patience vs coddling vs proper lesson planning

I think today was the worst day teaching I have had yet. And it was uber short because one of my classes was skiing, and I have a prep. The only class I really taught today was terrible, and I couldn't tell if it was because of how I taught it, or because they were being a pain. And I think it was both.
I think I could have taught it a lot better, on reflection, because I basically started them off on the hardest part of the music we are working on, so I didn't really give them much to feel good about, didn't give them any momentum, and at the same time, they were not taking it well, which maybe is because they are young and immature. Anyways, It was brutal. I didn't like it. Though I guess a bad day fishing is better than a good day working in a mine. But the more I think about it, the more it could have been better had I done things differently. I begin to see now how my 2nd practicum really did prepare me well, much better, when it comes to structuring a lesson. Not only how, but why. The first people ranted about the structure being incorrect all the time, without much explanation of why. Terrible. the 2nd practicum people explained and showed me in the rehearsal time, why it mattered to have a consistent and thoughtful structure. Here's how it works (this is partly for a friend who recently TOC'd a band class)

1. warm up 15% approx
-something they can do easily and that is going to get some technical things working, like fingering and embouchre (mouth)
2. Exercises 25-30%
-this might be from a book, or something that they are also successful at, so they can feel good about their ability, and remember things they have worked on recently. Probably both something from a workbook and some pieces that they know well.
3. The New/Hard piece
-work on the sections in the piece that are difficult. Play the whole thing once, if possible, then do smaller bits, and then try to put them together. (this is a very cursory example/explanation)
4. End with something that you all enjoy, so you can end the class on a high note.

This is actually a reminder for me, because I didn't do this at all today. Probably mostly why today sucked. Ah well.

The original question of my post is now moot, because if I do this, I won't need to decide between patience and coddling. I sometimes wonder if I am coddling the students by enabling disrespectful behaviour, but then when I drill them for it, am I being impatient. It's a weird dichotomy, and I think part of it is that teachers have no real power. There's nothing for the students to fear anymore. Some of them anyways.

It's been a day. But as I said, if I had taught better, it might not be a question I would be asking.


Victoria said...

oi vey. yeah, that band class was a tough day, but I let the kids tell me what they could/couldn't do, and took a class consensus as to what they wanted to play that day. I figured it was better that they were playing at least, rather than just watching a movie the whole block. I also loaded on the praise, partly because I was genuinely impressed at how well they played with such an inept conductor, and also because I could see how much they lit up with the praise. don't we all?

we learn most from our mistakes I think.

Victoria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Farley said...

It's a full moon. that could account for it...:-) hang in.

elizabeth said...

Keep on keeping on! Lesson learned... saw a younger kid choir practice with C. and her boys in Ottawa when I was visiting and it was simply amazing... he had authority .... not power... was very good at positive reinforcement but yet total control of these kids (much younger than your kids) ... C. & M. have a real gift in finding this choir for their kids... ask them about it... may be refreshing to you....

You are doing a great job yourself... I can tell... keep going and prayers for you ;)

theresia said...

o.k., so today was the day of the bummer lesson,hmm. It had to happen someday. And, not surprisingly, it happened on a Monday when some of the school's students were out skiing and the regular order of classes was up in the air for students and teachers left behind. No surprises here that even subconscious tensions existed in classes that were supposed to function "normally". Undoubtedly, in the coming years, you will gain expertise in switching to a more lighthearted Plan B for all kinds of unexpected situations/emotions.
Further,you did what any teacher worth his/her salt does: you asked the questions "HOW" and "WHY",you reflected on student action, on
your own action, and on the lesson plan and you managed to give yourself answers. GOOD. I'm sure you'll make good use of this learning experience!