© 2019 by EMM | Rochester, New York 14607

  • Elissa May Murphy

Advice From My Teacher Friends

Updated: Jul 25, 2019


A week ago, I received my first full-time music education job...

I was assigned grades 5-8 Music/Performing Arts at a charter school here in Rochester.

I was so excited for this milestone in my professional career: an unlimited amount of possibilities on what to teach.

It was all up to me and I don't think I could have been more thrilled...

Due to a multitude of reasons, however, I ultimately came to the tough decision that this school was not the correct fit for me.

Though I will continue to sub at the charter and private schools throughout the remainder of the school year, I am so grateful for the amount of encouragement and advice I received from so many of you on how to start on the right foot from day one.

Knowing that a lot of you viewers are educators, or are en route to becoming a future educator, I hope you're able to take at least one of these pointers from my network and use it for your own teaching experiences.

I've left every piece of advice listed anonymously down below. Enjoy!

" Try to leave very little dead air with them, that's when trouble happens. It's all about smooth transitions and moving from one task to the next without pause when possible. "

" Make the 'ring leader' of the group your 'personal assistant.' Find a positive way to acknowledge the bad seed. "

" Sometimes it's best to work on what students bring in. Have them reflect on it and inspire students to find out why they love and connect with this music so much. "


" Kids will respect you so much if you go in with a plan! "

" Do not wait to set your routines and procedures. Do it day one and repeat them for weeks and make sure the students understand what you expect - that helps a lot. It lets them know to respect you, and mutual respect is important. "

" Photo copy the night before because it's a mad house in the morning. "

" Start (right from the beginning) by enforcing what is and is not appropriate classroom behavior. "


" Basic keyboard skills with a lot of rote learning is great. "

" I always over-plan, knowing that I will not get to everything because you never know how quick they may pick up on a topic. "

" Do things right - right off the bat - and a natural flow will occur. "

" Think about goals you want each grade to achieve. What will prepare them for the next grade? "

" I have a template for outlining lesson plans. Let me send it over to you! "

" Have something tangible you can pass around the room. Whoever has that item in their hands is the only one allowed to speak. "

" Make the course related to the students and their interests. "


" I always make sure that if they are following my expectations, I stay positive - even if they aren't the greatest... that way they know they aren't doing something they are supposed to. "

" The reality is that students don't want to learn notation or Mozart. Connect with the students and find out what they love before you relate it to what you love and know what is important. "

" I find having the agenda for the day and the amount of time you want to spend on each part is helpful. "

" Always have candy prepared for a bribe. "

" If you have technology or instruments, that is another great way to keep them engaged. "

" I also try not to have low expectations - always have higher expectations based on their ability because they will settle and slack. "


Calling all educators:

What are your tips for those on their way to beginning their first days as educators?

Leave me your thoughts in the comments below!

xx