I signed into my USAA account and they informed me that I needed to update my occupation status so as to make sure it's really me or whatever every time I sign into their ridiculously secure site (they never trust it's me no matter how many times I secure a computer source or type in umpteen passwords...but, hey, they are really really really protecting me, right? It's a good thing, I know.) I went through and chose from drop down menus what I do for a living -
Self-employed - CHECK
Education field - CHECK
music teacher - NOT AN OPTION
Actually, the only option available to me, besides "Musician" was "Self-enrich Ed Teacher."
What the crap. Not okay...this is such a shallow definition of what we do as music educators.
I don't normally write complaint emails, and technically this was a "suggestion" email, but I shot one off rather quickly, surprising myself a bit with my passion in this regard (I guess these last 5 years of Masters of Music Education study have done something...)
To whom it may concern:As a music educator, this just gets to me, because there has become this assumption among the general public that music has to be "fun" and "self-fulfilling" at all times. It really does so much more than that, but it is under-appreciated as what it is and instead thought of for what it can do for everything else at the most (music study will increase your child's test score/brain balance/teamwork/insert anything and everything here because it does! But that is only one part of it, and really only the residual part! Those are some wonderful effects of music in a person's life, but that is so little of what it is. Music breathes life into a culture and creates community as people express emotions and thoughts in a way that is all-but-unreachable too often otherwise. Music reaches across race and age and language and gender to unite us as humans who enjoy camaraderie in this way. Music allows us to worship our Lord and Savior in a way that glorifies Him alongside the angels' singing. Music captures snapshots of history and culture as you research back to understand how folks used to live. It is, of course, amazingly self-enriching, but it does not stop there. If I couldn't sing, I don't know how I would understand the world sometimes. But that is far from the only reason for my teaching it.
It greatly disturbs me to see that the only option for me to select as a music educator is "self-enrich ed teacher"...it seems obvious to me that someone who does not value and/or understand the impact music and the arts has on culture made this list of occupations. It is insulting to assume that music only enriches the individual - it has that purpose among others (building community, cataloging history, capturing cultural context, allowing for emotional connection and expression between parties, etc...I could go on) Please consider changing your occupation options to include "arts teacher" or some other similarly more adequately defined description of what we do. Thank you.
What are the thoughts here? Am I just so in my own little music educator world that I am offended easily, or does this seem a bit off to you as well?
I will try to be posting more often - the baby has been cruising and I am just plain tired at the end of each day! It's a full life. :) i thank you God.