When You Are the New Kid, with Christopher Kurt


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By Ryan Guth. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Just because you graduated high school, graduated college, and got a job doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes still feel like the new kid. Ryan checks back in with podcast favorite and Ukulele Ninja Christopher Kurt about his first quarter teaching in a new school. Sometimes you just need to change your life. Whether that means a new methodology or a new zip code depends on you, but Ryan and Christopher cover some of the questions you should ask to help you decide.


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Highlight to Tweet: “I can be pretty chill and pretty awesome, but if you’re a butt, that’s gonna change.” - Topher Kurt

Show Notes:

  • You know when it’s time for a change. Especially while you are young, try something new. Maybe a new city, with new opportunities is worth a look.
  • Don’t just prepare for your first day; over-prepare. Have different lesson plans ready to go based on the students’ level of respect and class participation. First impression are crucial.
  • Try to meet with others in the music department before the first day of school.
  • Some students might remember you from an interview audition. But prepare students for the idea that you will teach in your own way. Authenticity is key.
  • Establish procedure from the first day.
  • You have permission to change your life.
  • Christopher knew what his dream job was, and that he wasn’t going to realize it where he was. Ask yourself, “What do I want out of my career?” (not job). Not every transition means moving to a new state. But you have to choose to change something.
  • A new job is kind of like being a new teacher again; you might just be looking ahead a day at a time. For the first quarter, stick with what you know, and what you know you do well. Second quarter, add something new. Take a new approach to teaching a song. You can make changes to how you teach.
  • Make your program your own. What can you bring to your program that is something no one else could do? What makes you indispensable?
  • Be daring. Be vulnerable. Let yourself question a lot of what is going on, because only in the questioning will you find the answers.


Mr. Christopher Kurt is in his fourth year of teaching and his first year at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School. His first three years were spent teaching 6-8 General & Choral Music at Aldo Leopold Middle School in Burlington, IA. He graduated from Wartburg College in May of 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in K-12 Music Education with a Vocal Emphasis. In his first three years, Mr. Kurt was nominated three times for The Hawkeye’s “Teacher of the Year” Award. In the Fall of 2016, he was a presenter at the Iowa Technology & Educators Connection Conference. He has been a guest on the “Choir Ninja” podcast by Ryan Guth, on the episode “Uke, I Am Your Father,” in April of 2017. He will be presenting at the Iowa Music Educators Association Conference in November. He enjoys watching football, playing ukulele, and singing with the Heartland Men’s Choir in his free time.

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