Confessions of a First Year MaestroIt All began in November of 2006. I heard through a chain of people that a band director had quit and they were looking for a replacement immediately. I still had another month to go with my student teaching, but i thought I'd throw my name in the hat. THat evening I faxed my resume and contacted the office of professional services at my University to send references, scores, etc.
I was called in for an interview along with seven other candidates. I was by far the youngest applicant there that day. Another applicant was my Student Teaching cooperating teachers good friend.
THe top two candidates were called back a week later, myself and the friend of my teacher. I was offered the job on the spot and they asked when i could start. I told them that I graduated on December 15th and could start after that. It was decided that I would start January 3rd, After their Winter Break.
My First week I learned that I had 2 performances and a district competition in early and mid march, my budget for the year was mostly spent though no one seemed to be able to tell me on what, and That in a rural waterfront community, My wife and I couldn't afford to live anywhere!
I rifled through a music library that hadn't been touched or upgraded in what had to be at least 10 years, i had to deal with band boosters who wanted to know what my goals for the year were, when we could have the band picnic, if we were going on a trip in the spring, What were my fund-raising goals, how was i going to determine grades, etc. I had to deal with students who were left with abandonment issues when their beloved band teacher said (on a friday night after a football game) "Not a bad performance guys. I am not going to be teaching you anymore, you guys have pushed me over the edge. See you around".
I had a "Percussion guy" who was also their long-term sub who felt it was his job to be the band director and seemed to think that I was just there for Show. (Turns out I was, I Showed him the door and encouraged him to not let it hit him in the arse on his way out, but that's a story for another day).
It has been a year since that first day. I like to think that I am finally settling in! I have gained the trust and respect of my students, and their parents. We had a moderately successful marching season, and as we speak I am attempting to write a letter of recommendation for a student's college acceptance.
I am not going to lie.... There are some days when I dread the bell ringing in the morning. Some days i watch the clock more than the students in hopes that 3:15 will get here sooner rather than later. Some days I can't wait to just get home to a nice cold beer.
But more often, there are the days when you can actually see the "light-bulb" moments. If you are a teacher you know what I am referring to. That look a student gets when they suddenly and inexplicably realize that they get it. That they have learned and mastered something new. It's truly an electrifying experience. That is what makes the meager salary and crappy parking worth it. That is why I am a teacher.