Teaching in Schools
Natalie P., Australia
I had lots of requests for my information on teaching Simply Music in Public Schools so thought it best to put in on Simpedia for all interested teachers. I have outlined all steps I took in response to an advertised teaching position. I think, however, the steps I took would be good preparation if you were going to approach a school yourself to request teaching time within the school day.
1. I had business cards and a letterhead printed up. My job application looked very professional and was presented on Simply Music letterhead.
2. I applied for Public Liability Insurance. I took my Insurance Policy to a local attorney to check it over and provide a covering letter which outlined the validity and suitability of the insurance I had obtained.
3. I completed a Senior First Aid Certificate. You can’t work in a school in Australia without one of these!
4. I obtained a ‘Working With Children’ Card. In the state of Queensland, Australia, it is compulsory to obtain such a document before working with kids in any endeavour. It provides a safety net for kids, and helps to make sure that the adults working with them do not have past criminal convictions etc.etc. You could check with your local Education Department or Children Services and Welfare Department to see if you need such a document.
5. I wrote a professional job application letter and Curriculum Vitae, outlining my past career and involvement with Simply Music.
6. I prepared for the job interview. I knew that I would be competing with traditional piano teachers, and that I would essentially be the ‘new kid on the block’ with the SM Method. I knew it would be important to talk about SM powerfully, confidently and with clarity in the interview. So, I really focused on the SM four features, components and four goals. These topics were what I wanted to talk about with my interviewers with ease.
When I obtained the position (yipee!!!), I undertook the following to set up Simply Music in the school.
1. Advertised the availability of piano lessons in the school newsletter, with a brief description of SM and the date of a forthcoming Introductiry Session Evening.
2. Accompanying the school newsletter I had a seperate flyer which advertised Simply Music and my Introductiry Session Evening in more detail. I also attached our basic Enrolment Form which could be returned to me on the evening itself, or handed in at the school office at any time.
3. I conducted my Introductory Session Evening following the standard SM protocol as outlined on Introductory Session Training Materials.
4. I organized a cut-off date for enrolments, and once I had them all, I organized students into small groups. I had 20 initial enrolments, and placed students, initially, into groups according to their age.
5. I presented my timetable to the school administration and prepard letters for individual school teachers outlining that fact that certain students would be leaving their class at certain times for their piano lesson. Naturally, I thanked the class teacher for their co-operation and support!!
6. I made a committment to hold two concerts a year which all parents, teachers and school staff would be invited to.
7. I prepared invoices for parents that outlined my payment details (10 week terms).
8. I ensured that enrolment forms were always available at the school office for new enquiries.
Here are some questions to ask the school:
- What facilities does the school have as far as an instrument or instruments are concerned?
- Will you need to pay rent on the room?
- Can you fix your own price for lessons or does the school want a say in this?
- How long can you run lessons for, or how long can kids be out of their normal classrooms?
- What if a problem with discipline arises with a student and you need support? Who should you contact?
- How much time will the school give you to hold lessons? e.g. one day, one morning , as long as you like? etc.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Am I only going to take students whose parents can attend lessons and be supportive of their child’s practice, or will I be more open in your enrolments?
- What happens in a group situation if a student is not doing sufficient practice and falling behind?
- How will I handle this?
Lots to do and lots to think about. I really love my time up at the school on Monday afternoons working with 20 students in different groups and some individual lessons. I initially placed students in groups according to their age, but after only a few lessons it was clear that I had to rearrange my groups. I now have kids of different ages together in groups. Basically groups are arranged according to committment, and the pace at which they can move through the program.
I would welcome any feedback on this topic and would be more than happy to talk about any aspect in more detail.