At this time 10 years ago I was just wrapping up my final concert at the school where I’d gotten my start in teaching. I LOVED my job. I was really pretty good at it- I had doubled the size of my band program and had hired an orchestra teacher because I’d grown that one as well. My groups were showing well at festivals and I was having fun. It was my dream job.
But I was torn in two. My husband at the time decided he was tired of being home. He couldn’t manage two kids. I could do it better [this was a frequent excuse of his to get me to do things he didn’t want to do]. So I had to decide: stay at my dream job and let someone else raise my children while I pay them $600+ per month for the privilege, or quit teaching and let my newly-graduated accountant husband make the money.
It was a very challenging decision, but I made the choice to stay home.
This time of year many teachers are in a similar boat. You’re trying to decide if staying at your job is right for you. Or maybe you’re thinking about changing schools? Or teaching a different subject? Or moving to an area where there’s more of whatever it is you love?
Or maybe you’re just not sure about your job. You could be showing one of the many signs that you should quit. It could be:
• You’re miserable every morning.
• Your program is shrinking- students keep dropping out and more don’t sign up.
• You really dislike the people you work with and/or your bosses.
• You’re constantly stressed, negative, and/or unhappy.
• You’re day drinking.
• You’re work-related stress is affecting your physical health.
• You no longer have good work-life balance.
• Your job duties have changed but your pay hasn’t.
• You are experiencing verbal abuse, sexual harassment, or are aware of any time of other legal behavior.
I can’t credit my own brain for these reasons you might think about quitting or changing jobs. You can find the entire list with explanations on Forbes.com: 14 signs It’s Time To Leave Your Job
Also consider, if you are losing your hearing, please please quit. It’s not worth it for you to continue to punish your body to train musicians you can’t properly hear. I’ve seen [and heard] so many music teachers who just can’t hear properly who are still teaching and their ensembles are truly struggling to sound…well….good.
If making tough decisions like this makes you even more stressed or anxious then take a deep breath and know #1 that it’s going to be okay and #2 there are methods for dealing with tough decisions.
Walter Bitner just wrote THIS EXCELLENT POST about his decision making process.
Angela Watson just posted her pro-con weighted list to help you make decisions about your teaching job WHICH YOU CAN READ ON HER TEACHER BLOG HERE.
And there’s a fabulous TED Talk by Ruth Chang about how to make tough choices which YOU CAN WATCH HERE.
My only supplement to their excellent advice is this:
Once you’ve made the decision, stick to it.
Don’t be wishy-washy and flippy-floppy. You make the choice, now that choice is going to guide your actions.
I told you that I made the choice to leave my dream job to stay home with my little kids. It was a tough choice but I never once looked back. Now my kids are all in school full-time and very independent I can honestly say I may the right choice. I have never regretted that decision. Not when we’ve taken pay cuts, had to move out of state, or even when I got divorced and had to become the provider. It has all been worth it to me.
For you I say, whatever your choice: Move fearlessly into the future and don’t look back. You’re worth it.
Not sure what to do if you don’t want to teach in a school anymore? I got your back!
I’ve created a list of 7 Alternative Jobs for Music Teachers. Several of these I’ve done myself, so I know what I’m talking about here.
Enter your name and email to download the list now: