Posted by: benfrasier | May 13, 2006

the new guy

So I spent this past week with the West Jessamine Middle School Band, and I’ve gotten a reminder of my own mindset in that awkward age. I have a pretty good relationship with the band director there and he has let me hang around and basically act like a student teacher. However, on Monday he was on a field trip with the high school band while myself and a substitute were left to fend for our lives. The 7th grade band consists of 70 hyper, loud, and out of control 7th graders. The substitute has a choral background so she let me stand on the podium while she walked around and corralled as many rowdy students as possible.

The whole scene was rather chaotic and very frustrating. Half the kids decided they didn’t want to play so they lied to me and said they forgot their instrument. The low brass section contained one kid who was particularly obnoxious and would try to divert classmates’ attention to him as much as possible. Another kid, who as a 7th grader already has more facial hair than me, would walk around the room hitting various objects and producing constant distractions. I would sit him in a corner and 5 minutes later found him walking around making more noise.

A few thoughts from this experience:

1. I have to remember that the students are not the enemy. I think its easy to write the kids off as bad, disrespectful, and delinquent people. I can’t allow myself to fall in that trap because that would negatively affect my teaching. You end up treating students you view as hopeless differently than you would treat honor students.

2. I can’t take the kids disrespectful attitude personally. I remember when I was in grade school, and I viewed substitute teachers as free days. I didn’t have to listen to them because most of the time they didn’t have any idea what was going on in class. But I have to remember that I didn’t act like that because I didn’t like them, it was because they weren’t my regular teacher.

3. When I’m a full-time teacher I want to be as organized as possible so I can control my class. I know its not popular to be a disciplinarian, but I think I’ll be able to teach most effectively if kids know there will be consequences to their actions.

4. Many of the kids actually think they know more about music than I do! Which means I need to be very confident about what I do and say because kids will look for any fault in me as a reason to tune me out.

Ironically, I’ve actually had an enjoyable time this week. I’ve had some really good moments when I work with smaller groups of students. I also love how when you teach… you don’t have to do homework! 🙂



  1. Great post. You are a wise young man, and becoming wiser with each new junior high experience. I feel for you and your band experience. Keep up the good work and keep looking forward to the day when you aren’t the sub anymore. You’ll be a great teacher.–>

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