(When you’re having fun or love this profession)
by Marsha Granberry, Norton, KS
Vocal Music Teacher at Norton High School & Junior High
As we start a new year, 2023, and also a busy, crazy second semester, I wanted to reach out to all of you who are currently working in the profession of music education.
It was last summer when the administration in the Norton public schools reached out to inquire if I would have any desire to fill the vocal music position in their junior high and high school for the 2022–2023 school year. When I received the phone call asking if I might be interested in this position, I was astounded that after almost 50 years of teaching music at all levels and in colleges as well, there would be a need for my services.
Since that was hard for me to believe, I contacted all of my friends in the profession to see if there would be any individuals interested in this job. As I explained to each one of them what the job entailed, someone said, “well if this is such a good job, why don’t you do it?“ That was a fair question, and after some amount of pondering, I filled out and submitted the application. Normally, in the past, when seeking a job as a younger educator, I would cross my fingers for good luck. However, this time I didn’t, and of course, I got the job. It’s been an amazing experience.
First of all, I can’t say enough good things about the administration and teaching staff in the Norton public schools.
I have felt blessed by the help and support that they have all given me. On top of a great staff to be a part of, I was greeted with a group of your typical junior high and high school students. It’s amazing to me to realize that, though society has changed a good deal over the last 50 years, the students I have encountered haven’t really changed that much! How comforting that is to realize that you can find young people who love to make music almost anywhere. So as the first semester at this new job comes to a close, I look forward to having a chance to see what the second semester has to bring. Having been a part of teaching music for so many years, returning to something that I love and that is so familiar has been a wonderful thing.
A friend wondered if I might feel a little bit like Tom Brady, minus the salary, of course, and I love reminiscing about all of the schools I have had the privilege to teach. The wonderful thing about teaching music is that music teachers are qualified to teach at all levels, hence it’s hard to separate favorite memories. Perhaps, knowing that you have this job for nine months and probably only nine months, heightens the desire to relive some of those favorite moments spent with students. Whether it’s watching a high school student perform a lead role in a musical or teaching a kindergarten child how to skip, trot and gallop. It’s all become more important.
If I never have the opportunity to do these things again, I am trying to pack into this one year of nine months all of the things that I have treasured doing with students. For you young teachers out there, don’t ever become so jaded with the things that we can find to be negative about this job that you overlook all of the gifts and great positives involved. Even when you face those students that are moody, negative, or downright obstinate, I can tell you that if you stay in this profession, you will meet those same students once again. It’s as though you want to say to them, this isn’t my first rodeo; I’ve seen you before. The teaching profession continues to be valued, and the ability to touch lives is even more important than it used to be!
So as your second graders rush to the window to acknowledge the first snowfall, when you coach a junior high boy through his changing voice, or you realize that it’s so important to get chosen to sing that solo for the Christmas program, remember this……
There is nothing more exhilarating or exciting than receiving a phone call that you will have a snow day. And above all, never take for granted the special ability that you have to give the gift of music to each one of your students and perhaps the rest of the world.
Thoughtfully submitted by
About the Author
Marsha Granberry currently teaches vocal music at Norton High School and Junior High in Norton, KS. She began teaching in 1969 and has 50 years of teaching experience. Over her career, she has taught music at every level of education, from elementary school to college. In addition to Norton, she taught in Leon Public schools at College Hill Elementary School and Rose Hill Middle School. Her elementary children’s choirs have twice performed at KMEA. At the collegiate level, she has taught Music Education at Wichita State University, Friends University, and Southwestern College. Finally, Marsha has served the music education community by mentoring close to 40 student teachers.