Excerpts from "Continuing the Journey," an article by Dr. Charles T. Menghini, published in School, Band and Orchestra Magazine.
What began as a several-week stop gap measure to ensure limiting the spread of the virus so life could get back to normal ended up being a new chapter in educational history and how schools would end the year. The popular belief was with three months between then and the start of school in the fall, surely the virus would end, and we would resume our normal, face-to-face system of instruction. Wrong!
COVID-19 obviously missed the meeting and is still around and causing havoc. As it continues to linger and, in some areas, escalate, our levels of insecurity and uneasiness are at an all-time high. School is right around the corner. We hear conflicting reports in the media. There is no “one size fits all” to the direction education will take. If you have not already done so, it is time to develop a plan – and perhaps several plans – because just as sure as we “zig,” things will “zag.” Your plan should include three key sections: resources, communication, and implementation.
In March of this year, I had only heard of Zoom. Now “Zoom” has become a verb. There are so many other resources to explore such as Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Essential Elements Interactive, Noteflight, YouTube – the list goes on and on. Talk to your colleagues and expand your list of potential resources that might be available. The advice being offered is when you hear of something, write it down, do some research and determine how it might be able to help you in your teaching situation.
The need for communication with all of our constituencies is greater now than ever. Think of them as the five food groups: administration, colleagues, parents, students, and community.
Share success stories with your administrators. Become a beacon of light in their dark world. Creating a positive communication flow with your administrators will result in your emails and phone calls being welcomed....With challenge comes opportunity. Seize the opportunity to communicate with your community on how you are teaching music with your students.
As we look to the future, the only thing for certain is nothing is for certain. As teachers and especially music teachers, we are a resilient bunch. We know first-hand how music education can influence lives. We are a product of that experience. That knowledge is what inspires us and sustains us. Think back about your journey; from the first day you were handed your first instrument to today, and how music has been with you every step of the way. It is almost time to continue that journey, school is about to begin, and that journey includes passing on the gift of music to the next generation of students.