To Convert or Not to Convert?

No, I’m not talking religion. I’m referring to making the conversion from teaching elementary music to teaching junior high or high school.

"Nothing scares me. I teach grade school music!"When I decided to become a music teacher, my plan was to teach at the junior high level. I had a good junior high experience (musically, anyway!), and wanted to pass along that experience to future students.

The realities of finding employment, however, led me from teaching high school to elementary with no junior high experience in between. Since then, a few opportunities have presented themselves, but for one reason or another the timing was never right to make a change.

Well, here I am about 10 years later, and another opportunity to teach junior high has come along.

The decision has not been an easy one. A number of factors weigh in: the fear of the unknown, the familiarity of my present situation, and the uncertain educational/political/economic climates, to name a few.

But surprisingly, I feel saddened about the idea of not working with beginniners and elementary-age kids in general. No more “Hot Cross Buns?” No more deafening first experiences with wind instruments? No more 8-year olds shouting from across campus “Hi, Mr. Engel! Hi, Mr. Engel!”? Life just wouldn’t be the same.

So for now, I’ve decided to stay put.

Have you made an intentional decision to change from teaching one age level to another? Have you reluctantly taken a teaching position at one age level only to find that you really enjoy it? Or loathe it? Tell us about it here.

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3 thoughts on “To Convert or Not to Convert?

  1. I just made a mid-year transfer from two k-6 schools to two different k-8 schools. The logistics of starting over in a new environment can be very overwhelming: every building is very, very different. However, having the option of working with kids at a higher level of musicianship is very attractive to me. I hope I’ll have the best of both worlds for a while now, starting beginners and keeping them through the secondary level.

    Best of luck!

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