Meeting Music Teachers
I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about networking. Between yesterday’s post about social networks and time spent organising an upcoming TeachMeet for music teachers, I’ve been thinking about the value of face-to-face networking. You know… that old-fashioned thing where we actually meet people… in the real world.
At the start of my career, it was the norm for there to be TIG meetings for music teachers (although I cannot for the life of me remember what this acronym stood for). These meetings were funded by a distinct pot of money and there was usually enough money left over to purchase shared resources for the local schools. All the music teachers in the area would be released from lessons for the afternoon and we would meet up for some reasonably informal training. This was remarkably routine. If memory serves, we met once a term.
When I was teaching in Slough, Simon Lock of Slough Music Service worked hard to create similar experiences for local music teachers and I remember of a few of these sessions fondly. We hosted one of them at Baylis Court and others were held at Beechwood School, where the music service was based. In this time, the political climate changed and attendance dwindled as it became harder and harder for teachers to get out of school for training.
It’s a shame that it’s so hard to get out of schools because the rewards are so great. A day at an event like the Music Education Expo or Music Learning Revolution is at least as valuable for the ideas generated during informal conversations as they are for the content of presentations or workshops. Just being in a room with music teachers and discussing the challenges we each face opens up new solutions. Surely this makes it easier for teachers to improve their teaching and, therefore, more than make up for any teaching time lost to the training?