When will I ever learn?

Frontpage Forums Choral When will I ever learn?

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    To say “no”? I started this year enthusiastic, prepared, and ready for a great new year, but now six weeks in I am starting to panic. I must admit it stems mostly from my fear that I will loose my job after this year. Music in my district has been on the chopping block three years in a row and I can’t shake the feeling the ax is really going to fall this time. So, I am trying to prepare myself both mentally and financially for the inevitable. While my husband has a good job my family can’t afford for me to not work. We have young son (he’s under two), a mortgage, two cars, student loans, etc., etc., etc…
    I’ve been taking on more private students (guitar, voice, piano) but they are flaky, don’t show, don’t pay, don’t communicate, etc…
    I agreed to direct the local children’s theatre company’s musical (they couldn’t find anyone else, there is a small stipend, many of the students are “mine” or have been in the past, there is lots of built in parent support) and we’ve started rehearsals but I still haven’t finalized the rehearsal schedule, blocked the show, etc…
    And finally, I became a licenced Music Together Center Director (I love the program, want my son in the classes, there is nothing like it in my area). However, this means classes three days a week, right after school, plus prep time, travel to three towns in the county (I already teach at two schools), schlepping instruments around, etc.
    My hope is these three things, private studio, children’s theatre director, Music Together Center director, will allow my family to stay afloat when the ax does fall. I can’t wait until the job dries up to try and build these things, it has to happen now.
    Now how do I make it through this year? I already can’t keep up. It’s too much. I want/need to do it all but am becoming overwhelmed. How do I make the most of a difficult situation, give my students a fantastic experience, all while maintaining my sanity and being and wife and mother to a young family?
    Most nights I pass out with my son after another looong day and wake loooong before the sun.
    I’m tired.


    You have basically answered your own concern here. You are doing so much to ensure financial security that you are not able to give the energy to making your teaching and your family your priority. The ax probably will fall if you don’t make your music class so wonderful they can’t possibly cut it. People are programs. If your students are doing well and love the class you will have parent and administrative support, but you have to have time for preparation and you have to have the mental and physical well being to manage it. Why not give your all to that and give up the other things and then if the class is still cut you will feel like you did everything you could to make it work. You could probably maintain a small private studio while you are teaching and then increase the numbers if the job doesn’t work out.

    LeAnna Willmore, NAfME Choral Education Chair

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