Sometimes the most valuable life lessons we learn as band directors have nothing to do with music. Enjoy this short and sweet list of golden nuggets of wisdom, gleaned over the years by a fellow band director:
- Do something today to make tomorrow easier.
- Check email twice a day only.
- Remember that your administrators have to have the “birds eye view.”
- You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
- Limit or eliminate time in the teacher’s lounge (don’t give negativity an audience).
- Proactive is better than reactive.
- Choose your battles. The squeaky wheel will only be oiled so many times before it’s ignored.
- That thing you’re dreading? Do it first thing in the morning, then get on with your day.
- Take care of your custodians and secretaries. Frequent expressions of gratitude always seem more genuine than an obligatory once-a-year gesture.
- Strive to be the best communicator you can be. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Also, it is possible to “over-communicate.”
- Work hard, then go home. Don’t take school work home with you and don’t let home life interfere with your performance in the classroom.
- Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Being an “inspiring teacher” is more a matter of mindset and choice.
- Shout praise. Whisper criticism.
- Just because you can get your school email on your phone doesn’t mean it should be on there.
- Plan your work. Work your plan.
Eric Rath is an active educator, clinician, adjudicator, arranger and composer. Mr. Rath has served as a band and orchestra director as well as a percussion specialist at the Middle and High School levels. Previously, Mr. Rath also served as the adjunct Percussion Instructor at Amarillo College. Mr. Rath has works for band published by Alfred Music, FJH Music, TRN Music and BRS Music. Several of those titles are included on state recommended lists including Texas, Louisiana and Alabama. His percussion ensembles are also widely performed and have been adopted as recommended repertoire in a vast number of states.ericrathmusic.
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