Teacher Development

Weekly Teaching Tip – August 15, 2011

This week’s teaching tip is rather obvious, but often overlooked so I feel it is worth mentioning. There is an old saying, “In order to lift someone, you must first be on higher ground yourself.” As teachers often times our students have better voices than we do, however we can still teach them. Even Tiger Woods has a golf coach. Is the golf coach better than Tiger? No, but the coach understands the ins and outs and can help the golfer improve his game. The same is true with us. The best teachers I have had were not the greatest singers or musicians. Often times the greatest musicians are just natural. They have a gift. However, we can still help them improve and use their gift better. In order to do this, however, we must be able to demonstrate proficiently enough to get our point across.

I have observed that quite often teachers get so busy teaching others that they neglect their own voices and development. They don’t vocalize and continue to improve their voice constantly and as a result they are less effective teachers because they cannot demonstrate as effectively. We don’t have to be the greatest singers in the world to be the best teachers, but we must sing well enough to be able to demonstrate effectively. Often times students will imitate what they hear. As a result, if we are not demonstrating properly they will make the same mistakes in their voice that they hear in ours. The best teachers are constantly learning and improving themselves. We all need feedback from a teacher we trust no matter how long we’ve been teaching. The teacher that continues to learn, grow and improve guarantees that they will be a teacher that remains effective and becomes an even stronger teacher.

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