Apologizing General by Joel Wagner - February 21, 2008July 2, 20103 So on Tuesday, I wrote about an incident I had where I was awfully sarcastic with a student and it upset him. I received some great comments. The conversation is continuing over there. If you haven’t chimed in, now would be a great time to do so. And better yet, subscribe to receive comments so you don’t have to keep going back to check and recheck. So what did I do? How did I respond on Wednesday? Well, basically, I started out the percussion class by having them all sit in a row. I got them quiet and talked with them some. I asked them what some things were that they would change. As I expected, the most common responses were of the “Don’t yell at us” or “Don’t use the word stupid” or “Don’t make people cry” variety. I changed the way I am approaching the percussion class. It makes my life less stressful. Instead of working the music in class, I am giving them more responsibility to learn the concert music on their own, and I am working with the entire class on technique and rhythm reading skills. I will get some percussion ensembles together to work on soon also. This allows everyone to participate, thus eliminating the time that they can misbehave. I changed the way I am approaching the percussion class. It makes my life less stressful. Then I actually apologized to two students for being rude to them. One was the one I mentioned yesterday, and the other one is failing 6 of his 7 classes. I mentioned that more than once in the class. Everything inside of me wanted to call them into my office and talk with them privately. Then I realized that I had basically publicly humiliated them, so I ought to publicly humble myself by telling them I was sorry in front of the whole class. They’re 7th grade boys, so hopefully they will understand that I intended no harm. So what about the principal meeting? It hasn’t happened yet. He had an appointment at 3:00 today that he was going to try to reschedule. While I was in the office, they told me that he had a 3:00 meeting. So I guess he didn’t reschedule. No big deal. I’ll talk with him soon, I’m sure. Joel WagnerJoel 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.