Re: So Burned Out!
Posted by The Flip Side on 5/17/2022, 5:26 pm, in reply to "So Burned Out!"
A lot of what's been said above probably looks frightening to anyone just getting into this field of teaching and I've seen stuff like this happen to some really fine directors during my 35 years of teaching middle school band. (Now retired) And yes, I taught under a few of administrators who were horrible as described above. |
That said, I can honestly say that probably around 85% of the time I taught under some truly stellar administrators who were indeed terrific under which to teach. They were supportive of my programs, students and me as a teacher/band director. I still feel so lucky to have had administrators like that during my career.
A few words of wisdom that really helped me:
1) Treat your professional relationships with your administrators like a bank account. I ALWAYS made sure that I did more good things for them than they did for me. It might be like if they were showing around board members, parents, their supervisors from the admin. bldg., whoever they needed to impress...I would offer to help them with little things such as maybe providing my drum line to perform for them or invite the principal (or any admin) to bring their guests by the band hall for a short performance by whatever class I had at the time, even a spur of the moment song would do. Basically, make sure that they "owe you" by making sure that you do more for them in any way than they do for you. It's like money in the bank with a positive balance and it can often get even mediocre administrators on your side or at the very least to leave you and your program alone.
2) ALWAYS try to find some kind of words of support if possible for your administrators and say those words publicly at your concerts and even introduce them or at the minimum recognize them if they're in the audience. This too can have some benefits even if you have to stretch the truth a little. It can still provide even a little bit of goodwill that might come your way. It usually can't hurt and usually does help.
3) Keep your administrators in the loop as much as possible, even if it's for relatively minor things. I guarantee you that they don't like surprises. CC or BCC them in on responses you send to parents if possible.
4) When you write any kind of correspondence whether to an administrator, parent or whoever, write it all out in a draft saying exactly everything you're feeling and thinking. Then after you've said everything you want to say, go back through it and edit out all of the emotions from it. Leave just the facts and opinions but remove all of the anger out of it before you send it.
5) If a situation gets too toxic and the problems or problem people there are beyond anything you can do to improve the situation, get out of there at the end of your contract (if you can make it that far) and don't look back. Some situations can truly be hopeless.
These 5 items served me well during my career and it all definitely helped to get even some of the not-so-great administrators I did have under which to work on my side or at a minimum out of my hair. But as I said, I was lucky enough to have served under some truly great administrators during my teaching career.