Can I please ask a dumb question?
WHY DO I KEEP BANGING MY HEAD AGAINST A WALL THAT NEVER BUDGES AN INCH?
I am so frustrated, and am beginning to wonder seriously if what I'm doing is really worth it. People who know me well will say "hey, Jen, you say this every year at about this time", and it's true that I do. But, eventually I need to just step up and do something about it; the question is when.
I teach Band at a small Catholic high school. The school claims to support Band and want to build a program here, but........I am constantly faced with roadblocks in my way as I attempt to do so. I've been here almost 5 years now---well, ok, 4 1/2 if you count the time I took a leave of absence before and after my micropreemie's birth in 2004. And guess how many people I have in Band as of today? 12! You heard right, only 12. Out of a school of over 800 students! Trying to start a program from scratch is never easy, but this is ridiculous!
The problem stems from all the things the students are required to take in order to graduate. If you've ever been in a performing group like Band, Chorus, Orchestra, etc, you know that it can't be a revolving door of students moving in and out......or at least it can't be that way if you want it to be successful and make progress. But the revolving door is what I seem to always have, because there are just not enough class periods in the day for kids to take all that they "need to" plus Band. Hmm, let's see if we can do basic counting:
Oh, and let's include Band too........oops, they only get to choose 7 courses per year. So where does that leave Band? In the trash heap, mostly. So far, I've signed up a grand total of ZERO kids for next year's Band. They start signing up today, and it goes through next Tuesday. And every year, when this particular week comes, I get mad and I plan to quit. I say "this is just too frustrating, nothing ever changes, I can't take this" and I whine and complain to anyone who will listen. But then, for some reason, I stay. I like the part-time schedule, I like my availability to go with my kids on field trips, volunteer in their schools, etc. But truthfully, there needs to be some career satisfaction too at some point, some sense of accomplishment. I work hard here, and it's horribly frustrating to know that despite all that I do, things aren't improving and we just have to keep on limping through, barely scraping by as a respectable Band program.
Well, it might be out of my hands anyway. The principal told me a few years ago that if ever the Band enrollment numbers didn't justify the money they spend on my salary and the TINY budget we get for music and equipment, then they'd just have to cut Band altogether. Sometimes I almost wish he would, just to save me the heartache of trying to decide what is best for me......this way, he'd take it out of my hands. I pray about this a lot, hoping to be led in the right direction so that I'll do what I'm meant to do. Just wish the answer were a bit clearer.