Post # 1
I have a bit of a, IMO, a lose lose situation.
I have my teaching license in Music education which certifies me to teach elementary-high school general music classes or Instrumental classes. OKAY, right now I’m working as a special education classroom assistant. An aide. I’m at a really great school in chicago, and our school (a pre-k through 12 district) is opening a half time music position next semester. GREAT!
However, it’s geared towards someone who can start an Orchestra program. Our middle and high school has no band or orchestra program as of now. Now, I’m best with (and would LOVE) to teacher elementary general music. I student taught in MS and HS band. But never orchestra.. Even though I’m technically qualified to teach it. I’ve actually never played In an orchestra, just band.
Bees, what do I do? If I take (am selected for) this job, I know I won’t be the best person to fill it. If I don’t, I may never get in line for the elementary job. My heart isn’t really into the thought of teaching orchestra or high school. I will say that I’m a very hard worker, and have a lot of passion and drive to get shit done. I’m not a slacker.
What at would you do if you were me? There isn’t much for elementary music jobs out there right now, and Chicago has a lot of crappy schools I don’t think I would be happy at anyways. I’m so down about this opportunity.
also, I know I have lots of teachers that have already said they’d recommend me for the job, or speak for me on my behalf. In other words, I’m well liked as a worker there, and everyone always tells me I’d be great. I’m also thinking of starting a family soon, if that matters.
thank you if you’ve read this all!
Post # 3
@Ice_cream: This may be a dumb question – but what is the difference between an orchestra and band?
I would take it. Especially since you said there are not many jobs available currently. The way I would do it is to take this part time job, and then get on the sub list (assuming this works how it works in Chicago) and sub for the teachers taking half days. That way you’re technically working “full days” and you get your music experience
Post # 4
@Ice_cream: Do whatever you like, but I was in choir/band in high school and (depending if Orchestra would compete, etc.) There is some time commitment required outside of school hours. Would you be ok with that? Especially after you started a family?
Are you comfortable starting a program, essentially, by yourself? How long would you be willing to stay in this job to potentially get an elementary school position?
Post # 5
@weatherbug: this orchestra would start as just a string program. So violins, viloas, cello, and bass. Those instruments are not in band ensembles. I’m not as familiar with them.
I don’t think I could sub half days. This would be part time but still 5 days a week. I don’t think chicago does half day subs. Thanks for your input!
Post # 6
@jb20: I wouldn’t be the most knowledgable at starting this program. I’d research the hell out of it though. TBH, I’m not sure how long I would stay, it would only be a half time position for a year or two Before going full time. I want to have kids starting this summer. Essh. I’d be okay with after school stuff. I already coach HS cheerleading.
Post # 7
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
I would take it. I’d imagine that you’d have a better shot of getting the job you want coming from that position than the one you have.
Post # 8
I’d take the orchestra job. It’s closer to what you want to do than your current job, and you can’t be too choosy in this job market. It does sound like it would be quite a challenge though, especially if you have to teach the string instrument lessons and not just direct the orchestra.
Post # 9
No, I wouldn’t take it. I’m sure you would do fine with it, and that you wouldn’t give up. But I see this position like… Hm… A Spanish teacher who got a job as a French teacher. Both a very similar subject, but different enough where it’s really not fair- both to the teacher and students.
I did not do music education, but I was in band and know a fair bit about those instruments. I wouldn’t feel comfortablue teaching about strings at all- not with zero experience.
Not to mention starting a program… I imagine they want someone who will stay for a decent amount of time to build the program and let it fly. If you plan to leave after a year… The program could collapse.
So I would be very careful about this, and if you decide to do it, be ready to put in some serious work.
Post # 10
@Ice_cream: I participated in both in high school (strings and band) and have taught both, even though I student taught strictly band (I love how you are certified to teach pretty much anything music even if you only student teach in a certain area). I accepted a job where I was thrown into orchestra, even though I only played violin. I very quickly learned the other instruments to teach them.
As a music teacher I can relate to your hesitation. I’ll be honest, if you have had no experience in orchestra whatsoever (I had at least played violin my entire life), I would probably say “no” to the job. Strings are totally different than band. You would be able to do rehearsal (basically the same stuff) but I can understand your hesitation without knowing the technicalities of playing the instruments.
The music job search is TOUGH. You have to be resilient, and the best job WILL come along when you least expect it. Plus, this job is only half time, right? Don’t settle for less. I was an aide for a while as well, and there is no point in being half-time. It is basically an excuse to have you do a ton of work and get paid less. I applied and applied after my aide job and at the very last minute I got the perfect job for the situation I was in.
My advice? Don’t settle if you are financially okay right now. Your aide job right now is full-time, right? That means you probably get full beneifts? In my state, With a 1/2 time job, even though it is certified, you’ll only get 1/2 benefits. Also, If you accept a job where you have to basically teach yourself how to play four different instruments, you might end up being pretty miserable. Just a thought. That will be stressful on top of being a first-year teacher.
Post # 11
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
@Apple_Blossom: I don’t think the Spanish/French comparison is fair at all. It’s more like you normally teach French prose literature and you’re thinking about a position to teach French poetry literature.
Post # 12
@mrsSonthebeach: I actually think the french Spanish connection is not a total awful comparison.
@ms_margarita: thanks for your response. I would obviously be ready to put myself in position to do boat loads of extra work. It’s crazy how much you are expected to know how to teach when it is all very different. “Here play this violin for 2 weeks. Yup that should do it. You’re ready to teach orchestra!” Why did you do band if you only play a stringed instrument? Do you play a wind one as well? Thanks for your insight. Not sure if I still know what I’ll do. So many teachers are saying, do it do it!
Post # 13
@Ice_cream: The first year would be a beginning strings program, correct? And you know the fingering/how to read music for string instruments? I learned the violin in middle school (starting with begining strings moving into orchestra) and year 1 was really slow. Month 1 was here is how to pick up your instrument, how to hold your instrument/bow and how to play the strings with no finger positions. So that said, you might have time to grow into teaching strings. But you also sound hesitant, and teaching anything is an incredibly hard job, so you don’t want to put yourself in a place where you feel stressed and miserable all the time. It seems that you are qualified and capable, but it also doesn’t seem like this is the job you really want. Sorry that in all that I’ve offered no advice, but best of luck in your decision!
Post # 14
@BOGB: you read my thoughts perfectly. I am not in love with this job, but I could probably learn with them while staying a few steps ahead. and it’s not like I have zero knowledge. Ugh, life decisions!
Post # 15
I’d probably move to the music position, but that’s just me!
Post # 16
@Ice_cream: Based on the fact that you said you have no experience playing in or working with an orchestra, I would say don’t take the job, unless you are a string player or are comfortable coaching string students. I know that it’s a huge step towards your desired teaching position, but orchestra is a lot different than band. And you would also have the responsibility of starting and overseeing the success of the program, without prior experience. It just sounds like a lot of work. You already said your heart is not in it, and I’m not sure that’s a good place to start. A position like that takes a lot of passion. You have the drive and dedication, but do you have the passion?
I’ve been playing flute for 15 years, and am on my way to becoming a music teacher like yourself (I’m 23 now). I played in a flute ensemble all through university, and last year they brought in a new conductor who was not a flute player and had no experience with this type of group. She really didn’t know a lot about the flute either, and as principal flautist, I ended up doing most of the work for her (picking appropriate music, making adjustments to parts, transposing for alto flutes, etc). It wasn’t that great from a musician’s standpoint, either.
I think that if you feel you aren’t fit for the job, it’s probably a good idea not to go for it.