One thing I hope to do more often, but briefly, is to share occasionally some thoughts on how we can seek to about pursuing the mission of the academy in a unified way. I’d like to spend the next few weeks going through our values. The values of an organization should permeate everything it does. Our mission will drive what we do, but how we pursue it will be directly affected by its values and core beliefs.
I hope to have a banner with our values posted in the Olympia studio soon. It will be helpful for teaching in the classroom. Our first value is people. At Tuned In, we value people. In fact, while we love music (and art), we realize that it is merely an art form, an expression, and a medium. We value community (and people) as inherently more valuable than any medium or man created thing- including music and art. All people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, etc. are equally valuable as people, even if we as individuals or a collective may disagree with some of their beliefs or actions. People are people. Children are children. And we share in humanity with them.
How can we make sure that our students experience this value in the classroom? I was thinking about this all week as I taught. I know that as teachers sometimes we may need to teach specifically to the needs of an individual in the classroom, which may mean making minor alterations to something we are working on. And this is in most cases a healthy way of teaching to the needs of that student.
But we have to be careful not to ever exclude a student, or pigeonhole them. I know I have probably been guilty of this myself. What I mean is that when we give students parts, or assignments in an art class, whatever—I believe it is especially important that we are mindful of how we do this. Are we being fair and valuing every student as equal in giving him or her equal opportunities to grow, learn, and create? As educators of musicians and artists, this means that we are careful not to corner them into one particular form of expression or genre. We all have our preferences. But it is not our responsibility as educators to shape an artist or student in that way. We will seek opportunities to share with students various genres, styles, and forms, and allow them to be shaped organically. This is an essential. Our values are not just ideas, they are deep values that come from our shared beliefs about people and art, and they should be not just professed, but practiced.
Hard work sometimes? Perhaps. But if teaching were easy it wouldn’t be work. And we seek to be the best we can be at it, because our students deserve it.