As I continue to think about my problem of practice, I have taken some time over the past week to let my brain run wild on its own, and with some familiar faces. I kept an idea journal of sorts in Google Keep for a few days to help gather some thoughts I have while I teach and struggles related to feeling unsupported as an itinerant.
I wish I was better at journaling my thoughts throughout the day! I keep my own journal at night, but that’s for personal stuff. I use Google Keep to make my grocery lists, to-do lists, bucket lists…so I figured it would be a good way to keep track of my thoughts. I did my best, but it was also a hectic week (as you can tell from the first item).
I also had the opportunity to video chat with three of my brothers around my problem. One is studying to become a music teacher right now, the other works in IT for a local credit union, and the other is a freshman in high school. Getting varying perspectives was really helpful. Additionally, we come from a very strong music program, so having that background knowledge to help develop other good music programs is useful. The freshman helped a lot by asking the two of us questions about how teaching works overall and it dived into places that my college brother and I would’ve taken for granted.
After all of that, I came up with two lists. The first is ideas that I love but are just not feasible for me to accomplish in one way or another:
- Practicing app to interface with teachers (not in scope)
- District-scheduled specialist schedules (not school-by-school)
- Building a bunch of new schools
- Adding a music-only portable at each building
- Required lunches each week at different buildings so you can interact with staff in a way that’s more than pick up and drop-off
- Creating more support at admin level (our director is already stretched thin)
- Itinerant staff office at each building so that we have a place that is “ours”
- District-wide curriculum so that everyone is teaching the same stuff
- Making the primary music teacher at each building the “Music Overseer” on top of teaching (take some classes out of caseload and give to itinerants, give them time to ensure that the itinerants are supported and provided what they need at their building)
These are a few that I might be able to work with and develop:
- Welcome Itinerant Building Doc that explains procedures, classroom sharing, curriculum requirements, other building-specific knowledge that would take a long time to learn otherwise
- Microsoft Teams or other platform to encourage communication between itinerants to share materials, classroom management strategies, and develop bonds
- Attending PD at whatever building you need to at that moment rather than always at your home school
- District-wide music itinerant PD during a workshop day
- Itinerant’s first two weeks at a building are shadowing the primary teacher to encourage a continued program K-6 and build rapport with students before working with them on their own.
I’m looking forward to getting started and making something out of all these words!