FINALS – a time for celebration and reflection

I’m sitting on my back deck on a sunny Saturday, spending hours going through student finals. What else would a teacher be doing on a Saturday in June?

For finals in my music classes, students submit videos of themselves performing a solo that demonstrates various skills that they mastered throughout the term. They are not meant to be overly difficult, but rather a culminating project that captures growth. Some students impress me with their performances, some are still a work in progress and – sadly – some students didn’t submit anything at all. But for most, it’s an excellent showcase of their growth over the year.

One of the things I love about being a music teacher is that I get to keep the same kids year over year – many for 4 years in a row. I have evidence of their growth and can go back and compare their current work to their first submissions from their freshman year. It’s overwhelming to back out from the moment and look at the big picture of student growth, and it reminds me that finals should really be a time for celebration and reflection.

A New Site for Growth

I’ve always been passionate about growth. 

Over the past few years I have experienced more opportunities to speak about growth with teachers and college students.  I think it’s a great starting point for us teachers to consider.  

We often think our content is the most important thing in the classroom. In fact, we just use the content as a mechanism to inspire growth.  

When we reflect on what is needed for growth to occur, we begin to see the foundations for good teaching.  As passionate teachers, we earn the right to inform, influence and inspire our students.


As I have begun to teach and train on this concept, I realized that it was time to create a website, and hopefully a community around these ideas.  I came up with the idea of SoundEd.