How communication can get better

I read an article earlier this month about improving communication. Not just saturating the environment with more information, but providing methods of feedback to stakeholders.

I think about this as I read fellow teachers post about communicating with students, staff, administration, parents, community….am I asking the right questions to have two-way lines of communication with stakeholders? I have always said that I can work on communication skills, but my focus has always been on providing as much detail in as many forms possible. I really haven’t ever worked on creating avenues for parents to give information back to me.

Just this morning, I have sent a text message and email to two different sets of parents. As generally is the case, they respond to direct, personal messages. Our district is changing to standards-based education this year, and the information provided to parents will be much different than before. My band parents will know exactly what parts of playing in band their child is successful in and needs to work more on.

My new communication goal is to open up channels for stakeholders to provide feedback. I have put quite a bit of information out there; now it’s time to give folks a chance to respond.

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Two weeks in; am I ready yet?

I haven’t written on my blog for a long time now, and it’s way past time to start reflecting again. Two weeks into my 17th year, I feel much more confident than I did my first year; I’m also (thankfully) just as nervous and excited as I was then. Am I prepared? Do I have all the instruments and music ready? Are my new rubrics going to be effective? Will we be ready┬áto perform at homecoming next week (ALREADY!!!)?

As all the glitches and kinks get worked out, this is no different than any other year. Students show up on the first day ready to learn and discover new things. I am excited to share my love of music with the kids and help them discover their own joy in playing instruments. Some students didn’t have their instruments the first day. I had forgotten to make an extra copy of the music or pass out the right equipment. I just found the last pair of cymbals for the high school drumline, right where they were all along.

Supplies are coming in, the students have their instruments, and we are already moving through the year like Clark Griswold on his sledding saucer. The first couple of weeks always feel like holding on for dear life, but now I can slow down, thoughtfully prepare, and be ready to meet the students’ needs each day. Today feels good. I’m never ready until it’s time to go; that’s why the first game is still a week away and the first concert is 6 weeks away. I’m ready at game time; until then, we work hard, dig out the notes, fix the broken drumhead, and continue learning. I’m sure at some point I’ll need a little of Clark’s special grease, but until then, here’s the next lesson.

Have a great year!