Ted Brown Music Educational Services

Choose to Teach - July 2023

Welcome to our next video in our Choose to Teach series! Today's uplifting message comes from Texas Band Director Mike Howard.

A Message from Mike Howard

We live in a world of deposits and withdrawals. As teachers, we constantly think of deposits and withdrawals into our program — but are you looking at the deposits and withdrawals into your own personal physical and mental health?

Mike Howard
Texas Band Director

Okay, so how did I, just in terms of finding ways to overcome a work-life balance? The first thing I would say is I don't know that there's an overcoming of, or a figuring out of, or fixing. There is a developing an awareness of. So that's looking at the hours I'm working. It's looking at the hours that I am, you know, we live in a world of deposits and withdraws, right? I think as teachers we constantly think of deposits and withdraws into our program. So I think, well, if I invest this much time, then I'm going to get this much out of it. But are you looking at the deposits and withdraws into your own personal, you know, physical and mental health?

You know, if I find something that I love to do and actually make time for it, that's going to make me a better teacher. If I get back to playing my instrument, that's going to make me a better teacher. If I invest time into my friends or my family, whatever you might have at home, that's going to make me a better teacher.

Interestingly enough, I think when I started worrying less about competitive success for my program at Vandergrift, and people look at some great things that we've done in the last few years, whether it's being playing here at Midwestern or TMEA honor band or any other, we won grand nationals, and all of that was great but interestingly enough, all of that happened after kind of a recenter of focus. When I shifted more towards the student experience, the culture they were getting, and just trying to convince my kids to love music. Strangely enough, we became, quote unquote, more competitively successful.

So I think a big part of it, honestly, is scheduling calendar management to where I could really start to look at my week. How much time am I required to spend? How much time, additionally, am I spending at work? Now what have I left myself to deposit into my own personal, physical, emotional health or the health of my family? And you start to look at that, and you start to see this balance, and I tell you it's eye-opening when you start to just put the minutes on paper.