Issue 10: “Teacher Moments”

What do I mean by a “Teacher Moment”?  It is a phrase used by a teacher that I know, to describe those moments which make everything all so worthwhile.

Years ago, at a school where I taught class music, there was a lad who didn’t seem to be any good at anything, except at being a thoroughly nice boy.  He wasn’t academically able, couldn’t walk or clap to any beat however simple.  By year 4 he had so little confidence that he went round with his head down and a nervous little smile, just hoping to get through the day.  He was in a year 4 and 5 class learning the flute in a Wider Opportunites programme, staying well back, keeping out of trouble, and totally unable to get a note out of his flute in spite of all the help we offered.

Then, one June day, he suddenly played a decent “B”.  You could have powered the whole town on the strength of the beam on his little face.  The transformation from weak smile to enormous grin seemed to light up the room.  I am sure I wasn’t the only adult in the room fighting to hold back a tear or two.  The best thing is that the story doesn’t end here; it was only a matter of weeks before he could read and play simple tunes, and even lead the whole class in rhythmic activities.  The confidence that he found in the Wider Opportunities lessons flowed over into his academic work and made a real difference in hs life.

This was my first real “Teacher Moment”, and I have been on the watch for them, great and small, ever since.

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