Scrolling through FB posts from teachers these days is an exercise in sorrow. There’s no other word for it. What’s happening is deliberate damage to the very heart of public education, and most of it is highly politicized nonsense.
I follow an Elementary Music Teachers FB page, filled with suggestions for the Spring program, quick lesson plans for tomorrow and advice for any number of classroom management issues. I just skim through it, admiring the teachers who are digging in, paddling and paddling through deep and stormy waters.
Today, someone said they’d signed up for Orff Training Level One (a summer program to teach an elementary music method that uses keyboard percussion, among other techniques and instruments)–and discovered the training was two weeks long.
What followed was 41 comments from other teachers encouraging everyone to take all three levels (that’s six weeks, in the summer, folks) because it was fabulous. Even though there was homework every night, and six hours of classes in the day. It’s great, person after person said–I use what I learned every day. Take the training!
We got all the way down to the 42nd comment, before someone said: Hey. Does your district pay for this?
Nope. Nope. I get $100 year for professional development. I asked the PTA for a scholarship. Nope. District has a policy not to pay for professional development unless they select it. Nope, nope, nope.
So. It’s April, and music teachers are encouraging each other to sign up for useful summer professional development, on their own dime. During a pandemic.
I don’t know whether to be proud that I’m a music teacher, or angry that there isn’t enough money to send teachers to summer programs (let alone pay them for going).
Shout out to music educators everywhere, who spend their summers working.