Music teachers typically fall into two categories; those with school money and those without. You might not yet know what your situation will be, BUT if your school has some money set aside for your use, GREAT! You can read more about what questions to ask about your budget HERE!
Rule #1 – JUST BECAUSE A DEDICATED BUDGET DOESN’T EXIST FOR THE MUSIC CLASS DOESN’T MEAN THAT THERE IS NO MONEY FOR THE THINGS YOU NEED.
While I have taught in situations where there was very little money, or in situations where the principal chose not to set aside money specifically for music, it did not ALWAYS mean that I was not allowed to order a few things. During the years where I taught in situations like this, I made a list at the beginning of the year of things I thought were necessities. During those years, the only items the school purchased for the music class was the music we performed for our two programs, so by the end of the year the school had spent about $300 on music (even without a budget).
Rule #2 – IT IS OK TO ASK FOR SOMETHING – IF YOU DON’T ASK, THE ANSWER WILL ALWAYS BE NO.
Without a budget in place you have to ask for everything. If you don’t ask then it will be assumed that there is no need. Meanwhile, there you are a brand new teacher adding pencils to your basket at the grocery store. If you are willing to put those pencils in your basket (as most teachers do SOME), then you also need to be brave and ask for what you need. Generocity is great, but so is advocacy! Be an advocate!
Rule #3 – BECOME FRIENDS and COLLABORATORS WITH THE FOLKS IN THE PTA
In some schools it is the PTA/PTO organization who provides funds for music. In which case, they are your new BFFs! Seriously consider ways you can get involved in the organization as a volunteer. Often, it is the music classes who provide the “draw” for the evening PTA meetings, so make sure that you are enthusiastic about the privilege you have of being a part of the work they do to support the school. A great attitude and a willingness to support their work will help them remember you when it comes time for them to set their annual budget goals.
Tragically, not all schools have PTAs. I’ve worked a school that didn’t have one and as a result our students missed out. So, if you have one, take good care of it!
RULE #4 – IF THERE IS NO BUDGET, OR IF YOUR BUDGET INSUFFICIENT, ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT ALTERNATE FUNDING SOURCES SUCH AS FUNDRAISING, DONATIONS AND GRANTS.
Ask these questions :