Top ten reasons I love being a music teacher…

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So, as this blog appears to gradually be becoming a collection of lists, I thought I might as well go with it and add another one!!

Being a teacher has it’s moments of hair-tearing, blind-raging, hysterics-having awfulness, when you wish you were anywhere else in the world rather than standing in front of 27 kids trying to get them to engage with Mozart. But for all the crowd-control, samba-drumming-induced headaches, and trying not to laugh when a child hits themselves over the head with a cowbell, it’s still a pretty awesome job… So here’s my Top Ten Reasons I Love Teaching Music. Fingers crossed this list will only grow as I start my career as a qualified teacher in September!

1. Kids are hilarious. It may be a cliche, but they really do say the funniest things. This weeks top quotes are: ‘Miss, if you throw enough mud at the wall, it might stick. But my wall is a bit greasy so you’ll need a lot of mud’ (from a low ability Year 10, struggling with learning all the vocab required for GCSE) or marking a test paper about Schoenberg (a famous serialist composer) illustrated with a little drawing of a bowl and spoon, and an arrow labelling it ‘Cerealism’.

2. I get to do what i love all day, every day. Vive La Musique!

3. The HOLIDAYS! It might not be the noblest of reasons, but that moment when you realise there’s only 2 weeks left until your next break is pure magic. It almost makes up for having to work every night of the week.

4. That look of pure triumph on a child’s face when they learn to play that difficult rhythm / tune / chord / harmony they’ve been struggling with for weeks – particularly when you’ve spent a lot of time coaching them and weren’t sure if they were ever going to get it right! If i was allowed to high five my students, that would definitely be the occasion.

5. Walking through the playground at lunchtime and seeing the boys playing football. Someone scores just as the bell rings for afternoon registration and they all jump up and down and run around with their arms in the air, celebrating like they’ve won the world cup – some things will never change.

6. The moment when the kid who’s been playing you up all year, despite you trying and failing to engage him with ever more elaborate and exciting lesson plans, suddenly decides that you’re ‘alright’ and asks if you can teach his class again next year. N’aww. Why did i hate you so much again?!

7. When you get back to the office after your toughest class to find this on your desk (even if your name is spelt wrong…)

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8. Having to use my brain / initiative on a daily basis. Having worked in a few other jobs prior to training as a teacher, I can definitely tell you that finding a job where you have to engage your brain at least once an hour is somewhat of a rarity! I love the fact that you may have taught the same lesson 5 times, but each new class you teach it to will still react differently, take an approach that you hadn’t even considered, or require you to find a completely new way to teach a familiar concept.

9. They ask all the questions that you’d never thought of and wish you had. When i first started teaching i wasn’t prepared for the ingenuity of my students. They often spring them on you when you’re least expecting it: “Can women play Gamelan?”, “Why is there no note H?” or “Why isn’t there an E sharp black note?”. All good questions, to which my response is ‘That’s a great question, and I’d love to know the answer myself – why don’t you look it up for homework and tell me the answer next week?’ Works like a charm 😉

10. Inspiring a student to love music, start learning an instrument, to carry on studying music, or listen to something new they never would have experienced otherwise, and seeing them enjoying making music. That’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it?

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