Not Just Blowing Our Own Horns Here

, , , , , , | Learning | December 31, 2020

I am a music teacher at a high school in the US; specifically, I teach the band. Due to the health crisis, all of my students sit six feet apart and use hand sanitizer at the beginning and end of the period, but apparently, this isn’t enough for some people.

One day, near the beginning of the school year, I have this conversation with the principal.

Principal: “Your students need to wear masks during class.”

I laugh and think he’s joking, because… really?

Principal: “I’m serious. You need to make them keep their masks on. It’s a health hazard.”

Me: “They can’t. It’s band. They cannot play their instruments with masks on.”

Principal: “You aren’t trying hard enough to find a solution. This is important.”

Me: “Look. The orchestra wears masks when they play. You’ve somehow convinced the choir teacher to have students wear masks while they’re singing. But the band cannot play with masks on.”

Principal: “You just need to try harder!”

By now, I’m fed up. I tell him to wait for a minute and I get my flute. I come back and take my mask off for a moment.

Me: “Listen to this.”

I play a long note and then put my mask back on.

Me: “Now listen to this.”

I raise the flute again and blow, but, to the surprise of absolutely no one with two or more brain cells, there is no sound. I see a look of understanding dawn in his eyes.

Principal: “I, uh, see.”

He walked away sheepishly.

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