960690_cobbled_rear-view_mirrorMy life has changed quite a bit since December 1st. Today, I want to look back on some of the things that have happened in the life of this blog, as well as some things that have happened in the life of Joel.

Blogging changes

  1. The number of readers continues to climb (164 as of Friday). It seems that the number is doubling every three to four months. If this growth continues, I’ll be looking at a readership of somewhere around 300 by the end of the school year, and 600 by the end of 2008.
  2. I hosted the 148th Carnival of Education on December 5th, and the 152nd Carnival of Education on January 2nd.
  3. I launched my redesigned site on December 31st to much fanfare.
  4. I joined Joseph Pisano in a quest to get 100 Music Education Bloggers by the end of the year.
  5. I added a plugin that gives all of the articles and pages on the site a printable view feature.
  6. I added a minimal number of advertisements to try to recover some of the costs for bandwidth and server space. I also have a donation box where nice people go and send me a buck or two. All information on the site remains completely free; these are just options to help out a fellow teacher if you feel the stuff is worth it!
  7. I’ve had some awesome guest bloggers who have contributed great content.

Personal changes

  1. The band director I work with had a stroke on December 7th. He has not yet been released to return to work. I have been working with two full bands (five band class periods), a mariachi, and a small beginner band class. I have been running the rehearsals (except for mariachi), but I have had occasional help from other directors in the district. This definitely has the potential to increase the amount of stress involved with my work. It is a constant struggle.
  2. The stroke has forced me to seriously not take work home.
  3. I went to Walt Disney World for a much-needed vacation over Christmas break.
  4. Though I am exhausted when I get home and want to do nothing, I have been making a very focused effort to develop more of a social life. I think that a lot of young single teachers have a problem that when they get home, they are so overwhelmed with school that they just don’t want to do anything. After five and a half years of teaching, I have decided to force myself to do more than just go hang out with other band directors and talk about band stuff.
  5. I am taking my first day off of work since the middle of November on Monday and spending this entire weekend away from home!

Now that the Christmas season is over and the newness of the new year has passed, I challenge you to reflect a little bit. What are some changes you have seen? What are some things that you would like to change?

By Joel Wagner

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.

3 thoughts on “Reflections on December and January”
  1. Hi Joel,

    Quick story related to your single-hood: When I was in high school, I witnessed 3 different single band directors get burned out. Of course there were a variety of factors related to each one’s departure. However, even as a high schooler, I could tell that these guys had little time for social lives. One in particular had a romance dissolve due to the time commitment and pressure involved in the job.

    All that to say: Yes! Preserve your life. You won’t be as effective if you are burned out. If you burn the candle at both ends long enough, heaven forbid, you may follow the route some take and abandon the profession entirely.

    My totally ignorant advice would be to find something unrelated to music, and a group of people who enjoy doing that, and get involved to whatever extent you can.


  2. I liked your comment in #4 under Personal Changes – but I would have to say that the situation applies not only to young single teachers, but also those of us with families to go home to. I have three children and a husband (isn’t that really four children??). Not to mention I elected to teach through my planning for tons of extra money (yeah – all the teachers laughed at that one.) I often go home feeling like my brain has shut down on me or – and this is infinitely more likely – has left for an extended vacation in Aruba without the rest of me. I have a feeling somewhere on one of the beaches is my brain lying back and drinking something yummy out of a coconut shell with a little umbrella in it. However, I am forced to pick it up and carry on. Yea me! And yea! teachers everywhere who do this! Keep the faith!

  3. Thanks for the pointers! I took nearly this entire week off for myself and for the Texas Music Educators Association convention. It was a much needed change of pace…

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