March is Music in Our Schools month (MIOSM), so as a former music teacher I have an insider’s perspective for all the classroom teachers out there. MIOSM can be truly wonderful, but is often equally busy. Music teachers can sometimes feel undervalued when people react out of stress in all the hustle and bustle.
It’s not a problem isolated to March, though. In my experience, music teachers, like many “specials teachers” are often treated differently from the typical classroom teacher. There are two main opinions: 1) We’re just babysitters who give the classroom teacher a break, and 2) We aren’t “real teachers”, so we don’t know what we’re talking about.
Now I know that most teachers and administrators don’t mean to think of other teachers this way. I think many times people simply don’t understand the amount of training music teachers have. A music education degree (BME) is essentially a complete education degree AND a music degree, combined.
So teachers, if you want show your music teacher some extra love during Music in Our Schools Month, or even all year round, here are my top tips:
During these especially busy periods of the year, music teachers tend to be shuffled from rehearsal to class and back again a million times. Their schedules are overloaded. Dropping your class off five minutes early prevents them from prepping for the next class (or peeing). Five minutes late means they can’t fully prepare your students for their performances, and have to improvise lesson plans that are already tight. Now, I’ve been on the side of the classroom teacher too. I KNOW how desperately you want an extra five minutes free from your cherubs, especially right before breaks. But that five minutes might be the only break your music teacher sees that day!
We know that rehearsals interfere with your schedule and aren’t always convenient. I promise you that music teachers do their best to accommodate everyone’s schedule, but it often just isn’t possible. The more positive you can be, the more positive your students will be, and the better experience everyone can have!
Music teachers have an entire grade level work together all at once to show every parent, grandparent, and community member what they’ve learned in class. It’s a lot of things to think about at once! Imagine if you had to gather the entire first grade together on stage at once to present everything they learned in your math class! Intimidating, right? Recognize that pressure, and give them grace when things aren’t perfect.
It’s not just your music teacher
Many of your specialist teachers have seasons that are more difficult, much like Music teachers in March. Your flexibility and positive attitude make all of our lives (including yours), and our time teaching your kiddos, go so much smoother all year round!
ps. If all else fails, grace and coffee will be surefire ways to show your appreciation.