Why do I have this?

Hello Internet,

I’ve been thinking of starting this blog for awhile now. I was originally planning to do start next August, but why, oh why wait if I have an idle hour and a half on a Friday afternoon?

My name is Stephanie and I teach music at a public school. I want to keep most of who and where I am private, but it’s probably important to know that I live in California, a huge state with a ton of diversity, many English learners, and a very long teacher credentialing/induction process. Usually it takes 3 years to obtain a clear teaching credential, but for me it has taken 5. I just turned in my final portfolio this past Monday.

The reason I’ve decided to start this is because of one of the prompts in my portfolio. It asked me to reflect on my progress toward goals I made that aligned with the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTPs). The note was really what captured my attention:

Continuous professional learning and ongoing progress on CSTP developmental levels is not expected to conclude solely over the course of an inquiry cycle. All teachers should understand that certain areas may take years to develop into the more advanced levels, as aspired to and reflected upon throughout a career in education.

So there is that. Here is my personal challenge, though: I’m a music teacher. Even with a certificate from the state of California that says, “I’m a real teacher!” the reality is that I will not grow using the same avenues my core subject colleagues use. I need to reflect in my own space because there isn’t really a place for me to do it when the other teachers are working on testing strategies.

I have a few ideas of how I want to use this blog and how I want to continue my teaching growth past the “required” stages. One way is that I can look at one or two Teaching Standards and periodically reflect on them throughout the weeks and years. I want to keep track of strategies I’ve used with certain groups and what worked about them, and what didn’t. And finally, I want to use this blog as a place where I can compile some personal research ideas. I have an idea for a research project I would really like to look into–I want to collect videos of music lessons taught all throughout California, or maybe just locally, maybe all ages, maybe just the grades I teach, I don’t know–and keep track of what exactly they teach. And the language structures they use.

Because that feels like one of my biggest challenges right now, as someone who grew up speaking English and reading tons of books. What language structures reach my English learners without watering down the message? My most musical music teachers used metaphors and similes and phrases like, “Lean into this note.” How do you teach musicality when there is a language barrier?

I figure if I could acquire some videos of other teachers who teach groups similar in age and ethnic background to mine, and survey how they spend their time in class and what they focus on when they teach, maybe I could find a solution for myself.

So that’s one thing. I figure if I lay the plans out and publish them on the Internet, I will actually follow the plans. I think I must.

I want to keep track of all of my class components. That will be another use for this. It may not be the most interesting read, but I need a way to keep all ideas in one place. Maybe this is the solution.

I could spend a lot of time talking about a lot more, but I must get ready for a student performance tonight. It was nice to meet you, all 2 of you that might accidentally stumble on this.

Stephanie

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