Are you a Fun Music Teacher?
Seriously… are you?
I’m not just talking about if you’re a customer, client or friend of the Fun Music Company of course! If you are a client of ours then of course you have some wonderful materials, but this is talking about a lot more than just what materials you use.
I’m talking about if you see yourself as a Fun Music Teacher!
Most of the music teachers I know are some of the most “fun” people in their schools. They have to be! Lets face it, the music teacher is the one who has to pull together the band to play the national anthem, they have to make the choir sound good for the annual concert on little or no rehearsals… and they have to pull together the entire school musical and make it amazing with not very much budget.
Through all of this – they have to be Fun!
Stock image – istockphoto.com
You can see the joy in the children’s faces in this stock photograph. This is the kid of joy that we all want to capture in our teaching, every single day.
So here at the Fun Music Company we encourage all of our customers, clients, and colleagues we serve to take on the identity of a Fun Music Teacher and really embrace being “fun” in the classroom.
Does this mean that you can’t be taken seriously?
No – absolutely not!
Some of the most successful people in the world rate “fun” as one of the most important things in their lives.
Take for example, Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group, who runs multi-million dollar companies. Richard writes:
“Fun is one of the most important — and underrated — ingredients in any successful venture,”
Fun is a really important part of life. If we aren’t enjoying something … then we want to stop doing it!
Everyone knows this – yet at school we think we have to be serious teachers!
We think that students won’t respect us and won’t follow our instructions if we’re not tough and strict on them.
However, actually, students can and will respect us when we are having fun with them.
Human beings are naturally wired to have fun. Your students walk into your classes ready, willing and looking to have fun.
They’ll either have fun and laugh WITH you… or they’ll have fun and laugh AT you – while your back is turned.
I know that is harsh, but its true.
So can you make yourself be a fun person?
I believe that absolutely yes, you can!
I believe every single person is made to be fun.. and our fun is somehow beaten out of us after years of focus on the wrong things.
Being “fun” isn’t something that is a special gift of just one or two people – it is something that we all have within us – we just have to find it!
So I thought I’d share three things to make yourself be a more fun music teacher:
1. You can make an effort to learn some jokes to share with your students.
Do you know how the best comedians get to be on TV?
Do you think they just ring up a TV station and say “hey.. I’ve got a comedy routine and I’ve just started – will you put me on national TV?. Of course not!
When you see a comedians routine on TV you’re actually watching something that has been tested, tried and edited many, many times.
What they’ll do is go out to a stand-up comedy club and they’ll test out ten jokes. Of those ten jokes, maybe two will get some laughs.
So then next time, they’ll keep the two jokes that worked,.. and add another eight jokes. Then.. this time maybe one of the new ones might work.. so now the’ve got three great ones.
And so on… They’ll keep testing their routine.. trying all the jokes and working really hard to get them perfect, and then maybe one day they’ll get picked up and asked to be on TV.
So why did I tell you that?
It’s because its not a gift.
Telling jokes is something that you have to work at.
Look up jokes on the internet every day you can. Write down five new ones in your diary every week and practice them. Work hard at it, and like everything.. it will improve!
2. You can see the lighter side of a situation… and change the words you use.
Being “Fun” is not just telling jokes. How “fun” you’re seen by your students and your colleagues will also be reflected in how you handle challenges.
What happens when you get something not-so-good happens to you?
Do you get mad, frustrated, angry, livid, irate or exasperated?
What if you just changed the words you use to describe the experience?
Perhaps if you catch yourself saying.. “this makes me really ANGRY!”
you could say:
“this makes me slightly annoyed”
How would it change?
The event itself hasn’t changed.
However your emotion around the event changes, and the mood of everyone around you will lift, and the problem might not seem so bad.
Yes, something can really make you ANGRY inside.. and its not easy to brush it off and say that it makes you only slightly annoyed – however it is worth it.
If you’re interested in this area, then have a read or listen to some of Anthony Robbins’ work on transformational vocabulary to learn more about this.
3. You can teach yourself to focus on what is great before you give a criticism.
This is something that we all do as teachers – and we should do a lot more!
How many times have you offered a criticism of something before telling the person how great it was?
Too many, I bet.
I know that I have.
I do it all the time… with my family and my children.
I’m so keen for them to get something perfect that when my daughter brings her work for me to proofread the first words out of my mouth are “this sentence here is missing some punctuation”… because I can see the mistake.
However I’ve forgotten something really important.
What i’ve forgotten is that my daughter is standing in front of me.
Her work is actually amazing.. its already “A” standard work, and just needs a few tiny little bits tidied up.
So in that moment I’m in such a hurry to tell her the mistake, that I forget to tell her how amazing the work is!
When she hears my little correction, what her brain could hear is “My work is terrible” … “I’m going to fail”.. instead of the truth, that her work is already excellent.
Instead… then way I should respond when my daughter brings me her work is like this:
“Hey this is amazing work. I love the way you ____________(did something great in it). I think this is already going to get you a really great mark, however there are a few little punctuation things that could get it to the next level … would you like me to show you where they are?”
When I was teaching I didn’t do this enough. I tried to, but I would forget. I would be in such a hurry to make improvements and help the students, that in assessments and in lessons I would forget this. However this is just so important – and it helps students feel empowered and they will get enjoyment from what they are doing.
In one way enjoyment, fulfillment and fun are all essentially the same thing.
Its what we’re looking for in our students – we want them to have fun and be fulfilled as music students, and help us be fulfilled in our jobs.
So be a #FunMusicTeacher today! Here at the Fun Music Company we will keep on publishing a lot more articles, lists of #FunMusicJokes and #FunMusicIdeas to help you – so watch this space for more, and use the comment box below to add more ideas on how to be a #FunMusicTeacher in your classroom.