Each of us finds ourselves teaching differently than a year ago. How’s that for an absurd understatement? Our “classroom” may be a computer screen or a dozen students spread out in a gymnasium. Our proximity to our students may be 6 feet away or may be miles away through a virtual platform. “Handing out” music may now be giving students a website address or emailing them a link. Even actions such as unsticking a trumpet valve – that in the old days would have been as effortless and simple as breathing air – must now be thought through with the lens of safety if you’re teaching in person, or logistics if you are teaching remotely. Heck, you may even find yourselves attending faculty meetings or parent-teacher conferences in pajama bottoms! But one thing has not changed. One thing will never change. No matter your teaching circumstances, no matter anything: that our success – and more important – our students’ success – ultimately depends on this simple sentiment: We must “show up” with excitement instead of frustration. Do we have reason to be frustrated? Yes. Do we have reason to be way more than frustrated? Absolutely! But we all know that’s not what our students need. They need us to be as excited about music, teaching, education, and them as we always have been. I wish those words were as easy to do as they were to write in this blog. Our showing up with frustration does little for our students or our mission. Us showing up with excitement can make all the difference in a child’s life, let alone learning. That, my friends, will never change. And that’s why you are so important in the lives of all those who look at you from a socially-distanced room or computer screen and call you teacher.
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education