No Harm, No Foul
Opportunities and Accolades
By NAfME Member Audrey Carballo
I will step forward and speak on behalf of (al)most all my fellow music educators when I say I went into teaching because I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life. I wanted to impart my knowledge and love of music unto them. I did not enter my career waiting for the “Great job!” or the “Atta Boy’s” to come. But—it is so nice when they arrive!
Accolades can boost your credibility and worth in the workplace. Letters of praise are gold when it comes to seeking additional employment or job advancement. And, they can be used as a stepping stone when you want to take those first scary steps out of your classroom and into other committee or supervisory positions within your school or beyond.
I’ve learned when an opportunity knocks, you need to seriously consider answering that door and embrace the opportunity. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The congratulatory letters you get from your administration or district recognition go only so far. Make those praises sing for you in other ways. List them on your resume. Go to your professional conferences. Introduce yourself to the powers that be. Meet the movers and shakers in your region, county, or district. Make yourself available to help. They will remember you. And, when another opportunity comes along for which they think you would be best suited—they will call upon you.
It was only after I presented a session at the NAfME national conference in Nashville in 2015 that I considered writing a blog. The thought would have never even crossed my mind. Even after I was encouraged (multiple times) to do so, my first thoughts were, “Why me?” and “What can I say to my fellow music teachers that they would find interesting or worthy?”
The seeds you plant today with your ideas and energy will yield amazing harvests in the seasons and years to come.
After writing my blogs for three years, I have come to witness my blogs placing in the top 10 lists for most-read blogs all three years (2018, 2017, 2016). I guess I do have a valid voice. My voice is saying to you that you have one as well! Speak out. Toot your own horn. No one will know how amazing you are unless you tell them.
Musicians are notorious thieves. I mean that in the most innocuous of ways. We borrow one another’s ideas, hooks, improvisations, lesson plans, and discipline practices. Why don’t we share our insights and triumphs as well? Think about it—there are only eight notes in an octave, and unless you want to get crazy, a reasonable pool of rhythms we can play. For centuries, composers have been creating music with those same notes and rhythms. Did they keep their compositions to themselves? NO! They played their music for anyone who would stand still long enough to listen. We must do that with our classroom best practices.
Start small. Volunteer at school with a committee you like. Seek out a group in your district that has the same interests as you do. Contact your music supervisor and avail your assistance on any upcoming projects or performances they might be planning. Write a blog. Submit an article to your state music association. Record a webinar. Write a session proposal for an upcoming conference. Do or do not. You never know what will happen until you try.
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. The seeds you plant today with your ideas and energy will yield amazing harvests in the seasons and years to come.
About the author:
Audrey Carballo, a 37-year NAfME member, is in her 37th year as a music educator for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system, the fourth largest school system in the country. Her teaching experiences include general music, exploratory music, and chorus to regular and exceptional students in elementary, middle school, high school, and exceptional student settings.
She has been an Assessor for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and currently serves on the National Education Association Member Advisory Board Panel and as the Union Steward and Chairperson of the Educational Excellence School Advisory Board Council at her school. Recently, Audrey was the Children’s Choir Director for the Miami Music Project, which is an El Sistema program spearheaded by the world renowned conductor, James Judd.
One of her most rewarding experiences has been with the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. In addition to teaching Broadcast Journalism classes, and giving private lessons in voice, composition, theory and piano, her duties included being the Vocal and Advanced Theory instructor for their Better Chance Music Production Program. Audrey was one of the co-authors of an article published in the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness titled, “A New Synthesis of Sound and Tactile Music Code Instruction: Implementation Issues of a Pilot Online Braille Music Curriculum.”
Audrey collaborated with Jin Ho Choi (another instructor at the Lighthouse) for nine months, creating their Braille Music Distance Learning course.
Follow Audrey on Twitter @scarlettfeenix.
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.