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Old 01-08-2010, 12:41 PM   #1  
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Default In need of some life advice!

Hey ladies! I'm in need of some advice--I've talked to my family about it, but can't really talk to any of my friends here in town as they are my co-workers.

For a little bit of background on me, I graduated from college with a k-12 music education degree last December and spent spring semester job hunting and subbing in area schools.

I currently am the 6-12 music teacher in a small town in Iowa. I am in charge of 3 bands and 3 choirs plus 6-8 grade band lessons, all extra-curricular music activities, and the spring musical for this year. This really wasn't my ideal job, but as my first it seemed to be ok when I signed my contract.... and the $$ was right to help pay off loans. But I have been burnt out since October on this and have discovered how fickle some of my music kids are when they dropped at semester after acting like everything was fine and discovering how there isn't a lot of support for music at the school/community.

To add to this, my husband, whom has a music performance degree, has been having trouble finding a decent job that doesn't require him to drive 30-60 minutes (all highway, no rush hour traffic). At first we had agreed to stick this out for two years and they he would try auditioning for grad school at that time and if he got in I would try to find a new job. But I've recently starting receiving emails about band jobs that are opening for next year... more specifically... Middle School Band jobs. I love MS aged kids...weird right?? I've been told that I'll have a better chance at these jobs with a year under my belt, but I am torn as to what to do.

Any thoughts?? Advice would be greatly appreciated.... Sorry for the novel
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:50 PM   #2  
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That's a tough one.

My degree is in music business and entertainment industry, but I switched after 3 years of being a performance major for that very reason. My passion is arts administration and I've worked in non-profit to support music in the schools. I have a lot of friends that have gone on to teach.

I know this is a terrible answer, but the issues you are describing (being burnt out, lack of support), these are things that are widespread and you will have a really tough time escaping them. I've found that you really have to search for schools and communities that won't burn you out. When I had my teaching studio, I did find that private and parochial schools weren't as rough on their programs.

...but such is the life of a music teacher Some of my closest friends are music educators in small communities and I can tell you that you are anything but alone.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:59 PM   #3  
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I don't think you are weird! I teach middle school art and I love this age.. well most of the time. LOL. I prefer 8th grade and 7th... the 6th graders still lack some maturity and get very hyper. Especially after lunch.

I understand how you feel.. This is my third year teaching, my second year at this particular school. The school is in an area where the kids are considered economically disadvantaged.. which isn't a problem.. its the administration that is the problem. They make my job even more frustrating. The kids are given 10 minutes to get to class after the tardy bell rings because they are E.D. and supposedly they don't understand time?? I think its giving them excuses..

I don't mean to ramble.. but I can relate. Its hard not to get fired up over something you are passionate about. I am even considering applying at a school for an art job that only 7th and 8th grade would come to art.

I have a few relatives that teach band. One of them has moved to several schools and finally found one that he is happy at. The fine arts programs are getting overlooked these days anyways. In Texas the focus is all on TAKS.

I know its hard not to get burnt out, but you want to be HAPPY.. so find a job that you can enjoy. You don't want to be stressed if you don't have to be.

GOOD LUCK!
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:03 PM   #4  
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I am in a totally different profession (nursing) but I changed last year from I job I had grown to hate to my current one, and I am so happy I got out of there. I took a tiny pay cut, but being happy and not waking up dreading the work day is more than enough pay off. My advice is to do what makes you happy. I have learned that my dissatisfaction in my old job influenced every aspect of my life and my happiness at my current job seems to make the rest of my life so much happier as well. Good Luck
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:11 PM   #5  
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Well, you got to work out the best deal for yourself or you will get no where. I think you might consider what "paths" each road will lead to, and what ultimate outcome. I think the middle school jobs sound better. You need to get into a school system that supports the music program, and you like that age of kid. I think at the beginning of a carreer it is acceptable to do some changing, as long as you honor your present contract. I've also lived in Iowa. I left it as soon as possible. That's just a personal thing. Being stuck in a small town always limits your opportunity. Unfortunately, if you want choices, you have to move to where the choices are more plentiful. -- unless you like it, that is.

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Old 01-08-2010, 02:45 PM   #6  
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Firstly, don't take the kids dropping out as a personal blow. They are not quitting because you're doing anything wrong in the classroom, but because they're teenagers. They get interested in things, and then they get interested in new things. Of course they're "acting like everything is fine," because to them everything is fine. They just get bored, or they've satisfied their arts credits and want to take basketball instead, or they don't want to miss Jersey Shore to practice scales.

Unfortunately, movies like Music of the Heart or Mr Holland's Opus set us up for an idealistic fall. Sure, you could change a couple of kids' lives, but after age 12 they just want to screw up and find life directions for themselves. You can take the job at the middle school if you want to, but I don't think it will make much of a difference (except you won't have to deal with as much making out in the cloak room or pot smoking after practice). Funding will be equally inadequate, and the kids will be equally fickle (if not more so, because at least in high school you get the occasional kid who wants to be the next Wynton Marsalis).

As for your husband, his situation isn't very unusual. I can't say it's tied to your choice of profession, either--I've got a BS in Biology and I'm working part-time at a disability services library because no one else would take me. Has he considered giving personal lessons? Rates are very generous these days, even if it isn't exactly steady work. If he's willing to sacrifice himself to volunteer community orchestras or form unpaid quartets for a while, he could found a solid network that will eventually tip him off to a full-time job.

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Old 01-08-2010, 06:41 PM   #7  
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Thanks for all of your advice ladies! I really appreciate it and it definitely gives me some things to think about. I think that the major thing that has me burnt out and considering a change is having to teach 3 bands and 3 choir and do lessons because I just don't feel like I can really focus on any one thing to make it really, really good. I'm just pulled so many ways :S
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:46 PM   #8  
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That is really tough. In my own experience I can tell you we had to follow one job or the other--it just wasn't possible for us to BOTH be in the lead. We chose my husbands because we knew I would be home with the kids at some point. I was married very young--age 22. Sometimes I really wonder "what if" but I can honestly say I am happy most of the time. I have continued to further myself and I worked for over a decade--but always in the shadow of his career taking precedence.

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Old 01-08-2010, 06:53 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kristilinn13 View Post
Hey ladies! I'm in need of some advice--I've talked to my family about it, but can't really talk to any of my friends here in town as they are my co-workers.

For a little bit of background on me, I graduated from college with a k-12 music education degree last December and spent spring semester job hunting and subbing in area schools.

I currently am the 6-12 music teacher in a small town in Iowa. I am in charge of 3 bands and 3 choirs plus 6-8 grade band lessons, all extra-curricular music activities, and the spring musical for this year. This really wasn't my ideal job, but as my first it seemed to be ok when I signed my contract.... and the $$ was right to help pay off loans. But I have been burnt out since October on this and have discovered how fickle some of my music kids are when they dropped at semester after acting like everything was fine and discovering how there isn't a lot of support for music at the school/community.

To add to this, my husband, whom has a music performance degree, has been having trouble finding a decent job that doesn't require him to drive 30-60 minutes (all highway, no rush hour traffic). At first we had agreed to stick this out for two years and they he would try auditioning for grad school at that time and if he got in I would try to find a new job. But I've recently starting receiving emails about band jobs that are opening for next year... more specifically... Middle School Band jobs. I love MS aged kids...weird right?? I've been told that I'll have a better chance at these jobs with a year under my belt, but I am torn as to what to do.

Any thoughts?? Advice would be greatly appreciated.... Sorry for the novel
I say do it, what do you have to lose? Life is about taking chances and if you don't do it you'll be wondering what if's then if you were to do it. If you did it and turns out it wasnt what you expected you can either go back to the same job or try something else. Now if you do it and it's great and it's exactly what you thought then perfect. All i'm saying is if you don't try it you'll never know.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:52 AM   #10  
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I found another HUGE positive about the town this job is in... it has YMCA-YWCA!!! The small town I"m in right now only has a wellness center connected to the school, but it has limited hours and always has the school athletes in it :S
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