The Beginning of the End

I often find myself writing a post titled this at about this time every year. It is almost the end of the regular school year - we have three more days - and I usually start my reflection process a little before all of this stuff happens, but this is not a usual type of year, so I'm a bit late.

One of the things that always goes through my head at this point of the school year is how much my teachers must have been happy to see the end of me and my classmates every year. Until I started to work in a school, I did not realize that teachers looked forward to the same things that I looked forward to - the start of school, breaks, the end of every year.

Now, my students have a little bit of a different type of situation since we don't really have grades or the end of anything, but I still feel those same feelings of excitement and closure every year that I am a school-based music therapist. This year is a little bit different but only a little bit because I am still working in-person with my clients every day. I just don't have my interns around and I only work for 4 hours at work instead of the usual 9 hours per day. I am spending lots of time making things and laminating things.

This year has been an interesting one, to say the least. I went back to my goal setting post on August 8, 2019, and I have spent some time just shaking my head about the naivete that I displayed back then...

Oh, MJ from August, you thought you were going to do so much work on your professional development. You thought that you would be able to go to the regional conference and introduce folks to your product line and do a bit of showing off of file folder activities and your library of TME collections. You thought that you would be able to devote some time to developing your "NTM" TME process. So many plans.

Now, I did get some of these things done and others were worked on, but others have just gone by the wayside. I have been struggling with a bit of emotional lability over the past two months. I know that many of us feel this way, and that is simultaneously comforting and disheartening. There were so many things that I wanted to do this year that were co-opted by this virus and my own challenges this year. I have to remember emergency surgery in November and strep in March and flu spreading around my clients not once but three times this year. It has been a stressful year which just happened to end with a world-wide pandemic!

Wow. That puts things into perspective for me.

This year pretty much sucked eggs from the beginning to the end. I ended up moving through it the way I could - not necessarily elegantly or in a completely positive manner - but the best way I could.

Okay, the 2019-2020 school year was not a good one for me, but there were good things that happened. I have worked with two good interns this school year. One of them has graduated and the other is waiting in the wings, continuing to earn internship-related hours, and getting ready to start client contact again. I have two more interns ready to start - one in June and the other in September. Interns are the type of music therapists that I love the most - they are enthusiastic and ready to soak in as much knowledge as they possibly can during their time with me. I will be spending some of my time this break conceptualizing changes to my internship program to accommodate some of the new skills that we all need to be able to demonstrate now that telehealth is here.

The goal is to prepare our current and future interns for the new way of doing things, right? So, I need to give them a foundation for this new reality in ways that incorporate the AMTA Professional Competencies and the future(s) that I see for us as a profession.

It is time to look towards the future. I will be contemplating my goals for the next school year - 2020-2021 - and evaluating my music therapy services, internship structure, and my hopes for my own future.

It's the beginning of the end of the school year. Time to get started!

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