do not give in to every request, “This isn’t Burger King, you don’t have it your way all the time”
  7. Give in to some requests when it is educationally appropriate, “Fine, this is Burger King, have it your way”
  8. Do not be afraid to make kids call their parents and explain their misbehaviors during class; it’s amazing how much that fear of being found out does to your overall class behavior
  9. Do not be afraid to ask parents for help in the classroom or with events
  10. Keep parents informed about what is going on in your classroom (I first set up an email list, then turned it into a blog with email subscriptions)
  11. Stop whatever you are doing whenever you see something remarkable happening in the classroom and point it out
  12. Catch the students doing something right; if that doesn’t happen, lower your expectations for what they should do, and find someone who exceeds the expectations
  13. Relentlessly pursue classroom management
  14. Study leadership and be a leader (J. Oswald Sanders says that leadership is influence)
  15. Implement some of my 25 Tips For Less Stress because a stress-free teacher is more likely to remain focused on teaching
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Name (up to) three other blogs that you frequently visit/subscribe

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

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