I had a revisiting to the "Galaxy Far, Far Away" recently when my eight year old son became interested in Star Wars via Legos. My husband, who was sorely disappointed in my lack of interest (or consciousness, for that matter) in Star Wars, was only too happy to dust off the old DVDs and introduce a new generation to George Lucas's brainchild. Offhandedly paying attention as usual, one particular scene did catch my attention and led to much thought.
"Hmmm", I thought. "I should point this out to the boy." (My son is not known for his patience.)
But, the more I thought about it, the more that I realized that the scene really speaks to those of us who teach. Teachers experience difficulties (technical or other) every single day. The best laid plans can fail. Students go berserk. Fire drills happen. So does vomit. How are we reacting? Are we the Jar Jar Binks of the elementary school, spewing doom, gloom and negativity everywhere we go? Are we the ones running around in circles, flapping our hands and raising our voices? Or, are we staying calm, speaking in measured tones, and working on solutions to help our students?
In my first two years of teaching, my school had an unofficial mantra: The Teacher Sets the Tone. It was an often repeated piece of advice from a previous principal. The teachers would use it often in a joking way to tease a teacher whose students were acting up. Old advice, yes, but it really does ring true. Calm teachers have calmer classrooms. Frantic teachers have students you can hear approaching a mile away. Students are looking to their teachers to see how they should react to situations that disrupt their day. The teacher does indeed set the tone.
So, this is how I decided to be "Jedi Music". I want to be the cool, calm, in-control educator (errr, I mean "Master") who is working to provide my students ("apprentices??" Some fan please help me out here...) with the best possible music experience. I may have to study up on the series to get all of my analogies correct. (I hope I can stay awake...)
In your teaching, May the Force Be With You.