Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Five Things I Wish People Knew about Music Teachers

Music Teachers are my heroes!  They have a tough job and most people have absolutely no idea what music teachers actually do.  Truthfully, I didn't know either until I met my husband.

5. Music Teachers are trained professionals.
They actually have degrees in music education, music performance or another related field.  Many have advanced degrees and certifications in specific areas of music education.  Really?  There's an actual college major for being a music teacher?  Yes, indeed!

4.  Music teachers put a lot of planning into their lessons.
It might look like the band director is just waving his arms from the podium; but in reality, he (or she!) is reading multiple lines of music at the same time, keeping the beat, signaling different instrument groups to play, listening for correct notes and rhythms and making sure students are playing the right dynamics, too.  It's the ultimate multitasking and it doesn't come without preparation.

3.  Music teachers spend a lot of their own personal time managing the music program.
All teachers spend time outside of class planning, grading, serving on committees, etc.  But for some reason even fellow teachers tend to think their music colleagues have it easy.  After all, what papers are there to grade in music?  But music teachers spend their time recruiting students, repairing instruments, creating schedules for pull-out lessons, teaching after-school ensembles, planning field trips, managing booster groups, fundraising, arranging music, writing drill, setting up for concerts, negotiating with other teachers to "share" the kids . . . the list goes on.  Do music teachers have more to do than their counterparts in other subjects?  Perhaps not.  But they certainly don't have less.

2. Music teachers have to advocate to keep their jobs year after year.
Fortunately this is not true in every school, but sadly a lot of music teachers fear for their jobs every single year.  They have to prove their value again and again because too many administrators simply don't think the arts are as important as other subjects.  When there are difficult staffing decisions to be made, whose job is on the line?  You guessed it.  It's the arts teacher!  This is one of the reasons why music teachers spend so much time recruiting.  If they don't fill the seats in their classrooms, then music classes get cut and they are out of a job.  Unlike math, science, and language arts, there's no guarantee that students will enroll.

1.  Music Teachers love what they do.
I've met a lot of teachers and most of them enjoy what they do.  But the music teachers I have met . . . well . . . they LOVE what they do.  They work with the best, brightest, most creative kids and they get to make music.  (Excuse me if I feel a little envious . . .)

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