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  • Kelly Damann

Reflections of a First-Year Music Teacher: Week 3

As a way to reflect on my first year of teaching, I decided I would type a journal entry for every week. Feel free to share this with others, comment with your experiences, or share some knowledge you gained in similar situations. This past week I just wanted a break!

The first year has been hitting me hard: a new town to live in, a new community to integrate into, new staff members to meet, etc. The thing I have been finding is I have gotten so wrapped up in everything I do at work that I stopped doing things for me, specifically last week. I am finding more and more that my desire to set goals for myself shrunk subconsciously. So I had to sit down this weekend and think: what do I want? In college, this question was so easy for me to answer. Beginning with my Sophomore year of high school I knew exactly what I wanted to do - teach music. Nearly everything I did was in service of being the best music teacher I could be, and so I worked. Well - I teach music now. Eight years of work is now staring me back in the face while I am floundering to figure out my next move. I was asking so many questions about my new job that I didn’t ask myself the important questions about my goals away from my teaching position. So what’s next?

I struggled with this for the whole week because I still failed to make time for myself! I became aware of a problem in my life, and ignored it because of my job! I became a teacher waiting for the weekend in some cases, and anytime I caught myself feeling like that I felt sick to my stomach. I am SO LUCKY to teach music. I genuinely feel that teaching music is as good as a job can get for me. But if you don’t do anything that feels like it is for YOU for months on end, sometimes you need to just lay down and do nothing but exist for awhile. So that is what I tried to do Labor Day weekend. As a pro-wrestling fan, I watched an AEW PPV. I watched shows that made me want to cry. I ditched my diet and ate some feel-good food. I saw some friends. I did things that made me feel like I was leading a life away from my career, and because of that I felt better.

After some time away from being hyper-intentional about how I lived life, I took time for myself on Monday. I began to really reflect on what my goals were and what they will be moving forward. I am relatively financially comfortable but I have no financial goals. I am driven to learn, but what/where am I learning? I am driven to practice but what am I practicing? So I started taking more time to think: what am I striving for? What repertoire am I working on? What am I saving up for? Suddenly with a clearer mind I could ask deeper questions. Better yet, I could give deeper answers with a greater desire to do the work. I don’t mind my job being taken home with me - teaching is what I love to do. The problem is when it overtakes what I have to do for myself. So I’m financing a marimba. I have a more specific practice schedule revolving around things I enjoy practicing. I’m setting myself up to start my Master’s Degree this summer. I’m beginning to find a groove on how to work on composing and arranging in conjunction with my career. I took a second to breathe and that led to a real turning point in my personal life.

Thanks for reading! If you made it this far feel free to like my page, leave a comment about a similar experience you had, share this post, or visit my website for more info about me and what I do.

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