How NOT to Celebrate Music In Our Schools Month
Bless your heart.
The Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association TRIED to help celebrate Music In Our Schools month (MIOSM).
It just didn’t quite work.
Here is the story of the MIOSM Sax Fail of 2015.
For the record, the sax is missing its mouthpiece and neck strap altogether, and her hands are holding the instrument incorrectly.
A few people noticed, apparently, and down came the post.
Facebook took it more seriously. (Most of them, anyway.)
As you can see, some of the replies by teachers are borderline vitriolic. And really, it was a mistake that got fixed (arguably—some commenters feel that a new, correct image should be posted in support of Music in Our Schools month).
So why all the venom toward the Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association?
Perhaps it all boils down to disrespect.
Teaching, as a profession, is not well respected in our current political climate. Music educators are respected even less. Programs are getting slashed.
The unenlightened feel that music isn’t a “real” or an “important” school subject, that kids enrolled in music are “just having fun,” which of course they should be doing on their OWN time, not on the taxpayers’ dime.
Music educators have to fight these biases and misinformation EVERY DAY. And to have an organization—whose sole purpose is to support educators—post an image that propagates music education illiteracy? It’s too much.
It’s not fair that music education has to advocate so ardently for their existence, in a way that math or English never will. An image like this practically advocates AGAINST music education.
I think THAT’S why this makes music educators so mad. It makes a mockery of their life’s work.
How to avoid—or handle—a situation like this
As a social media manager, I’ve been in the same shoes as the unfortunate TCTA admin who created and originally posted the image. It’s not fun.
If you see something off about a social media post, privately message the account and let the admin know. They’ll be so grateful that you did. Try to be gracious about it—there’s enough hate on the internet already.
If you’re the one posting the offending content, time is of the essence. Where possible, react quickly and apologize. Make it right to the best of your ability.
To TCTA’s credit, they’re not deleting negative comments. Deleting comments just escalates things. You look like you’re not willing to acknowledge your mistake, and commenters feel they’re not being heard. That makes them want to step up their efforts and let more people know not just about the original offense, but your disappointing response to it.
Mistakes happen. We can turn them into teachable moments, like the music educator who posted the unfortunate saxophone image on a bulletin board, and invited his students to find “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”
We’ll laugh about this one day, TCTA. I promise.
Want to sound off about this? I’d love to hear what you have to say!
A gentleman named George Langley jumped in to fix the image for us. He said, “Did the best I could to fix the problems. Not much I can do about that trumpeter’s bad posture though….”