My goal was to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students in the classroom. In order to acheive this goal, I came up with several assignments that students could choose to cover the same material. I began the year by having students come up with their goals so that we could design the program to meet their needs and goals. From there, they selected the program that best fit their needs; either solo performance, group performance, theory, or songwriting. Then, students would work with me or our hired coaches in smaller groups so that I could differentiate based on interest, instrument, and skill level. In addition to this, I also differentiated instruction by allowing students to select their own music so that they could choose repertoire they were interested in learning and also repertoire that would fit their skill level.
In my final CSTPs, I grew in almost every category. The category that I improved the most in was Planning Instruction and Designing Learning Experiences for All Students probably because this directly tied into my year long goal. The one area that I feel I did not grow much was in Assessing Student Learning as I did not change my practice much this year in this way. I would like to try to integrate more technology into my assessments and have students do some self-reflection/assessment as well. One way I surprised myself is how I have grown in my flexibility as an instructor. When I first started teaching, I would stress about every little problem, but now I can easily solve problems without letting them bother me.
"I am always amazed at how many different things are going on in the classroom simultaneously and Tiana is just able to jump right into each and give them the direction students need."
Professional Goal: Managing a Growing Program
As the program continues to grow, I need to start making adjustments to manage it. So far, I have been doing everything by myself and am running myself ragged trying to keep up with all the events. With more classes, I am going to need more help and better organization. Here are some things I plan to do to help the program run smoothly and to give the students the education they deserve.
First off, having two Music Industry classes and three choirs will make everything run so much more smoothly because I will be able to finally work with students at the appropriate ratios and levels. This will allow me to make lesson plans that will be appropriate for the students in the class and this will be so much better for my advanced and struggling students who I am not able to fully serve right now. This will also allow me to change my grading policies and assignments to better fit the needs of the students in the class. I hope we can make this happen! Even if numbers are low now, this is going to be so much better for the future of our program as we can find a proper fit for all students.
In addition to this, I have a few more personal goals. I will create parent committees to delegate work such as advertising, parent communication, website maintenance, event planning, and chaperone management. Having less busy work will free up my time so I can better focus on my teaching. I also plan to work more closely with our booster treasurer to think of fundraising opportunities and plan budgeting for the year so that we can provide the best equipment and opportunities for the students. Further, I plan to develop more of a working relationship with the feeder schools and better relationships with Edison staff members so that we have a united plan for the students. Finally, I am going to find a better way to organize my filing system so I can easily keep track of my papers.
Remaining Connected as a Professional Educator
In order to remain connected as a professional educator I am planning to keep up with new teaching strategies and also continue learning about musical developments over the years. I plan to attend at least one workshop or conference a year to help me stay on top of this. I will also do my own personal research and continue to collaborate with other educators both in the district and accross the country through forums run by ACDA and NAfME. In addition to this, I am going to be taking lessons on multiple instruments to further develop my skills and model the value of lifelong learning for my students. Further, I am hoping to get my masters in Jazz Studies in the next couple of years to continue learning about the intricacies of jazz, digital music, and recording techniques.
My Advice to a New Teacher
1) Don't Reinvent the Wheel
Talk to your colleages, steal lesson plans, and modify them to fit your needs in the classroom.
2) Form Relationships with your Students
Students may not remember your content, but they will remember how they felt about it. Knowing your students will help you to find ways to make the content meaningful to your students and it will peak their interest in your class.
3) Ask for Help and Build a Support System
You will not know the solution to every problem. Seeking advice from mentors and building a community of people that you can go to when you are struggling will help you through the tough times. Your staff wants you to succeed so don't be afraid to ask questions!
Balancing Personal and Professional Life
Balancing personal and professional life has always been a challenge for me because I am very passionate about what I do. However, in order to "sustain the energy it takes to be passionate about students, teaching, and learning," I plan on making changes to the way my program is run and also to keep reminding myself of my philosophy of teaching and the importance of positivity. First, I plan to delegate many of the organizational tasks I am currently taking on to students and parent volunteers. This will give them more investment in the program and will allow me to spend my time working on teaching rather than organizing events. I also will stop working after 9pm on week days and make sure to keep one day a week free from work so that I can stay healthy and refreshed. Finally, I will make sure that I continually stay positive and remember why I decided to be a teacher so that I don't let the small issues get in the way of my values and my love for teaching. Going back and reading my philosophy of teaching helps to keep me grounded and reminds me that my ultimate goal is to help these students find their passion and help them to reach their goals.
Find out more about the Edison High School Music Programs
To learn more about the events we have done this year, see a calendar of upcoming events, and hear samples of music by our students, visit our