I’ve taught at a)public and private schools, b)in inner city, rural and suburban areas and c)from K-12 grades. Sometimes, being a music teacher, can feel like a thankless job. We can feel unnoticed or unappreciated unless and/or until we host a program/concert. And we don’t typically hear from “parents” unless they are angry about something we allegedly said or did in class. Occasionally though you might get a short email, or a parent may stop you to let you know how something you said/did was a special moment in their child’s life. After you’ve been teaching a few years, and especially if you remain at the same school or at least in the same district, you will experience those moments when former students come back to visit you. While I get paid (financially) very little, the rewards of these visits are worth far more than any “incentive teacher pay” could ever be. It’s moments like these that you realize how you helped to shape and mold someone, and that music class was a very special time in their lives.
At the same time, I have been blessed to have been nominated for several teaching awards (state and national level) over the years – a few of which I have won. I don’t believe these acclamations have made me any better or smarter than anyone else. What do I know? I know that music has helped my students to not only learn and feel passionate about certain subject matters and current events that arose, but they felt driven and empowered to do something to make the world a better place. So much so, they did “take action” – helping to make their community and state a better place! I also know that music has proven to be so powerful that it has helped people to overcome the most atrocious and horrendous events and treatment we could ever imagine. I will be discussing these moments in the next couple of journal logs. These “moments” led me to win some of those teaching awards but it’s not for glory that I talk about these. Rather they are proof (at least in my opinion and belief) of how powerful and vital music is.