Main | Philosophy of Teaching | by Paul Drummond »

We Are Not Special | by Sherry Gilpin Printz

To be respected as an educator and to get along with the faculty and staff of your school, please realize that as a choir director you are no more or less special than any other person in your district.  Set an example for your students.  How many of us really like being around those students who are so “special” (in their opinion) that the rules and expectations don’t apply to them?  The same thing applies to the choir director.


The following are statements that I feel are important to our success as an educator:

  • I am an educator first.
  • I am a music educator second.
  • I am a choral educator third.
  • My program is no more important or less important than football, winter guard, band, math, English, etc., etc.
  • Yes, I have to write lesson plans (and hand them in if the principal asks).
  • Yes, I have to attend faculty meetings and be on time (show choir rehearsal is not an excused absence – just as basketball practice shouldn’t be either).
  • Yes, I have to write curriculum.
  • Yes, I have to serve on M-SIP and other committees.
  • Yes, I have to work the concession stand, sponsor the prom, and help build a float for homecoming. (I don’t have to like it, but I do have to do it)!
  • Yes, I need to belong to NEA or MSTA and the local teacher’s organization.
  • Yes, I need to belong to MENC/MMEA and attend the convention.
  • Yes, I need to belong to ACDA/MCDA and attend the summer convention.
  • Yes, I need to go to the Friday TGIF’s and associate with other teachers in a social situation.  (If you don’t go, don’t complain that you have no teacher friends).
  • Yes, I need to learn about the people with whom I work, so I’ll ask them about their interests/family/pets/grandchildren, etc.
  • Speak to and even smile at every teacher you meet in the hall.
  • Yes, I have to share my students with sports, band, field trips, etc.
  • Yes, I have to do mid-term reports, grade cards, write requisitions, do budgets, etc.  These things need to be done legibly and in a timely manner.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to call your music dealer to order music unless your mother works there.  Sometimes they don’t have it in stock, and it has to be ordered.  If you want it immediately, go to the store to pick it up, or be prepared to pay $$$ for overnight delivery.


It took me 31 years to learn some of these things.  I hope my thoughts will be helpful to you and make your career easier.  Also, please remember to ask for help when you feel over-whelmed, frustrated, and don’t know what to do.  There is an incredible amount of knowledge and experience in our state.  Call on choir directors or other teachers in your district for help.  All of us are more than willing to share what we have learned.

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