Advocating Music During Budget Cuts
by Karen Stafford
Here I am, a teacher experiencing burnout, and you’re telling me that I need to get involved?! I thought that was WHY I was burned out — because I’m too involved!
It does seem though, that teachers are exceptionally high-risk in regards to job burnout, AND music teachers which have one of the more stressful positions are even more prone to burnout. How do we survive?
John Hylton, an associate professor of music at the University of Missouri, states this: “Teaching, especially music teaching, is a highly stressful profession. Stress can become a problem as music educators move into the middle stages of their careers because the frustrations inherent in music teaching, such as the variety of roles that music teachers are expected to fill, the pressures of public performance and public accountability, and the need to recruit and motivate students to accept responsibilites associated with membership in an ensemble, have a cumulative effect.”
He goes on to say that “stress is necessary for life. But when the stresses of music teaching produce the same response, repeatedly over a period of time, without an outlet, the result is physically and emotionally damaging. There are three predominant categories that burned out teachers fall and they are:
Serious Illness which causes them to have to leave their positions
and Diminished enthusiasm and lack of vitality, yet they keep pounding away at the job.”
Mr. Hylton offers some solid advice and solutions.
One key to coping with stress is appropriate management of time. Time management is essential in a music teacher’s work.
1. Review your objectives.
2. Plan ahead.
3. Set priorities.
4. Exercise and proper diet, IMPORTANT!
5. Rest and Relax! Very Important!
6. Do something non-musical, or do something, just for YOUR enjoyment.
7. Get Moving! Take action.
Burnout–the reaction to prolonged high stress–commonly results either in withdrawing and caring less, or in working harder, often mechanically, to the point of exhaustion. To learn more, click on the link below.
This brings me to yet another issue. When one is feeling like a failure in being able to reach their students, despite the brilliant attempts, the countless extra hours expended, and still see little improvement in student performance, it gets a bit difficult to go to a colleague and say, here is what’s going on with me, I feel like a failure!
Schools are like little towns, rural areas for the most part. Everybody knows everything about everybody. AND when one tries to communicate their need of emotional support, depending on whether or not you can trust the sweet soul in which you divulge yourself, your meaning can sometimes get twisted as the sentences in a game of gossip, when the statement is passed from one person to the next. You may start out saying something like, “I sure would like to get some relief from this job,” which turns into, “She said she was going to take a street job?”
If you feel as though you are alone and isolated, and indeed, you may be, just because you thought fraternizing with a bunch of gossips would be the dangerous route to take, then you might be able to get some help through the internet where you can remain anonymous.
Dr Katz’ Auto Diagnosis – for fun
De-Stress your Whirlwind
Yoga Internet Resources
We can reduce burnout by living one day at a time. The “elephant” doesn’t appear quite so overwhelming when we eat it one bite at a time. Even in the midst of chaos, focus on the solutions. Participate in hands-on activities. (And this doesn’t mean around someone’s neck).