You Are Not Alone

An Open Letter to Music Teachers

Dear music teacher friends, these words are on my heart tonight.

You. Are NOT. Alone.

If you have questioned your worth during this pandemic and wondered whether your job really matters to people, you are not alone.

If you have cried more tears since March than you have in the past many years combined, you are not alone.

If you are having to reevaluate, reframe, redesign, reimagine, and recreate your entire way of doing your job, you are not alone.

If you feel incredibly grateful to still have your job and still incredibly sad, frustrated, and hurt at all you have lost, you are not alone.

If you are afraid that you will get sick, you are not alone.

If you worry about how your students will feel and struggle if you do get sick, you are not alone.

If the loss of singing in your daily life makes your soul ache, you are not alone.

If thinking about taking hands in a circle with your students creates a lump in your throat, you are not alone.

If you wish you were considered a “real” teacher, you are not alone.

If you realized that you can’t recognize your students with their masks on, and that your heart hurts to miss their smiles, you are not alone.

If the inability to wrap your kiddos in a hug as they returned to school broke you, you are not alone.

If you are worried that you will fail before you begin, you are not alone.

If you lie awake at night worrying, and dream all of your worries to life when you do sleep, you are not alone.

If you never realized how much your music room felt like home until you lost it, you are not alone.

If you are struggling to learn how to make music in a minimalist way, both in terms of materials and media, you are not alone.

If you worry about creating connections when children have to stay continually separated, you are not alone.

If you are planning movement lessons that involve desks, you are not alone.


You. Matter. You do. I know you don’t feel like you do. But that doesn’t make it real.

To those little loves that are ours during the tiny bit of time we have them, you matter. You are the joy in some child’s day. You are the escape from failure that some child feels. You are the breath of fresh air, the change, the renewal, that some child needs. And THAT knowledge, however faded and tattered and broken it feels, no matter how many tears we cry, no matter how devalued we feel, that knowledge is what will help us make it through the hardest first year all of us have ever endured. We might emerge scarred and jaded and a bit worse for wear.

But imagine the weeping of joy that will happen someday, when we join hands with our kiddos in a circle again. I’m holding on for that.

You. Are NOT. Alone.

Meg Tietz

Meg Tietz teaches K-5 music at Bay Elementary School in Seabrook, TX.  Meg completed her Masters Degree with a concentration in Orff Schulwerk at the University of St. Thomas in 2009.  She is an active presenter for local and national workshops and conferences and teaches Orff Levels at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.  Meg is the current president of the Texas Gulf Coast Orff Chapter. 

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  1. Samara Gromer on September 30, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    OMG you made me tear up……thank you for acknowledging….

  2. Dorothea Casey on September 30, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    This. Thank you.

  3. Susan Young on September 30, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    This is what my heart has said for the past 8 – 9 weeks. This has been incredibly difficult on the emotional side. That feeling of isolation, disoconnect, and loss. My colleagues and I have been purposefully looking for one good thing each day. Are there days that we don’t find one? Yes, but the next day comes along and we try again. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us are feeling!

    • Victoria K on September 30, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      you are absolutely right .
      Thank you for expressing those thoughts with everyone.

      • Krista Hale on October 7, 2020 at 3:44 pm

        I finally stopped crying after reading this so I can say to you: All. Of. This!!!

        It’s a comfort to know I’m not alone THANK YOU!!!

  4. Christine Greenough on September 30, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    That was so beautiful, and really hit home. I identify with everything you said. Thank you for putting it into words!

  5. Lisa Bee on September 30, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you Meg! You are a gem for sharing this. I needed to hear it.

  6. Crystal Estey on September 30, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you so much, Meg. It has been so weird not having my co-workers to chat with and decompress with at the end of the day. Saying goodbye to my last class every day feels like singing a song and ending on the second to last word. Sometimes seeing into our student’s lives and seeing the cacophony around them makes me heartbroken and yearn to hold them even more. However, music teachers rallied around each other (virtually) and have lifted each other up more than I have ever seen. It is really nice to know that we are not alone!

  7. Amy Kristen Muegge on September 30, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    I needed that today, after the behavior of the teacher in the last class I taught today. She is mad about mask, mad about social distancing, and mad that Art and Music are coming to her classroom. She decided to take her angry and direct it at me. The rest of the day was good, but ending with her rude remarks, did not make for a good day. I feel much better after reading your letter. Thank you.

  8. Sherri on September 30, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    The Lord had me read this just now. You see, today I had 15 5th grade students in a Zoom class. 10 only show names, meaning they’re not there: I ask them to unmute to answer questions, but get no response. Of the 5 remaining visible ones, 3 leave halfway. And my principal blessed me out for trying to hold them and o th her Zoom classes accountable: I’m just a “courtesy” class for parents. I smile my way through the humiliation…but today I came home and vented and cried aloud. I’m single, so only the Lord hears me vent. What I know in my head, your letter read to my heart. Tomorrow will be our “B” blended learning day. Nothing will change…but your letter I will remember. And read it again. And again. Thank you.

    • Vickie on October 1, 2020 at 10:54 pm

      How heartbreaking for you. My heart hurt for you.
      I pray our Lord will comfort you and will pray for your classes. In March thru end of year I taught music along with rest of teachers in distance learning. I also felt that music was tolerated more than appreciated by several teachers one told her class music was optional and encouraged them not to participate.It was challenging but the kids that followed thru and participated were so rewarding to see and work. The children who hung in and stayed the course overshadowed the negatives and lack of support from some other teachers and a few parents. Look on the blessings those who choose to stay with your music classes bring. It shows their love of music and appreciation for what you are offering.
      This year while we remain in distance learning there is no music, no art, no PE..only core classes, Spanish and religion in distance learning.
      When school resumes in person there will be no music. I will be teaching religion…I cry frequently over the loss of music and the children and being furloughed until when or if
      classes resume on campus. It is moving me closer to our Lord and He is more and more my comfort and strength.
      I also am single.
      Hang in there Sherri and may God bless the work you are doing.

  9. Margaret Marek on October 1, 2020 at 5:04 am

    Goodness, that was so well said! Meg, I’m crying like a baby after reading your beautiful letter! It’s easy to think you are the only one crying and struggling. We’ve got this friends!!!! Meg and all my lovely colleagues, your students are so blessed to have you!!!! Keep doing your thing, you are making a difference!!!!

  10. Lisa P on October 1, 2020 at 6:22 am

    As we jump through hoops, attend to every safety detail, give up our rooms, adjust our curriculum and take out one of the core components (singing!), put aside the anxiety, and make it all work like we always do. Like many of you, I have just kept moving forward, trying to keep my head above water, and do the best I can for my students. This letter gave me a moment to sit and acknowledge all of those feelings I have put aside through your beautiful words. I am sitting here crying in my coffee and letting myself feel everything that I have not allowed to come to the surface. Thank you Meg. Thank you for validating and reminding us of the incredible value and meaning of music. What we do in more important than ever. I am overwhelmed and grateful.

  11. Colleen Griepentrog on October 1, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Thanks Meg. Tears are blurring my view right now. I definitely needed to hear that. Thank you. Hang in there friends. We’ve got this.

  12. James Osborn on October 1, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Love you tons Meg- in the words of one of my earliest remembrances of a music teacher- her name was Libby Clause-“Keep on Keepin On”-she taught me at Beasley Elementary in St. Louis, it is interesting cause it is right across the fence from the Jefferson Barracks Cemetery, rows and rows of white on green grass as far as you can see, and the Veterans Hospital that she used to take us to every 11/11, 11/25-27 and 12/15-20 (depending on the year) 🙂

  13. Karen Hamlington on October 1, 2020 at 10:51 am

    This hit home with me! I’m not only missing time with my current students, but my position has changed to one middle school and no more elementary. I miss the little ones so much! Glad to have affirmation that we are not alone with all these feelings and fears.

  14. Laurie on October 1, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Thank you! Clearly, so many of us needed this.

  15. Rachael Joachim on October 2, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Thank you for putting it all on words what we are going through. Your sentence about how grateful I am to have my job but at the same time sad, frustrated, etc. is how I feel all the time now. I am also sad to know other elementary music teachers are going through what I am, but also I guess happy to know I am not alone…
    Thank you.

  16. Barb Canales on October 8, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    I could not have said it better. You hit the nail on the head with this.
    Thank you

  17. Sally G on March 18, 2022 at 11:32 am

    Still a timely message. While we are back in the classroom and the masks are now optional, the past two years have changed our music programs – some creative new content has been added, but some changes have not been helpful for the long term. Thank you for reminding us that the true goal of our teaching is the children. That helps me to refocus my efforts. This was much needed. Thank you.

  18. Gen G. on March 25, 2022 at 6:10 am

    Thank you, teacher, for sharing this. You have perfectly took the words out of my mouth, thoughts from my mind, and pain from my heart and put it into series of words that made sense of all these. This had brought comfort.

    Sending love and warm, tight hugs to all of you, teachers…all the way from Philippines

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