Thoughts on My Decision to Not Become A High School Band Teacher (And Why I’m Happy About It)
May 25, 2023
I have no idea why, but lately a lot of old dreams and ideas of what my life would be like have surfaced. I don’t know what triggered them (Probably the major cleaning and organization I’ve been doing lately?) but they are here. And they are getting on my nerves.
I keep remembering an old goal I had. When I was a teenager, I planned on becoming a high school band teacher. I didn’t really want to become a teacher, but I needed to pick an occupation goal, so I picked it. After high school band and going to college, I realized it wasn’t the best job for me. In fact, it was probably the worst job for me. I like kids. I liked music. I liked sharing my love of music with other people. I even liked the idea of creating football half time shows, concert plans, and working with a group of people to teach them how to work together as a team. Yet, there were major drawbacks to becoming a teacher.
First, I didn’t like how much teachers get paid. Even band teachers don’t get paid well. I’m not a greedy person, nor do I like to surround myself with luxurious materialistic things, but the amount of money I would get paid wouldn’t have covered student loans and my dream of owning my own house. I would also be teaching in Arizona, which is known as a state that doesn’t pay teachers very well. So, that was a major negative for me.
Secondly, I like the students, but not all of them. Or some of their parents. Teaching students that are not as “well behaved” as others is a part of teaching. Same thing goes with parents that are not doing what is best for their child. After pondering on this, I knew dealing with parents and students wasn’t something I knew I could do. Not everyone should quit for that reason, but I knew deep down inside teaching was not the right career path for me.
Third, I began to really hate music. I love music. It always brought me joy to listen to it. Same thing goes with creating it and performing it. Yet after learning how to teach music, I began to despised it. It was so bad I didn’t want to turn on my radio or listen to any music of any kind. I just hated it too much.
Fourth, I didn’t like all the politics around teaching band. Among the asking for funding from the school, I would also need to fundraise and promote the band. In the music industry and college bands, there is usually someone designated to do this. This does depend on the size of the school, but for me, I would need to do everything myself. Furthermore, I don’t know if I could do it without some sort of business classes. In the degree program I was in, there weren’t any classes about finance or how to raise funds for bands. If I wanted them, I would need to take them separately, outside the school of music.
Fifth, I began to learn how bossy I would need to be in order to be a band teacher. Everyone around me was outgoing. They were also well spoken and extroverted. I was not. I can be charismatic and outgoing, but my health problems make me more introverted. Speaking of heath problems…
The sixth and final reason why I didn’t want to become a high school band teacher is my health. One of the major problems for me as a teenager in high school is the fact I was sick. A lot. It also affected the way I could perform music. Marching band was impossible and physically painful to do. Today, I know what happened. Aside from undiagnosed allergies, I also had a major infection that spread throughout my body. This infection damaged muscles and caused me a great deal of pain. I am fine now. Yet, going through college knowing my body is weak because of the infection and how long it will take to heal, if at all, was something I knew I couldn’t do. Still to this day I struggle lifting my arms (The infection was exceptionally bad in my shoulder and arm areas) and keeping them up for an extended period of time. I still have full range of motion for my arms, but there are days I over load my arms and they hurt badly. Sitting at a desk, typing or doing something else for a living is a better job for me than conducting a high school marching band.
Overall, I made the right choice to not become a high school band director/teacher. For many people, it is the right decision. For me, it isn’t. I am happy I didn’t continue to pursue as a teacher either. As time has moved on, I now see why I picked teaching as a career and how teaching and reason why I would’ve become a teacher, would’ve held me back from my true calling. I now enjoy music again. I still can work with people, sharing my love of music with them. I just don’t need to teach to do it!