Once upon a time there were a few ways you could improve your teaching in a meaningful way:
- Go to graduate school
- Attend a convention
- Read an article or book
Within the last year, a fourth option came into being:
- Engage in meaningful dialogue with the entire profession, any time of day, 24/7/365
Um, come again?
Truth be told, the Band Directors Group on Facebook does not encapsulate the entire profession. But given the rate of enrollment and the fact that the group now numbers more than 7,000... the thought isn't as crazy as it might have sounded twelve months ago. It's pretty exciting to think we could all be in one "place." But even if not, we already have the critical mass needed to benefit our profession in some exciting ways.
More importantly, members are starting to realize the best way to become a great teacher: By sharing what you know with others. You give away what you have learned, and you get far more in return. Some examples:
- Members are uploading their custom lessons, hand outs, policy documents, rubrics, assessments and more to a centralized File Repository, free for everyone to use and adapt.
- Retired teachers are offering hundreds of years of proven approaches and repertoire suggestions.
- Current teachers are putting their heads together to come up with solid solutions to unique problems shared by other members, including recruitment/retention and administrator conflicts.
- Targeted Professional Learning Communities (PLC) have formed in order to formulate common assessments and share data...even performing some repertoire in common.
- Discussions are being tagged and catalogued for searching...over 1,100 so far...all by volunteers.
Pretty powerful stuff, and we're only just getting started. And all this without any outside influence from the industry. By teachers, for teachers.
Which students deserve a great music teacher? You know the answer...every student deserves a great music teacher. If you haven't joined us yet, stuff your ego in a drawer somewhere and get yourself over to Facebook. We'll be there, ready to brainstorm with you. By sharing what you know, all of our students get a better teacher, which is exactly what they deserve.
P.S. Orchestra and Choir teachers are have figured out the power of online professional development via Facebook as well. And for those looking for all-inclusive venture, check out http://musicpln.org.