Everyday Wisdom for Inspired Teaching

Jon Bubbett • April 2022Bubbett's BookshelfMay 2022 • May 2, 2022

There is no more prominent champion for music education and education in general than Tim Lautzenheiser (featured elsewhere in this issue). “Dr. Tim” has traveled extensively throughout the country for many years, sharing his thoughts on leadership and presenting inspiring motivational clinics to countless thousands of students and teachers alike through his company Attitude Concepts for Today! As Alec Harris mentions in the book’s introduction, “Tim can reach out and grab us at a profound level.” If you have ever attended one of his clinics, then you know how you can’t help but feel better when you leave.

In Everyday Wisdom for Inspired Teaching, published by GIA Publications, Lautzenheiser takes the “nuggets” from his presentations and puts them in a very user-friendly book format. The book is not intended necessarily to be read cover to cover, but rather to pursue through the index and read whatever catches your eye. Think of it more like a handbook where you cherry-pick what you need now. Although not reading every chapter would be a tremendous oversight as the entire book is full of inspiring and thought-provoking ideas. The chapters are concise and designed to read one chapter every day.

The book is written in four different sections: The Art of Teaching, Developing an Attitude for Success, Teacher Leadership Skills, and Selection and Encouragement of Student Leaders. Each section has several chapters on essential issues or topics teachers face daily.

Part One: The Art of Teaching consists of 11 chapters, routinely 2-4 pages in length—a perfect length to read on a break during the day. Hardly a page goes by that doesn’t have some beneficial insights. All the chapters are great, but a few stand out: “What Makes Great Teachers?” encourages reflection about who influenced us to become teachers and to recognize the characteristics of great teachers. “The Demand for Excellence” and “Dealing with ‘It’s Good Enough’” offer many ways to help students to keep striving, self-discipline, thinking positively, and embracing failure as a learning opportunity. “Student Behavior: Fact, Not Fiction,” is an absolute must-read for anyone in a classroom anywhere. The thought processes that go into problem-solving difficult situations are worth the book’s price and are always from a place of caring! “The Solution to Success Is in the Mirror” is a powerful chapter on self-examination of ourselves as teachers and as caring people. “Creating a Positive Learning Atmosphere” deals with how we communicate with students, what we say versus what gets heard. The most important words are those about respect for each student’s dignity.

Part Two: Developing an Attitude for Success has seven very short chapters. “Achieving Success” is particularly impactful as it explores the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and how the quality of our thoughts can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. “The Six Goals to Achieving Success” are beneficial and thought-provoking as well. “Dealing with Feelings of Insecurity» is exceptionally insightful in understanding why our students react the way they do. Understanding our insecurities allows us to better deal with our students› behaviors. The only difference between a successful person and one who is not, is the successful person decides to go for it despite their fears. The final two chapters in this section, “Criticize in Private, Praise in Public” and “The Secret Ingredients of Master Teachers,” are just as important as they sound. Learning how to respond to challenging students in a classroom setting without creating additional problems and seeing parts of ourselves in master teachers is invaluable to teachers of all disciplines.

Part Three: Teaching Leadership Skills gives us many approaches to how to become leaders and develop and train student leaders. As with all leadership-type activities, we must begin with our attitudes and perspectives. “A Paradigm Shift for Today’s Leaders” examines older authoritative leadership styles versus more contemporary or win/win types of leadership today. Some of the nuggets from this chapter include:

“We can’t lead others until we can lead ourselves,”

“Leaders are measured by what they give,”

“Leaders assume total responsibility.”

“A Template for Successful Leaders” does just that. Motivation, of ourself and others, is covered in “The Real Key to Motivation.” Another look at our attitudes and the realization we really can only motivate ourselves. In our motivation, we can inspire others.

Part Four: Selection and Encouragement of Student Leaders shows us how to select student leaders and to look for specific traits in students to help them become successful leaders. Dr. Tim discusses many problems student leaders face and offers possible solutions. “Student Leadership: What They Must Know” provides us with ten essential traits found in high quality leaders. Knowing these qualities is very useful in deciding who should be tapped for leadership positions. “The Personal Values of a Student Leader” and “The Character Traits of a Student Leader” provide us with insightful information on what to look for in student leaders. Finally, “Seven Myths About Leadership” refutes common misconceptions about who and what leaders are—a refreshing “reality check” on how to recognize leaders in our everyday lives.

This book is a user-friendly read and insightful for music and non-music teachers alike. The concepts and thoughts are broad-based and apply to all educational endeavors. It is just what we need at a time like this…

A few favorites nuggets of wisdom from this book are:

The true teacher is one who teaches out of a passion for sharing

It seems the successful people in the teaching world have one commonality: the demand for excellence and their own persistence in this quest.

Wonderful teachers just don’t quit…and their students mirror this quality

Give up giving up

Enthusiasm is the spark that ignites the learning process…

Success is not an accident

Focus on solutions, not problems

Positive energy produces more positive energy…

Jon Bubbett, received Music Education degrees from Troy State University and VanderCook College of Music. His career spanned 38 years with the last 26 at Thompson High School in Alabaster, AL.  His award-winning bands performed throughout the southeast. Jon has been a clinician participant for both the Alabama Music Educators Association In-Service Conference, Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, and has served as the rehearsal assistant for the Music for All Honor Band of America since 2016. He has concert band and ensemble music published through Excelcia Music Publishing, RWS Music Eighth Note Publishing companies and through his website jonbubbettmusic.com.

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