Confessions of a First Year Maestro

It 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.
instertnamehere instertnamehere
26-30, M
10 Responses Jan 10, 2008

Band is very challenging! Other teachers don't realize the amount of information we have to process on top of the usual crowd control that we do. "Put your phone away/ Trumpets, D, 1 & 3! no 1& 3 together! Tenors, just the first and second index fingers! Trombones! No Slide fights!" Etc. I taught at a very rough inner city school for five years and it was hell, and finally we opted for a drum line, which was better. Now I'm at a smaller school and its gratifying what you can get kids to do. Sounds like you're building an excellent program. Keep at it!

Great story, hope all works out well for you and the kids.

Great story, very heart warming. Having said that, it's a good thing you are a music teacher, because you have atrocious grammar.

I started reading you story thinking you could be our new band director. How funny. Thank you, I will think of you as we start our new year with our new director. And will try to be a little more understanding toward him.<br />

I`m a tutor for now, hoping to become a teacher and working my bottom off to make it. That ''lightbulb'' moment is why I deal with most of the stuff my ''kids'' as I refer to them, do. I think I fell in love with teaching and helping others the same day my first ''kid'' got that look in her eyes and brought home her first B+ ever. Not an A, but considering she was failing, not too bad.<br />
Thanks for reminding me of my goal and how it's always better to keep going cuz in the end, it`s worth it.

i can relate to that coz i myself is a teacher...there's no greater reward when at the end of the day u see ur students happy... so they say...teaching is not a profession, it's a vocation...Kudos!!

As a retired teacher, it is gratifying to know that there are still young people going into teaching for the right reasons and getting some good results. there will always be days when you hate to hear the bell start the day, and be thrilled when it sounds to end the day. Thank goodness, seeing the lightbulbs go off makes up for most of that. Have patience with yourself and the students. Keep your enthusiasm and love of your subject and you should continue to be successful.

It is nice to see that you have gone far in this job and gained the respect of the students. That is very important. <br />
I remember not too long ago when I was in band in middle school, we had a different teacher every year. It was devastating when the first one left. He was wonderful, encouraged us, we respected him and were never rude, he wrote songs for us, and promised we would aspire to be great musicians. However, near the end of the year, he explained to us that he was offered a better job and would be leaving. We were astonished.<br />
The teacher after that was extremely hard to respect and many people quit, and by the end of the year, so had she.<br />
Luckily, we were able to get a nice band teacher the next year, and though much repairing had to be done, it was a nice way to end my middle school career. I am glad to see she plans to stay for a long time.<br />
And therefore, I congratulate you on staying with it, and not giving up. Though it may not seem like it all the time, it really does mean a lot to your students. Especially when they see that you're trying.

Thank you for your Comments

Great writing; WONDERFUL story! I think everyone can appreciate this whether they are a teacher or not! Thanks!