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Dear Music Teacher

There are some teachers that are awesome and inspire their students.

And then there's you.

Wake up and 
smell the suck.
Dear Instrumental music teacher, I just got #1's report card and I see you gave him a "C". I read your criteria for grading and I am confused and angry and based on my Anger Management post, I really want to punch you in the face.

You see, I was a music major in college for three years and I went to school with people like you. The introverted music performer who got into education because it was really the only way to make a living. The thing is, you are a pretty crappy teacher when it comes to educating my kid. I watched you in concert, you had no fun, you sparked no excitement. You loved the talented kids and tolerated the rest of them.

You see, at #2 & #3's school, they have an awesome instrumental teacher. He is funny and makes everyone in the school wish they were old enough to play an instrument. He is a representative of the entire music program, the first face the kids see and their first exposure. If you don't ignite them, they will not be inspired to play.

You don't ignite the kids, just my nerves.

When we talked at the beginning of the year, before he chose his instrument, I told you that saxophone was my primary instrument in college and if he didn't get to play percussion, then saxophone would be his second choice.

So when you said that you start all the winds on clarinet and then change. I was confused.  Clarinet is an open keyed instrument. Take a kid who gets OT because they have fine and gross motor issues; who will already have some challenges with sitting up tall, blowing in to an instrument, and on top of it,  add the need to cover the holes, you are asking for failure. 

I went along with your decision and as a precaution, asked the OT to  accompany #1 to lessons to lend a hand and offer strategies, but you sent her away because you felt she wasn't needed.  I played clarinet too, so I helped him everyday as part of his homework and he wasn't getting better. I finally wrote you an email and told you I was switching #1 to saxophone. 

We practice five days a week and he has made so much progress since he switched. We work on all the band music and the exercises. The hardest part is getting him to learn the notes but since he has perfect pitch,  I sing the notes, and he can match them. You even said he was getting better.

And then his report card came home and you gave him a "C'. He had never forgotten his instrument, always was prepared and got a freaking "C". I saw that paper and lost my mind. And wrote you this email:

Hi ---, I just received #1's report card and I'm really confused. I log all his practice time in the front of the lesson book, yet you penalized him for not practicing. If you look in the front of the book where the log is, you will see the information.

Secondly, I don't know how you can grade a kid's behavior when it is specified in the IEP that he has a disability. That should be taken into consideration, and the fact that he is cooperating at all should be nothing short of amazing.

Lastly, I don't know how you can penalize someone for not having adequate note reading skills when you write all the notes above or below the note. That really doesn't encourage someone to learn the notes, rather to use it as a crutch. And, once again, if you read his IEP, you would see that he has transition issues, which translates as, teach him the way you want him to be. I sing the notes to him and NEVER write them down.

You really need to rethink the way you're choosing to evaluate him. I trusted you once with choosing an open keyed instrument on a kid with fine/gross motor issues.  But, now it obvious you have no clue as to what his IEP says at all, nor what fine/gross-motor delays really translate to in your field. That is why I sent the OT in to help when you insisted on him starting with the clarinet. I saw the red-flags and you didn't.

I am asking that you look at the log book in the front of the lesson book and submit a grade that reflects your oversight. 

Thank you

I realize you have a lot of students, but it is the obligation of every teacher that touches my child to read the IEP. It is your job to be aware of the modifications, behaviors and therapies that may affect how you instruct, and you failed. Hell, you didn't even read the practice log in front of the bloody book and that is how you grade these kids.

 I am glad you admitted not seeing the log and that you'll change the grade, but you need to do better. My kid is not the only special needs kid in the building and you owe it to ALL your students, not just the talented ones.

I want you to know, I got my eye on you now. 
Sincerely, Shari


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