Back to School!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been invited to go and speak at different local secondary schools about blogging, social media management and using social media for business and promotion as part of their ‘Future Friday’ career discussions. I’ve done this sort of thing at a bunch of schools and in workshops for adults and I absolutely love it – even though I’ve been out of a classroom properly for nearly four years it’s always a blast to have a chat with teenagers and young adults who want to learn about what I do, and I get a little kick out of seeing the facial expressions of the younger ones when I tell them that I get paid to go on Facebook.  Continue reading

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Useless Things I Learned in School

One of the benefits of the British Education System is that students are offered lots of opportunities to be introduced to new subjects and ideas and as a teacher I believe that a well-rounded education and a love of learning is important. However, not everything that we learn will have a useful impact on our adult lives, and these will differ depending on our strengths, interests and career choices. Sixteen years after I left school, here are some of the things that I learned and have not used since. Continue reading

Lies I Tell My Students

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I’m in the lucky position that I work at a well – managed school with lots of wonderful children and supportive staff. Generally, I like my job, but over the years I’ve become increasingly frustrated with certain aspects of the role that has left me feeling like I am doing a disservice to my students.

While my job title states that I’m a music teacher, I often take on parental duties and in my career as a Learning Mentor and later as a teacher I’ve dealt with issues with different students that have shocked me and made me appreciate how lucky I was in my own childhood. Our children are exposed to graphic things at a younger age than previous generations and are often more ‘street-wise’ than I certainly ever was. However, despite this, I believe that we don’t truly prepare them for the life ahead of them, and in some cases I feel like I outright lie to my students. While this may seem harsh, we may be setting them up for a fall…

 

liar1Lie 1: If you work hard and follow the expected route of GCSE’s, A Levels and Degree (or equivalent in other countries) you’ll get a well paid, satisfying job.

Truth: While good qualifications may give students a slightly greater advantage in the pursuit of a job, it’s not guaranteed that they will secure the job that they’re actually qualified for, particularly in the present economic climate. Additionally they are almost certainly likely to start at the bottom and will be expected to work their way up.

 

tumblr_m3ggbcT1hv1rrdiwlo2_400Lie 2: If you want something and work hard enough, you’ll eventually achieve it.

Truth: A goal or ambition is always a fantastic thing to have, but it is also important to be realistic. As a music teacher I’ve worked with several students who genuinely believe that they could have a professional singing career (programmes like The X Factor and The Voice have a lot to answer for). Admittedly, they can sing in tune, but even after extensive vocal lessons they haven’t shown much improvement in their expression or musicality and simply don’t have the natural talent that is required to be a successful singer. Ambition is wonderful, but sometimes certain careers require levels of talent that often cannot be taught, and the sad fact of ‘making it’ in the entertainment industry is that sometimes it comes down to not what you know, but rather who you know.

 

tumblr_m8kbsqUdtp1qb9fucLie 3: Once you leave school, you’ll never have to deal with bullying again. (I heard this nonsense spouted a few years ago at a school I was visiting).

Truth: Children that bully often become adults that bully. My current school has a strict anti-bullying policy and responds swiftly to allegations, but this isn’t the case everywhere. It’s likely that students will have to deal with bullies in the workplace, and I feel we need to make aggressive students be responsible for their actions and equip weaker students with the tools to deal with it in the future.

 

tumblr_m4tf1etWU21qm6oc3o1_500Lie 4: A simple apology will make everything go away and all is forgiven.

Truth: An apology is a good start, but it doesn’t automatically make things better. I always believe that each lesson should be treated as a ‘fresh start’ and if student has had a bad day, I’ll accept their apology and move on. However, in the real world, an apology won’t always resolve issues, and if someone had truly felt aggrieved by the behaviour of another they certainly won’t be able to move on and forgive in the same way.

 

Will-Ferrell-Elf-You-Sit-on-a-Throne-of-LiesLie 5: Deadlines can be repeatedly extended if you can’t be bothered and it is still possible to get the same grades as those who have handed their work in on time.

Truth: I’ve lost count of the amount of times where I’ve sat individually with students in my lunch times, after school and during the holidays to allow them to catch up on work that they didn’t fully complete in a lesson because they weren’t ‘in the mood’. After extra time, they passed the course and some achieved a grade equal to those that worked considerably harder during lesson time. In the real world, deadlines are there for a reason, and if they aren’t met there are always consequences. A missed deadline may cost somebody their job.

What are your thoughts? You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Suzie81Speaks

This was originally published on my blog last year – as I approach my year anniversary I thought that I would share it with you again – It has been one of my most popular posts!!

Three Lessons to Go…

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The image doesn’t match, I just thought it was cute…

It’s Friday, it’s payday and it’s the last day of work before Christmas. I’ve sent my cards, given my Secret Santa gift, got my Christmas jumper ready and marked as much as I possibly can. The holidays are just three lessons away and although I’ll spend the majority of it marking and completing data spreadsheets at least I can do so in the comfort of my own home.

Tonight is the staff party, and therefore normal blogging will resume tomorrow, undoubtedly accompanied by an enormous hangover.

Happy Friday!

You can also find me on Twitter @Suzie81blog

Twenty-One Ways To Annoy Your Teacher

Inspired by the latest Freshly Pressed post from The Trombonist’s Mouthpiece, I started thinking about things that irritate me within the classroom on a daily basis. I’ve been a qualified music teacher for seven years now and at times I think I’ve seen and heard it all. I work in a fabulous school with amazing staff and supportive management, but there are still a few occasions where I am still caught off-guard. Most of these are from my own personal experiences or things that my teacher friends have told me over the years. Continue reading