Being a part of the public school system was not. To make it even more difficult, a whole new level of micromanagement came in for teachers. Income and job security would be based on how well students passed state exams. What?! If I had students who just didn’t pay attention or didn’t really want to be in music class, or just weren’t good at tests, my pay and job were now dependent on them. Not cool. Not cool at all. Lesson plans had to follow certain criteria which was fine, but many of the standards for music were so rudimentary, it felt like I had to alter and water down my teaching to fit a unformed methodology to be acceptable. Guess what, kids aren’t uniform! Kids learn in so many different ways, and teachers need to have a little wiggle room to make the learning experience fun and engaging.
The amount of hours was another ordeal because I had a son (just one at the time) and wanted to be involved in his life. I thought that being a teacher would be perfect for family life, but it turns out between the lesson planning, after school hours, car-rider duty, enrichment hours, parent/teacher conferences, and rehearsals, there wasn’t much time left. Charter schools and private schools required even more commitment than the public school system, so that wasn’t a feasible option for my life preferences either. And the drama. SO MUCH TEACHER DRAMA. One teacher likes this teacher, another doesn’t. Pettiness across administration. I couldn’t believe it. And the parents! Listen, I’m a parent too, but there are some parents that take rudeness to a whole new level of crazy when it comes to their kids. It was such a mix of emotions all over the place that I just didn’t expect and wasn’t ready for.