This is the first August in 3 years that I will not be returning to my classroom to enrich the musical minds of high school students, and with school starting in just a couple weeks for both myself and former students, I am feeling a mixture of emotions!
Leaving a program I was fully invested in was a difficult choice. I loved my school, colleagues, administration, and of course, my students. In a way, it was almost unhealthy. I was constantly thinking about the next event, or even repertoire for the next year. I was obsessed with having a great program.
There are some pros and cons to all of the above statements:
Leaving a program I was fully invested in. It almost felt like a breakup, but not a messy one. Kind of like when high school sweethearts break up when they go to college on opposite sides of the country; they know they will always love each other, but they need to go and find themselves, or something. If our opportunity at USM never surfaced, I don’t think I would have left my school. I guess this is neither a pro or a con…perhaps a pron? Or a cro? I’ll work on it.
I loved my school, colleagues, administration, and students. This, to me, is a con. How will I ever find another school that I loved so much?? (This is me being slightly dramatic right now, but really, you just don’t know!) I was very lucky to work in a place where it was a joy to come to school every day. Especially with an administration that supported the arts…so very lucky!
I was obsessed with having a great program. Probably a con when you phrase it that way, but I feel the need to justify it by asking, why wouldn’t any choral director want their kids to be great? But still, maybe there were times when my mind was on the choirs from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. I think when I return to the classroom I need to find a little bit more work/life balance and not be so crazy-new-teacher-who-wants-approval-and-affirmation-that-she’s-doing-the-right-stuff. Maybe this will transfer to my studies, and I’ll be obsessed with doing awesome work and being smart.
I am excited for the role change. Now I can do all of the things students do that annoy their teachers, right? 😉
Kidding, mostly. But seriously. There are some things I will miss about being a teacher.
- Working with high school students. Every teacher has an age group they love more than the others, and they are mine. High school students are becoming you adults, and I love watching that transformation. They have personality, dreams, and can really challenge you. Yes, some high schoolers have special traits that get under your skin daily and make you want to scream, but overall, they are just trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into our world. I loved helping them figure those things out!
- Being a conductor. While I’m really looking forward to sitting back and singing in the choir, part of me will miss designing rehearsals, and the physical act of conducting. I hope to take some conducting classes down the road, but it won’t be the same as directing your own choir.
- Seeing “aha!” moments. I’m a hardcore believer in making each student musically literate, and I loved watching students master a concept or improve their sight reading scores. The process of learning is exciting to watch if you greet it with patience.
[Tweet “The process of learning is exciting to watch if you greet it with patience.”]
Will I miss the hours, and frequent extra hours? Maybe sometimes. A student schedule is a little more attractive to me. Will I miss 30 minute lunches that were never actually 30 minutes? No, sir. Will I miss wearing teacher clothes? Not at all!! Hello jeans and toms all day every day!
Teachers, have you ever left the profession for a short period of time? What did you miss about teaching? Leave a comment below, or continue the conversation on Twitter @LindsayBrazell.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51597203@N03/