Director Accountability 101 by Chuck Appleton
One of the biggest issues facing directors today is that of accountability. We should have a system of checks and balances that allows us to be responsible and accountable for our actions. This can also be viewed as protection from outside persecution. Some of the biggest issues facing directors today are the handling of money, making decisions involving student placement, and spending time alone with students.
If the director must handle money, we need to have a series of people involved in the process so that the directors are not responsible for the counting, depositing or handling of the funds. A suggestion might be to use a couple of the parents or possibly a student leader in conjunction with an administrative staff member. The bottom line is that if possible, try to find other dependable people to handle the money! You don't have time and you don't need the headaches! Have students seal and mark an envelope with its counted contents before handing over the cash! A locked dropbox is an excellent way for students to deposit funds without the teacher having to handle the money.
Editor's Note: Palen Music Center offers a full-featured e-commerce website with free delivery to school. We can also set up custom school stores with featured products that you want your students to have. That way, you can send them online to make the purchase and the items will show up to your classroom without you having to be responsible for any money. Just visit with your PMC representative to get more information.
Making Decisions Involving Student Placement
Even though we as directors are extremely capable of making right decisions ourselves, it is often very beneficial and less problematic when we involve others. This allows more input and perspective than we might normally find by ourselves. It is also more difficult for parents to make accusations when a "committee" is involved! You just might enjoy the process more when your neck is not on the line! One example of this could be drum major auditions where you form a panel of students, parents and administrators to help with the scoring process.
Spending Time Alone With Students
When working with other students, we should make sure the office door is open...especially if we are in the room alone with a student. If the room that you are working in has a window, be sure that you and the student are clearly visible so that there is no question about the intentions of the interactions. It sounds simple, but you can't be too careful. Avoid leaving students alone unsupervised!
Teach in such a way that there is never any question concerning your intentions and motives! Leave no doubt!
Manager and Educational Consultant
Palen Music Center -- Liberty
Chuck Appleton taught instrumental music for 33 years and retired in May, 2010. Chuck taught 23 years in Warrensburg, where he was director of bands and eight years in Dixon, MO. A native of Sedalia, Missouri, Mr. Appleton received his bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Missouri State University in 1979 and a Master of Music Education degree from Central Missouri State University in 1995. Mr. Appleton served as Band Vice-President for the Missouri Music Educators Association from 2006-2008. Mr. Appleton is also a member of MENC, Missouri Bandmasters Association, Missouri Association of Jazz Educators and Phi Beta Mu.
Pictures from the Classroom