The worst thing you could say to me...

Those were the best years of my life...

These are the words of a long ago grateful former student.

It left me wondering… “Where did I go wrong? How did I fail him so spectacularly?”

I know the sentiment he was trying to share and am appreciative of his kind intent, but I hope that no one ever says that to me again. What if the time they spent with me WAS the “best years of their life”? What if those four years were the apex of their life-long existence? What if nothing got better after they left my program? What if my efforts to teach them more than just music had failed?
To be clear, I don’t want my class or the time you spent with me to have been the best years of your life. I DON’T!

What do I want?

I want my class to have taught the lessons and set the stage so that every day going forward is more successful than the ones in the past. I want to know that the time spent with me placed you on an upward trajectory personally, professionally, and academically. I want to know that while you look back with fondness, that you are also looking forward with optimism. I want you to remember the days of frustration and angst as clearly as the ones filled with happiness and joy as they were likely more formative to who you are.

Listen, I loved my high school experience. I loved the friends I made and the experiences I had. I acknowledge the role they played in making me the person and the teacher I am today, but they were not the best years of my life.

I am living those right now! The best years of my life were not in my high school band, but they are in part because of my high school band.
The comments I am waiting for is, "those were the worst years of my life."
THAT would make me feel good!