climate and improving
communication in a
While it once felt
good to share
student success with
the community by
photos or VHS tapes,
it’s even more beneficial
to have today’s
platforms for feedback
from the community or
two-way dialogue and
Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
When many of us started teaching, in the
’80s – maybe ’70s, maybe ’90s – our world as
a teacher was in many ways very similar and
in some ways very different from our teach-
ing world today.
We had standards, we posted agendas,
we had students work in groups, we tried to
engage our students and checked for under-
standing. All the standard stuff. We maybe
didn’t use the term “professional learning
community,” but we knew that developing
assessments, sometimes with other teachers,
checking student results, and modifying our
lessons based on those results, plus re-teach-
ing as needed, were good things.
We wrote newsletters for the school and
community and gave letters to parents.
And, of course, we made announcements
and posted f liers. Most of our work was
low-tech, literally cutting and pasting docu-
ments together and printing copies on the
school copier, unless we splurged and went
to Kinko’s to make copies.
And then the internet kicked in early into
the 1990s, and about 10 years later the ad-
vent of iPhones and other smart phones, the
rise of social media, and our world changed
dramatically in many ways, especially in
terms of our work with kids and in schools.
MTV gave way to music streaming, You-
Tube and thousands of apps (a word that was
not even used in the same way in the ’90s),
and once again, it seemed that our work with
kids and young adults would never be the
same; really, in some ways our work and lives
as adults would never be the same.
As a music teacher and arts educator,
communicating with my audience has al-
ways been an important part of the work
– communicating myself, working with stu-
dents to teach them how to communicate,
and hopefully taking that communication
to the next level. That’s where our audience
is actually getting the message, and reply-
ing back to us during performances in the
form of clapping, cheering and singing with
the performers, or in some cases, afterword
through conversations, letters and notes.
In terms of the internet, web-based pro-
By Edward A. Trimis