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on 24 June 2013

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Transcript of Marathon

The first five years

The routine is very familiar now, perhaps too familiar. You've seen the "pendulum swing" a few times. You notice you are complaining a little bit more than you did, a little bit more than you should. Each year, it gets a little harder to rebound after a concert. You may be considering finding a different way to be involved in education, or considering a switch in your path. On the plus side, people seem to think you know how to do things. Your reputation is established, you're in charge of events, you've figured out the best way for you to do things, and you even managed to find a life outside of work! (If you could ever finish that paperwork. . . )
You've only just begun to run!
Enthusiasm is high, skills are not. Planning takes a long time. You learn by trial and error. Sometimes, it seems like there is too much error. And then there's all that paperwork!
Years 6-14
You've caught on to this teaching thing, There is a routine to what you do, You notice that your students seem to be getting better and better. . . and it's fun to hear them come back and tell you that you made a difference. It's nice to know what to expect, even if that's knowing that kids will always surprise you.
Balancing family, work, and a life for yourself is a constant struggle. Perhaps you changed jobs. You might start to develop unhealthy ways of coping. You learn to give up control a little, but then - there's all that paperwork!

Years 15-25
Years 26 and up
You did it! You survived and thrived in your career. Along the way, you helped more than you will ever know, and learned more than you ever taught.
Memory is kind. It keeps the good, while the bad fades away. You realize just how much good there really was. Now you discover you've got plenty of energy for some well-deserved fun and relaxation, - right after you turn in the retirement paperwork!
The finish line is in sight, and your friends are starting to "graduate". You're really appreciating the blessings of healthcare, a retirement fund, all those sick leave days, and a pension.
You never wanted to be that "old, cynical teacher", and you catch yourself doing just that. You LIKE doing things the way they've always been done, there is a reason it has been done that way !Sometimes, you just get - weary. But then, it still gives you joy to watch a kid discover for the first time something you've taught hundreds of times.
You're older than the parents. You TAUGHT the parents. And - you can't wait to be D.O.N.E. DONE with all that paperwork
Get to know the custodians, secretaries, bookkeeper, and principal(s) - in that order.
You're not alone - find your mentors.
Strengthen your skills.
You don't know it all, you don't have to do it all, and you certainly don't have to do it all right away.
You are NOT your high school director.
When you trip, it could be because you were
trying to go too fast. Slow down a bit.
Don't give up when the going gets tough.
Beware the teacher cliques!
Support your colleagues, no matter what they teach.
Kids KNOW when you're not prepared.
Reassess and refine. Sprinting is not sustainable.
Help students take ownership of their success.
It's okay if you find out you want to do something else.
Have a life beyond work.
Attend conferences beyond VMEA.
Trust good volunteers.
Take care of yourself. You are no good to your students if you are burnt out or exhausted.
Stay current. Keep up with research.
Try new technologies, get new teachers
to teach you. Listen to their ideas and talk about them.

Seek ideas for excellence from outside of the educational circles.
Principals come and go, but "a band director is forever!"
When you get tired of needy kids,
love them anyway.
It won't kill you to write a lesson plan.
Give back to others - you are the mentor they need.
Find a place where you can be an ensemble member instead of the director.
Do something that you love that is NOT musical.
Above all - STAY POSITIVE, KEEP LEARNING and .....
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