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February 21, 2018

Teacher Inspiration: What’s Your “Walk-Up” Song?

I’m pretty sure nearly every teacher in America has a second job. For some reason (I actually know the reason), teachers seek out extra opportunities to work after the school day is complete. In addition to my own 2nd job of leading on-sites for Learners Edge, I have another amazing 2nd (actually it’s my 3rd ) job! On Creighton’s campus and at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha I’m one of the public address announcers for the Creighton Bluejays.

Over the years, I’ve learned that Division I sporting events are very much a production….kind of like a well executed traditional lesson plan: materials are collected, the main components of the production are introduced, the lesson goes live, and finally an outcome is reached. An essential component of every game I’ve announced (and an increasingly impactful part of the classroom) is music. Between points in volleyball, during breaks in action at basketball, and during each inning in baseball, music becomes the game. Fans clap their hands, dance in the aisles and embrace the fact that they are active participants in the game.

A great amount of research has been done about the impact of music in the classroom. Do a simple search and you’ll find that infusing music into lessons will increase comprehension, engagement, and interest on the part of our students. I’d like to offer, however, another reason to consider playing music in the classroom: It’s good for the teacher.

One of my favorite parts of announcing at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha (The home of the College World Series!) is introducing the players as their “walk-up” song is being played. Each player gets to select their own song…for their own reason. Over the years I’ve heard just about everything: hip hop, rock, country, and even the ave maria. On cue, a player’s “walk up” song is played and they take their place in the batter’s box…literally ready to face the music.

Each class period, each day, teachers walk into their classrooms with the hopes of affecting the outcome of the learning game. Some “at bats” are a “swing-and-a-miss”…but occasionally you hit a home run. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have your own walk-up song?

I’ve experimented with playing music at the start of a class period and my completely unscientific, unproven, lack of data-driven result is that it makes a difference. I’m instantly uplifted and even more excited to present my lesson to my students. Many of today’s students find themselves dependent upon their headphones and earbuds as they make their way through life because of the power of music. It’s both calming and motivating at the same time and its impact cannot be overlooked.

There’s a reason why baseball players choose their walk-up song and it’s more obvious than to simply entertain the fans: Music gets you in the right frame of mind and gets you ready to perform…Isn’t that what we essentially do every day in the classroom?

So what’s YOUR walk-up song? If you have one, let me know. If you don’t, give it a try…You might be able to turn a “single” lesson into a “double”….or a “triple” into a “home run.” Student engagement is constantly a focus…but ways to improve teacher engagement is always music to my ears!

You can find me on Twitter @Chieftainlinks or join me this summer for a Learners Edge on-site course!


Looking for some more teacher inspiration? Check out some of our other blogs on this very topic:


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