Don't Sweat the Small Stuff Mindset...

Hello everyone! This is Karla from CMajorLearning.  I don't know about you but this past summer just flew by and here I am having just finished my 3rd week of teaching in the 2015-16 school year!

As with any start to the school year, it comes with mixed feelings!  I LOVE my job and what I get the privilege to do everyday but I also LOVE being home with my family during the summer as I'm sure many of you do too!

With this school year, I told myself that I'm not going to 'sweat the small stuff' and that I'm going to not let myself get overwhelmed with all the expectations placed upon myself, both from my district and my own personal expectations.  Thus far, I have been doing very well - some of my teaching 'stuff' (class lists, charts, diagrams, schedules etc) were not ready as early as I would have liked them to be but it was not a deal breaker!  My lessons plans have been written in a timely fashion and they are looking good if I do say so myself!  I'm enjoying the time in class with my students as well as working with some amazing colleagues!

In my "don't sweat the small stuff" mindset, I decided that I was not going to get worked up about the evaluation system and the pre testing that had to be done with my 2nd graders.  WOW was this a GREAT stress relief - when I finally let myself think it!!  I gave the written part of the test on lesson number 3 with my 2nd graders and am currently on lesson plan number 4 where I'm doing the individual performance assessment portion.  The kids are working hard and having a great attitude about it and think this is due to several factors:

These 2nd graders are now used to the world of pre and post testing - really! This is year 3 in my district of using the student data portion for evaluation and this is their third year of school, they just get it!

I tried to stress to my students that this really is a tool for me to know what they have already learned and what I need to teach them.  

I told the students that if they didn't know something or found it to be very confusing, it was not a big deal! Some of the things they were seeing we haven't done yet in music class! So they shouldn't really know it yet! I'm happy to say that I did not have one tear shed this year!  (Also - I have 310 second graders!)

I tried to give very clear and concise directions as we were getting supplies, doing the test and then cleaning up.

I made sure to leave time for a game at the end of class - one of their favorites of course!

I have done these things in the past, but not with conscious thought as to why I was doing them nor had I been in the 'don't sweat the small stuff' mindset.  I really think it mattered!  The students did pretty much how I expected them to do on the assessments - so there is room to grow! I'm confident that they will be successful learners and the post tests will show some amazing growth!

I encourage all of you to reflect on your beginning of the year teaching and mindset - not just the what (concepts and skills) and how (repertoire, songs, games, stratigies) you are doing it but the why.  Make their music time joyful, no matter if you are doing mandated testing or preping or practicing an element.  The students will not remember every detail of their time in music class but they WILL remember how they felt about being in your class and that feeling will last a lifetime!

Good luck everyone and ENJOY what you get the privilege to do every day!

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