Personal development is a way of life for students of human potential. Much like practicing a musical instrument to attain mastery, outstanding educators are always fine-tuning their communication skills and seeking more efficient and effective ways of bringing knowledge to their students. The combining of the contemporary findings of leadership with traditional teaching techniques has offered an exciting new frontier of possibilities.
There is an ever-growing amount of data confirming that the educator can program his or her personality to ensure a higher degree of success in daily classes. Just as a pilot is required to go through a pre-flight checklist prior to flying a plane, the teacher should have a pre-class checklist prior to standing in front of his or her students.
- Will my present attitude promote a positive learning atmosphere?
- Are all my thoughts focused on creating an educational experience throughout the class?
- Do I exemplify the standards of excellence I expect from my students?
- Am I properly prepared to make the best use of time by highlighting the growth of every student?
- Have I dismissed my own agenda of personal considerations so that classes will be directed toward serving students in a disciplined format of measured learning?
It is assumed that there will be an affirmative answer to these important pre-class questions, just as the pilot assumes that the airplane is mechanically ready to endure the requirements of flight. However, the mere process of reminding ourselves of the importance of our state of mind and the impact it will have on what can be accomplished
during the upcoming rehearsal will afford us the opportunity to avoid any damaging attitude we might inadvertently bring to the rehearsal setting. We demand total concentration from the students and must, therefore, model this vital discipline. Pilots are not allowed to take off without a perfect score on the pre-flight checklist; teachers should have a similar mandate before lifting their students to new heights.
This article is adapted from the book “Everyday Wisdom for Inspired Teaching” by GIA Publications, and reproduced with permission from Tim Lautzenheiser.
Tim Lautzenheiser presently serves as Vice President of Education for Conn-Selmer, Inc. His career involves ten years of successful college band directing at Northern Michigan University, the University of Missouri, and New Mexico State University. His books, produced by G.I.A. Publications, Inc., continue to be bestsellers in the educational world. He is also co-author of popular band method, Essential Elements, and is the Senior Educational Consultant for Hal Leonard, Inc.