Music teachers are often islands in our buildings. The “specials” team definitely feels like a little bit of sympathy but even then, no one quite understands what we do. Sometimes we are the only elementary music teacher in our district. So how do you find “your people” and build a support system? Here’s a few places to find your music teacher friends.

College friends

You all may be spread out now, but if you found a job in your college’s home state, chances are you can go to the state music conference and have a network of people you know. Make a point to connect with them more often, find the people that teach in situations similar to yours, and find a small group to create a “mastermind” of sorts that checks in every so often about teaching. Maybe 1x a month or 1x a quarter to help you keep some sanity and make the check in time manageable.

Organizations

Your state NAfME affiliate, OAKE chapter, AOSA chapter, First steps/GIML/Dalcroze/or whatever other “method” you may employ. Even regional chapters can be a great help. Michigan Kodaly has been a small chapter since it restarted almost 10 years ago. While I love and appreciate my MIKE friends, some of my MKMEA friends (Midwest Kodaly) which represents the Midwest region are other people I find I lean into when I have questions, need to bounce an idea, or need to connect.

Levels Courses and Certifications

Not only will you find friends in local chapters, but if you take a levels course or a certification, this is a GREAT place to network. Not only to have a support system, but chances are, those teachers will be teaching similarly to how you do. There is something about going through a challenge with people that help you connect. These are going to be great people to bounce ideas off of, check in for assistance talking through situations or struggles, and to work together to develop curriculum, lessons, and the like.

Social Media

I say this one with reserves. I’ve been working with The Music Crew for almost ten(ish) years. These are some of my best teacher buddies, and I don’t know what I’d do without them. We found each other via social media.

BUT

I help admin a few LARGE music teacher groups on Facebook. Posting all your dirt and venting to 25K plus people is NOT a good plan. Things can come back. Online lives forever. Find a SMALL group of people you trust to vent to. you never know in those big groups who are district coordinators (that are still working music teachers), who is having a junky day and wants to take it out on someone online, or if somehow you’ve alienated someone that now feels like you are the enemy. Talk to people old school. Call them. Don’t post to 25K+ people.

However, social media is a great place to connect with like minded teachers. Follow away, share ideas, and look at all the fun inspo posts. You can follow me on socials here: Facebook. Instagram.

Check out some more social media tips here.

I hope this has given you some ideas on how to find your Music Teacher Friends! Summer is a great time to do some networking and set up systems for the coming year. Plus a little socializing with other music teachers is good for our music teacher hearts!

Melissa Stouffer-1

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