During my first year of teaching, I found myself frustrated after a number of rehearsals with my Freshman Band. One day, my mentor at the school, Jan, looked at me and said:
"Remember: Change is Bad."
Right away, I knew what she meant.
Jan was pointing out that, often times, no matter how “good” or “bad” you are, the very fact that you represent “change” is seen as a bad thing. People often prefer the experiences they’ve had, flawed or not, than the ones that they haven’t - think about that old adage, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
Well, I was so appreciative of Jan’s comment that I wrote “Change is Bad” on a Post-It note and stuck it to my computer monitor. Every day after rehearsal, I would sit down at my desk and be reminded that things would get better. It was a great reminder to me that I should keep working as hard as I can to become a better teacher. As silly as it may sound, the mantra “Change is Bad” provided me with hope. I would often repeat it to myself throughout a particularly bad day.
About midway through the year, I came into my office and saw that someone had altered my Post-It note! As you can see in the picture above, this person had scratched out “BAD” and written “Good” with a little smiley face.
It was a simple act - perpetrated by an unknown person - but it meant the world to me. And, it’s a great visual reminder that change, while scary, can be a good thing… it’s often just a combination of time and perspective. What is written in permanent marker is easily scratched out, after all.
Today, my stick-figure cartoon titled, “What we get wrong: An illustrated guide to our music advocacy mistakes,” was quoted in a Letter to the Editor in USA Today. The article, written by David Sall from the Music Access Project of Portland, uses the principal’s quote (see below) to argue that we should be engaging with more students if we wish to make a coherent case for arts funding. Read the article HERE!
(Read below the break for the cartoon and my response to some of the USA Today readers.)