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Summers off....


davebrownbass

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I'm rapidly approaching the "summer off" teachers are supposed to get.

 

Gigs piling up, music camps, seminars...not much time off.

 

But I'd just like to remind anyone who thinks teachers lead a charmed life by getting 10 weeks off in the summer...

 

During the school year, I average about 55 hours a week, anything over my schedule is with no salary. So I'm tired and want to rest just a bit, before I jump back in.

 

This year in addition to my school duties, I've been on 3 overnight judging gigs (1 with no pay) 3 Saturday judging gigs (2 with no pay), 3 weekends of clinics and concerts (no pay), a week long trip to State convention (I had to pay out of my pocket), 4 festivals (Orlando, San Antonio, Austin, Carrolton) totalling 10 days of 24-7 supervision of students (no pay, but at least I didn't have to pay much for the trips). And at least 20 meetings/clinics lasting 4 hours or more...no pay. Whew!

 

As my orchestra program grows in numbers and excellence, these obligations only increase.

 

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining...I love my jobs, I go to work every day feeling privileged to work with these kids, feeling lucky to get paid for it.

 

Only get incensed when someone who doesn't realize what a teacher's life is like makes some comment like, "What the hell do you want? You get every holiday and every summer off."

 

Yep. I also get NO vacation time. If my wife has a vacation trip scheduled during the school year, I'm outta luck. My dad is the Grand Master of the entire Kentucky mason lodge, and I am having trouble getting off in October to attend his ball (he's asked me to bring Double Portion and play.)

 

40K a year is the current starting pay in my district...more than teachers have ever made here. Hmmm....with 20 years experience, I'd be making about 44K....20 years, and only 4 grand more than a beginner? Anyway, it's a living wage.

 

Well, I'll shut up. Teachers problems are better documented elsewhere, and it doesn't help when we have a bunch of losers who've "settled on teaching" cause they could do nothing else.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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i have nothing but respect for teachers. i tried to tutor back in high school. that lasted for about 1 hour. i just wanted to grab the guy by the head and ask," are you really that stupid?". :mad: i have no patience when it comes to teaching and i respect anyone who does. :thu:
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Is your pay lower because you teach arts? It does seem odd that your pay is only 10% more than a new teacher.

I have a BFA, so I have nothing but the utmost respect for teachers of the arts; it seem they always have to, or want to, go the extra mile for their kids (art shows, concerts, studio time during study halls).

Keep up the good work! :thu:

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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My wife teaches primary school (she's in her second year). I feel that the job gets easier (with experience) rather than the pay getting more...just a thought

 

Edit: I added the "wife" after Edendude pointed out my mistake

A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all; he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame. -- C.S.Lewis
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Originally posted by RHINO_ROB:

i have nothing but respect for teachers. i tried to tutor back in high school. that lasted for about 1 hour. i just wanted to grab the guy by the head and ask," are you really that stupid?". :mad: i have no patience when it comes to teaching and i respect anyone who does. :thu:

the same with me. i admire those who are able to say - ok, lets try one more time - instead of screaming on the poor wannabe musician. the real teacher will always try to get the best out of you.
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My dad became a teacher when we landed here in Virginia--he was subbing part-time while looking for a job and got asked to stay on. He had to get his Masters and qualify for his teaching certificate. When he took the job, they didn't tell him that he'd be spending a lot of time out of the classroom making lesson plans, putting together presentations, and he wouldn't usually be reimbursed for materials.

 

Shenandoah Co. recently had to vote on a pay raise for teachers to bring them up to the state average--not even the national, which Virginia lags behind, but just the state. It didn't pass. As a result, the valley has a hard time attracting good qualified teachers from other areas, and the education system is not usually good enough to create its own educators.

 

As Rodney says, teachers don't get no respect. Hats off to you, Dave.

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Fellow orchestra teacher chiming in here with you Dave. The top of our pay scale is just over your starting. How's that for depressing.

 

I'll second your thought that I am not really complaining. Every job and career has it's issues. I just want people to understand that while we may only be "in school" for 9 months, most of us work for 12. Many work a different job in the summer to make some extra $$.

 

I try to make a concious effort to scale back in the summer. My mind is fried after a year of high energy and demanding kids. I need to recharge, and have some time to do things for me for a change.

 

Try to enjoy your "summer off" Dave.

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The best teachers do it for the summers off!vLet's face it the best teachers could be successful in any career. It is all about the summer's off.

 

I teach too. 3 days a week in a residential school for "at-risk" kids. The pay is less than public school, but I have a complete digital recording studio, no mor than 6 in a class and an agency that encourages me to gig, travel and even help pay NAMM expenses and stuff. Man, I am lucky.

 

Summer is coming. Time to clean up all the student projects off my hard drives and get ready to hang.

 

Mike

 

Mike

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Originally posted by SteveC:

Fellow orchestra teacher chiming in here with you Dave. The top of our pay scale is just over your starting. How's that for depressing.

 

I'll second your thought that I am not really complaining. Every job and career has it's issues.

.

Yep...that's depressing! One can only hope that the cost of living is low enough to make it happen.

 

Regarding the pay scale...the teacher shortage is so severe that they keep raising the entry level salary without raising the tenured people as much.

 

In my urban district, Fort Worth, we get maybe $1500 per year more than the suburbs. It's considered a less desirable job.

 

I also get an additional $3900 per year to pay me for before and after school rehearsals and etc.

 

Thanks all for chiming in. Remember, I do this by choice and I absolutely love it. I just wanted to dispel a myth.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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I don't want to take anything away from dedicated teachers. When my kids were in school, I sang their music teacher's praises for the work and love they put in, as well as many of their other teachers and administrators.

 

My wife works as a secretary in a middle school, and has been in the district 7 years. And we've learned a few things.

 

There are teachers that are dedicated. There are subjects that demand much more than prep+classroom time (music comes to mind). There are other areas where the teachers get paid for "extras" - for example, coaches get paid for their time (and deservedly so).

 

But I have come across plenty of teachers (on my own and thru my wife) that are immature. They not only expect to take the summer and holidays off, they never donate a minute of time beyond the minimum. Yeah, it's like that in lots of professions, but they dynamics are different. These (unmotivated) people are not living up to their responsibilities with the kids, set bad examples, and whine (big time) about everything. Then there's the teacher who is in my band - he started a jazz band for 6th graders on his own time. It's known throughout his district and the kids love it. Such a dichotomy.

 

And around here, they are making a different kind of money than you "outlanders" are making. I think a new teacher starts at $45K, but the average is more like 70-80. Admins are higher. Some of them are underpaid for what they bring to the school and the kids no matter what they make. Some should be dismissed.

 

Sorry Dave - hard to dispel that "summers off" thing because so many of your associates make it real. The key is to continuously praise/write about the good ones. I was always glad that my kids had music teachers like you and Steve.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I felt despair and social outrage when, upon landing my first job out of college as a software engineer, I learned that I was making a few thousand bucks more than the average local school principal/administrator who had over 15 years of experience. Why should someone who has so much of an influence on society make less than I do, when I just sit at a computer all day and think (and type)?

 

I admit that the despair and outrage faded very quickly once that first paycheck came, though. But I still kind of regret "selling out" and not doing teaching or music, which I thought I would enjoy quite a bit more. Hopefully I will be able to eventually transition into one of those professions and enjoy what I do a little more without having to sacrifice the well-being of my (future) dependents.

 

Nothing but respect for those of you who chose to follow teaching because they loved it, and in spite of the rigors and low compensation.

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I have had (and currently have) great music teachers, but I have also had some terrible ones. That only helps me be more greatful for the ones that I do have. Teachers can make a huge impact in the life of a student, and I'm sure your students are greatful for the time and effort you put in, even if they don't always act like it ;)
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Yep Tom, I know what you mean.

 

Wanna know something interesting? Fifth Grade students can tell within 1 week whether they have a good teacher or a bad one...whether it'll be a long year or not.

 

Not to toot my own horn too loudly, but something just happened 1 hour ago.

 

Tonight I sat principle for the Irving orchestra I play in. There were a lot of young string players in the audience...little elementary kids that had come at the behest of their teacher. So...the concert ends, these little kids rush the stage, asking for autographs and stuff. They ask questions about the bass, the resin, the bow hair.

 

I look up and notice...the stage is empty, the house is empty. Nothing but 6 or 7 little girls below stage and me on the stage, chatting, demonstrating, giving them attention. Even their own teacher had left to go to the reception.

 

I'm in my element, and don't even notice the time had slipped away.

 

At this same concert I had 2 of my HS students, kids graduating next week...a bass and a cello. I had started them in fifth grade and kept them for the past 7 years. One of them is actually the kid who had the stroke 2 years ago I wrote about is this thread about Survivor\'s guilt. Update: Ryan is doing fine, played the concert with me with only 2 rehearsals...is majoring in German at UT next year.

 

I first brought those 2 to hear me play on this very stage in sixth grade. Now, they are on the stage with me...one has a full cello scholarship to TCU.

 

Here I was, an hour ago; my students around me, being colleagues and I'm reaching out to the next generation. Lovin' it.

 

Ya know...ultimately, it's all about caring. Do your child's teachers care about your child as a human? If so, thank your lucky stars. If not, bitch at them for wasting yet another summer, yet another life.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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My father is a music teacher. He actually retired after 30 years and is now teaching full-time again. He and my mother got bored after they both retired and spent 3 years off.

 

I know what you're going through, man. My pops did the similar things every year and he wasn't paid much more than you are getting when he retired. I believe his starting salary was below 20K a year in the early 70's and when he retired (with a doctorate in music mind you) he wasn't even making 50K a year. Sad. Teachers are grossly underpaid. Relatively speaking, my starting salary in my day job was nearly what my father made in his last few years and now I make more than both my parents did combined. I almost feel guilty about that. It's just not right. In his last 4-5 years before he retired the first time, the school district that he was working for actually had him teaching a math class one period a day too (go friggin figure). He'd show up extra early to teach his jazz band, teach all his band classes during the day, teach the math class, and do stuff after 'normal' school hours to help his students out that needed the extra help. Teachers are amazing people and I have nothing but the utmost respect for what they do.

 

When I was in college, I played in the University of Washington marching band. By my last few years, there were a number of other people in the band that had my father as their middle school band teacher and they had nothing but nice things to say about my old man and the inspiration that he gave them to stick with music. That always made me feel really, really good. Teachers rule. It pains me tremendously when I hear things about school districts cutting their funding for the arts. It's a bloody travesty.

 

Dave, you and the other teachers on this forum have nothing but respect from me. You guys are awesome.

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One of our bands sax players is the music teacher at a very rural school (K-12). He definetly works hard with total dedication and we missed several gigs last year due to his marching band. He had the same jr. high music teacher my kids did which makes it incredible that he still plays at all.

Sad but true story:

My kids are sophmores in high school and no longer have any interest in band because of their experience in jr. high. The girl was getting a marvelous tone out of her mothers old student clarinet and was the first chair in 6th grade. In 7th grade she became bored with playing exactly the same songs and asked the teacher if she could play with the jazz band since the jazz band didn't have a clarinet. The teachers response, I swear to god, was "There are no clarinets in jazz." I was so infuriated that I couldn't go speak to her for fear of what I might say. I wanted to grab her by the collar and bitch slap her with metronomic precision while repeating "There ARE (slap) clarinets in jazz!" (slap)"There ARE (slap) clarinets in jazz!" (slap). The boy was moved to the trap set in 7th grade because the band all agreed that he had the best timing. After working all year on the big production he wasn't allowed to play the night of the show because the science teacher held his class late making him late for dress rehearsal. Neither has touched an instrument since; both elected play sports, where their contributions are valued.

Anyway, one return trip from a gig I'm relating this to my buddy the music teacher and he says "I'm not surprised, I had her in jr. high and she told me I didn't have the talent to be a music teacher." I will never forgive her.

 

 

www.ethertonswitch.com

 

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