Standard #10: Leadership and Collaboration
Typically when one thinks of a leader he imagines someone who is authoritative, demanding, and has a very strong personality. However, a true leader is someone who actively goes out of her way to help her peers, colleagues, and students. A leader is also someone who is a good listener and knows how to make difficult decisions for the good of the group, or more specifically the students. Furthermore, a leader knows how to collaborate with others to come up with the best possible solution or goal and can guide his students towards success. A teacher who also makes a great leader actively seeks out opportunities to serve the community, whether it be on a school board, helping with a community fundraiser, or doing research that promotes creativity and innovation within the professional community of educators.
One of the most prevalent leadership experiences I’ve had at BSU was when I served as the trumpet section leader for the Pride of Mid-America Marching Band in 2012 and 2013. Interacting with my fellow section leaders and squad leaders helped me understand how to communicate my needs and concerns with my colleagues in an efficient and professional manner, as well as how to reach solutions that served the needs for the entire band. The experience also taught me about how to delegate tasks and deliver information quickly, as well as how to teach or guide a group when I had little prep time.
As public education systems have grown, so too have their needs to accommodate diverse student bodies. More and more school systems are raising funds and developing programs to serve students with disabilities and even help them learn in mainstream classrooms. Music educators who encounter students with disabilities in their classroom must understand that many families and the students may be under enormous financial and emotional stress, and that communication with the student’s team is essential. Traveling to band competitions, purchasing or renting an instrument, or even reading sheet music or being in a loud environment can all cause undue stress on the child and his family. Therefore, accommodations must be thought of in advance to help the child be successful and have a meaningful music experience. A teacher can help alleviate some of the stress by studying a student’s IEP or 504 plan, observing the student in the music classroom or in other classrooms, and communicating with that student’s family, aids, and teachers to help develop the best course of action for that student.
Networking and cultural awareness are vital not only in education, but in other disciplines as well. Understanding the history of the community and school one is teaching in is important in how effectively he can present his ideas. While political correctness or conforming to societal pressures are somewhat extreme, one must be sensitive to and aware of the ideals and beliefs of the community. Joining local organizations, developing relationships with colleagues and parents, and being active in one’s community can help build rapport, develop cultural awareness, and help in assimilating into a possibly different community from your own.
Throughout my pursuit of music, I have had the opportunity to make many great friends and acquaintances that will help me improve not only in education, but in my personal life as well. Many of them are musicians or educators themselves who understand the value in professional partnerships. Additionally, my EDMUL 205 class requires us to visit the Boys and Girls Club of Muncie once a week. This experience at the B&G Club has exposed me to some of the culture of Muncie, and I enjoy getting to help out the community and meet new people.
Organizations such as the N.B.A. and N.A.f.M.E. will be crucial in my pursuit for educational partnerships; furthermore, I trust that my present and future peers will be indispensible when it comes to any questions I may have or help I may need when I begin my profession. I’m excited for what lies ahead and who I will meet.