Kelly Knedler and Holly Taylor, Mentoring co-chairs
We were born to serve. Yes. Serve each other through the talents and skills with which we’ve been blessed. Teaching is a service profession. I really hope that’s why you got into this! As teachers, we dedicate ourselves to giving our students all we can to show them success and create a desire to achieve their best results! But, how can Kansas Music Educators Association serve the teacher?
Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) is here for you! There are many branches of KMEA and for the new music teacher, we have the Mentoring program. The KMEA Mentoring program is always searching for ways to connect with new teachers and for new teachers to connect to veteran teachers. We would like you to consider connecting with other Music Educators, especially new to Kansas or new to teaching educators, via social media, and in particular with Twitter. Many of our new Kansas teachers probably use Twitter to stay connected with friends…Right? If you are not on Twitter…Get a Twitter account (all the cool kids have one)! After you have an account, consider using a hashtag (#) and word or phrase to start a group and connect. Now, this next sentence is for “we, the older teachers…” By inserting a “hashtagged” word or phrase in your “Tweet,” you can create a pipeline of information that will disseminate to all others who have joined and used that same hashtag word or phrase. For example, compose your Tweet and add #KSNewMusicEd in the body of the Tweet. All persons who have joined your #KSNewMusicEd will be able to easily see all Tweets with #KSNewMusicEd in the body of the Tweet.
A colleague introduced me to a video the other day by Tom Naughton, where in it he talks about the power of crowds. When people exhaust their own knowledge there comes a point where they turn to others. Today, we are so fortunate to have the internet and the capabilities of forums and chats where the power of crowds can work for the individual. So, using the #KSNewMusicEd, KMEA Mentoring would like to propose a Twitter chat for the state of Kansas on Monday, September 19, 2016 at 7:00pm. All you will need is a Twitter account and we will use the #KSNewMusicEd for this forum. You are invited as a new Teacher and as a veteran too! At 7:00 PM, KMEA Mentoring will ask a series of questions, a new question every 5 minutes for 45 minutes. Then, we will open the forum to specific questions new teachers may have for veteran teachers. Each question asked will be preceded with “Q1:” or “Q2:” for “questions” posed by KMEA Mentoring. For example, a Tweet would look like “Q3: What is the number one skill a new music teacher needs for Pep Band rehearsals?” The forum then “answers” in the same fashion with “A3: A metronome and patience!” Now that you’ve stopped laughing…If this works well, we will proceed with other KMEA Mentoring Twitter forums about once a month, or as needed. So, please join us with the #KSNewMusicEd, both new and veteran teachers! A short video is available to watch, so that you might understand how to join this forum. This is a very easy way to “Serve,” and be served!
Speaking of serving one another for the betterment of music education…We are pleased to say that we, again, have two incredible former music educators helping collect new music teacher data for us this year. Ron Chronister, a former President of KMEA and former NAfME SW Division President, is still helping to compile a list of new music teachers who are new to education or the state of Kansas. We are so appreciative of his dedication to music education and are grateful for his work on this data collecting! Also, Craig Manteuffel, former KMEA President and now Assistant Executive Director for KSHSAA, has contacted most Kansas High School Principals asking who new music teachers are in their districts. So far, there has been a tremendous response and a different version of the familiar “Craig’s List” is being compiled as this article is being published! Through the efforts of these two men, KMEA Mentoring will be able to quickly and easily connect with new teachers to provide them with support and help assign them a mentor in their field and area. As a reminder, let us know if you have a new music teacher in your district. Holly & Kelly can be emailed the information at email@example.com. Your email may be the difference between “sink or swim.” We are ready to connect with them!
Another connection point for new teachers is through the mini-conventions held in each of the six, soon to be seven, districts in Kansas. These mini-conventions are usually in conjunction with your district High School, Middle level, and Elementary concerts. Each district has a District-level mentor chairperson to help serve the needs and networking of new teachers. If you are a new teacher, please locate in what district you are employed by going to ksmea.org/districts. Contact your district mentor chairperson (the list of district mentor chairpersons is located at the end of this article). By getting connected you are opening yourself to a wonderful world of networking! The help which veteran teachers can provide during your first year will set you up for success. Also, attending the mini-conventions will be members of the KMEA Executive Board. Make it a point to find them and introduce yourself as a new teacher. These Executive Board members are extremely approachable and “none of them bite.”
There are other ways to connect in the state too, through conventions of the different affiliate organizations such as Kansas Choral Directors Association, Kansas Bandmasters Association, Kansas American String Teachers Association, Kansas Teachers Association, Kansas Orff Chapter, Kodaly Music Educators of Kansas, and Kansas Music Merchants Association. Holly will be attending the KCOMTEPS meeting at Senseney Music on September 25 where she will talk to the collegiate forces and college students about the KMEA Mentoring program.
Finally, one of the best ways to connect during the school year is at the Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop on February 23-25, 2017 at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita, KS. You can receive conference updates on Twitter: #kmea2016 and receive Twitter alerts via SMS message. Another great idea is texting the word follow @ksmea to 40404. At KMEA ISW, which is an important annual event, speakers, performers, and vendors gather to represent the best of music education throughout the state. There will also be several Mentoring events to attend too! And as we kicked off last year…The ribbons for all new teachers and district and state mentor chairs will be available at the KMEA registration table! Make a point to get connected this year!!!
The following is a list of District Mentor Chairs serving their respective districts (please look on their respective district websites for contact information):
- Northwest (NW) District Mentor Chair: Bill Schick
- North Central (NC) District Mentor Chair: Nancy Monical
- Northeast (NE) District Mentor Chair: Kim Harrison
- Southwest (SW) District Mentor Chair: Jodi Reese
- South Central (SC) District Mentor Chair: Deborah Harris and Teri Harpool
- Southeast (SE) District Mentor Chair: Mary Jo Harper