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Career Story: Music Teacher

Music Teacher

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school district in suburban Boston.

Education: BA, Public Policy, Brown University •• M.M.Ed., Music Education, Boston Conservatory

Previous Experience: I worked for two years as an intern in Washington, at an environmental think tank and educational magazine.

Job Tasks: I teach between 3-5 classes every day. Every class is different: a 6th grade drama class, then chorus, then a guitar elective, then 7th grade music, for example. During free periods I prepare materials (handouts, instrument repair), enter grades, clean, do email, prepare next lessons. Many days after school I have play rehearsal, or work with soloists/kids needing extra help/other kids who love to hang out in the music room. At some point most days I try to stop by the library, computer lab, or French room to chat with friends.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best parts of job: being with smart, funny kids; getting to sing and play instruments and games, helping kids, supportive colleagues and bosses, freedom to create what I do every day

Worst parts of job: Not much time to talk to other adults, boring data entry stuff, feeling inferior to other teachers, not much control. I have to luck out with good bosses.

Job Tips: As difficult as it may be financially, first year teachers should try to be part-time. Creating curriculum will eat your life. Even if you don't have time, go hang out with other teachers. Take a job -- any job -- in the best school district you can, regardless of what your dream job is. Know your first year will be hard. Your second will be easier (but still hard). It will get better. You will be underpaid; deal with it and enjoy your awesome career.

Additional Thoughts: Being a teacher is all about temperament. If you aren't sure you can cut it, sub, be a counselor, do SOMETHING with kids to be sure you can handle the intense, non-stop decision-making that comes with being in charge of 25 people. It can be overwhelming, stimulating, or a crazy power trip to be in charge. Find out if you like it before committing to a teaching program.

And finally, a lot of schools suck. If your first school sucks, it's not you. It's them.

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