Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Blind Auditions

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Two Writing Teachers

Watching television is not something I typically do, and my students never believe me when I say I don't watch TV.  I would much rather read a book, but the one show I never miss is the The Voice.

Singing is something I would love to be able to do.  Oh, yeah, I sing in my car by myself, but my singing career is limited to singing on Preference Night during my college sorority days!  (Anyone out there an Alpha Phi?)

Last night as I was watching the finals, I thought, "I am going to have blind auditions in my classroom next year."

Now, before you start thinking...what in the world is she talking about?  Let me explain.

For those of you who may have never seen The Voice, contestants sing with the judges' chairs turned around.  They base their decision strictly on the contestant's voice, not by their looks.  They don't even see them until they have chosen to turn around.

Every spring teachers at our school divide up their students to be placed in classes for the following year. The grade levels then get together and discuss the new class.  We have discussions about the students' strengths and weaknesses among many other things.

Before I even see my class, I have these preconceived thoughts about them.  I hadn't really thought about how unfair this was until I started watching The Voice and heard the contestants talk about how important it was that the judges chose them only on their voice.

I am thinking I will not have these conversations with my colleagues this year.  By having "blind auditions" for the students in my classroom, I will get to know my students without any bias, hearsay or preconceived thoughts.  I will get to know them for who they are the day they arrive in my classroom...my own blind auditions.

A side-note - Go TessAnne!


  1. I love your idea of blind auditions. I go back and forth with that idea about students. On the one hand, I want to have no biases. But on the other hand having a heads up about something could help. I've compromised with asking students and parents to share about themselves in separate questionnaires. That helps me recognize what might need extra attention.

  2. Fantastic idea. I remember too checking class lists to see who was coming my way, especially for electives when I knew the older kids well. I do watch a bit more TV than just the Voice and I love their blind approach to selection.

  3. This is a fantastic idea, Leigh Anne. Too often kids are pigeonholed into places where they shouldn't be because of preconceived notions. What a great lesson we can learn from you (and from "The Voice").

  4. Don't you think those who have "issues" are usually well known by all the staff? I liked discovering who my kids were by their actions rather than the teachers before. I think you will like this approach. PS: TessAnne was the best.

  5. Wow - how interesting to be able to discuss students before hand, although I can see what you mean about preconceived notions that may form as a result. My kids are blind auditions, and I do appreciate the getting to know them phase of the year.

  6. We have conferences with students and parents before school, & those in older classes send letters to their teachers (parents & students) too. We do know well in advance who's going into what class, announced the last weeks in May. I know what you mean, you want the student to have a clean slate & I have resisted hearing some of the information, yet there is a part of me that still wants to know what has worked and what has not in the past. I'll be interested to hear what you think next year when you try it, Leigh Anne. And, I watch The Voice too, am in awe of all of those finalists, even the ones who left last week. I like each, am amazed at that 15 year old, but sorry, I like the guy, don't remember his name.

  7. I don't like to hear tales about my students before I have the chance to meet them and give them the benefit of a clean slate. It's amazing that we all react to students differently. Lucky for them and us! I don't watch TV either, but it's usually not because I'm reading. My students can't believe how long it takes me to read a book!

  8. When you teach in a small school (like I do), you tend to know most of your students or at least one of their siblings. As I teach ESL, I have new students each year that come through the "blind auditions."