Dear Music Teacher,
It’s okay to have a bad day.
Whether you’re in year 1 or year 30, you will always have bad days. And that is perfectly okay.
For instance, this may have happened to you…
- technology failure during lesson observation
- angry parent email/phone call about a student you are doing your best for even though the parent(s) are convinced otherwise (resulting in some tears shed)
- marching band rehearsal that had negative progress (seriously, we just ran that set 11 times and it got worse?!)
- learned about a drastic schedule change
- 5th graders who won’t stop talking and who are too cool for your lessons(and sometimes just flat out mean)
- it’s the week leading up to a break
- everything went wrong no matter what you did
- you seemed to have caught strep for the first time since you were 7 #ThanksTinyHumanGerms
- your alarm never went off and your tire went flat on the way to school
Now that you’ve had that bad day, you need to give yourself grace. There’s something about us music teacher folk. It’s in our music teacher blood to strive for excellence at all times because a piece of music where everyone makes one mistake is just a hot mess. No seriously, have you heard of the band piece A+? Each kid is instructed to make only one single mistake and the piece is totally ruined. But it definitely illustrates the point that musicians need to be more precise than most people.
The reality is, your lessons won’t be excellent every single day. Sometimes you will fail. Sometimes your students will fail. Sometimes your school will fail. And your technology will definitely fail you when you need it most(so don’t forget to plan a back up on that one next time).
So now that you’ve had this bad day, what’s next?
You should NOT:
- beat yourself up over it
- post a rant in a music teacher’s Facebook group that has 1,000’s of people you don’t know (I know this might be an unpopular opinion because there are rants and vent sessions posted there daily but you never know who might screen shot something and send it to your principal. There have been reports that people have gotten in trouble over things like this. Only talk to people you know and trust)
- isolate yourself
- stay really late at school trying to fix the problem – I’ve found on bad days, it’s best to try to leave the school as soon as you can to give your head some room to decompress
- allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling (sometimes you just need to punch something at the gym or cry it out in the car)
- talk to someone you trust (music BFF, mentor, significant other, etc.)
- give yourself a little treat that doesn’t cost a lot of money and won’t make you feel guilty later. I like to put a prepaid Starbucks card in my Music Teacher Emergency Kit for situations just like this.
- find an outlet outside of music to enjoy
- read positive notes from students and parents
- remember why you wanted to become a music teacher in the first place
Teaching music can be difficult. Not every day will be sunshines rainbows but that’s okay.
You’ve got this. Don’t let one bad day ruin your whole teaching career.
Keep Fighting The Good Fight,
Music with Miss W