Top 10 Things I Learned This Year At TMEA

I returned home from the Texas Music Educators Association clinic and convention this weekend. It was different TMEA experience for me than what I have been accustomed to in the past. One of the primary reasons for this was because I desperately needed the vacation more than I have in the past.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that the band director with whom I work had a stroke in December and has now been out for 8 weeks of classes. The workload I have is not more than I can handle at any given time, but when combined, it adds up and has been taking its toll on me. He anticipates being back before spring break. Only time will tell on that, though.

So when I got home, I realized that I learned some valuable lessons this week that I thought I’d share. Some of them were learned by experience, others just by observation. Many of these have nothing to do with band directing, or with teaching in general. Nevertheless, I thought they were interesting.

  1. Developing social skills comes in handy far more often than you might imagine
  2. When you sleep in a hotel, don’t expect the sulight to wake you up, especially if your room is not on the outside of the building!
  3. Don’t drink the $5 bottle of water in the room
  4. Consult lots of people, listen to recordings, and know the strengths and weaknesses of your students before deciding what music your band(s) will be playing for contest (I’ll write more about this subject soon…)
  5. Even if you don’t need more chocolate, take the free stuff the fundraising people give you; you might find a Starbuck’s gift card
  6. Take all free stuff from anyone who offers it to you; when you give someone a gift, you want them to accept it
  7. If you need cash, know where the closest free ATM is beforehand; if you can’t find one, buy a pack of Tic Tacs at a grocery store with your debit card and get cash back
  8. Don’t be surprised when a one-hour wait anywhere on Valentine’s Day (especially The Cheesecake Factory) turns into a one-hour-and-forty-seven minutes; conversely, from a Public Relations standpoint, it often pays off to underpromise and overdeliver
  9. Remember that people who market to people like you can buy you lunch and deduct it from their tax return as a business expense; remind them of that if necessary
  10. If a clinic is sponsored by a publishing company or software developer, it is probably an advertisement in disguise
About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

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