Fostering Community with Other TeachersNov 17, 2020
2020 has been a strange year for all of us! If you’re feeling overwhelmed or scared or frustrated or any number of emotions, I hope you know you’re not alone. What I’m here to tell you is that you should never feel alone! In our profession, there are a number of ways to foster a sense of community and kinship with other teachers, whether in your own building/district or halfway across the world.
1. Be present for other teachers.
If you’re anything like me, you likely have one or two teacher besties at your school. These are the teachers that you feel you can lean on for support, and vice versa. In order to build a sense of community, make sure you’re making time for your teacher besties. This doesn’t mean overextending yourself or saying yes to everything they ask of you. What this means is that, if your teacher bestie asks for a shoulder to cry on or a kind ear to listen, offer those up to them. I’m sure they would in turn do the same for you!
2. Find a community on social media.
A lot of people groan about the evils of social media, but it can be an extremely valuable tool when used correctly. In fact, That Music Teacher has a Facebook group called General Music Mastermind, which is a group devoted to elementary music teachers and allows them to connect with others in the profession. Online communities, whether it be Facebook or elsewhere, can be extremely helpful for brainstorming, troubleshooting, or gathering ideas for any number of topics!
3. Invite teachers into your world.
It may seem like a long shot, but it can be powerful to extend an invitation to the teachers in your building to attend a performance or rehearsal. If that’s not possible with their schedules, invite them to come pick their class up 5 minutes early and have the students show their teacher what they worked on during your class. This brings the teachers of your school into your world to see what exactly happens in the music room. A lot of times, general education teachers don’t know what it is that we do. (See the post about Misconceptions About Elementary Music…) By inviting them into the classroom, even for a little bit, you can build a stronger connection with that teacher, and they may be more inclined to help support you in the future.
4. Invite teacher participation.
Along with inviting them to performances, invite teachers to partake in certain parts of your concerts! Is one of the third grade teachers really good at playing flute? Invite them to play along with your recorder choir! Your fifth grade math teacher played drums in high school? Maybe they could play along with a non-pitched percussion group. There are so many possibilities, and many teachers would love the opportunity to reconnect with their musical sides.
Our jobs within the school are unique, and that often means that it can be easy to feel alone. Now more than ever, it’s important to foster a sense of community with your fellow teachers. What are some ideas that have worked for you when trying to build relationships with other teachers? Whatever you decide to do, remember that you’re never alone and we are all here for you!
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