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Teacher's Share their Self-Care Practices

By ETM Creative Marketing Associate Daniel Rader

Nearly every state has closed their schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and teachers nationwide have had to adapt their curriculum to meet the needs of students in new ways.

Almost every aspect of teaching has changed, from the physical environment to class management, and especially how teachers are delivering their lessons. In addition, teachers have had to quickly learn new technologies and adjust their expectations for students with limited technology themselves, and reimagine what student assessment looks like.

For ETM music teachers, the challenges go on: how do you hold band practice remotely? How do you lead a sing-along despite a video lag? How do you know if your student is clapping with the beat if you can’t see or hear them? Music class is a time of community building, and our teachers are racking their brains to figure out how to continue to nurture that community despite the distance.

All these questions have many teachers feeling challenged. And so we wanted to know: how are our teachers taking care of themselves? How are they dealing with the stress and anxiety of teaching music during this crisis? Here’s what they shared:

Creating to-do lists. I have to-do lists for work-related things and personal things. There’s something about crossing things off a to-do list that makes you feel like you’re in control and on-track!”
Sarah Khatami, P.S. 583, the Bronx

“I am taking care of myself by spending time playing music with my wife. When I’m playing or singing, it is an escape for me. It makes me feel comfortable and helps me feel safe. It’s obviously hard to get out of my own apartment, which in turn makes it hard for me to get out of my head. Music helps me turn off my mind and feel a peace that is hard to feel at this point in time.”
Andy McGeagh, P.S. 43, the Bronx

Playing with my band has been a therapeutic opportunity to use music to process my day. They make it an environment where I can be bold and try to expand my skills. It motivates me to keep working on my personal craft outside of school.”
Max Keisling, P.S. 304, the Bronx

“Musically, I am prepping for a recital, so singing every day has been helpful. I also play fun music while cleaning and cooking.”
Leah Oseghali, P.S. 483, the Bronx

“Teaching can be hard on the voice, but I still make time for singing every day, vocalizing or working on music that interests me. Since concerts are suspended for now, it’s liberating to practice without wondering if I’ll perform it somewhere soon.”
Amanda Keil, P.S. 112, the Bronx

“This past week, I gave an online lecture to some college students on how to deal with social distancing through the arts, entertainment, and holistic practices. I’m a big believer in good mental health.”
Jeremey Watson, P.S. 21, Staten Island