3 tips for getting a raise

Have you heard? Music and the arts have taken a beating recently. Funding has been slashed (in public schools anyway). And it feels like music teachers stand closest to the chopping block.

So in today’s economy, how on earth could you ever get a raise? After all, most people are simply hoping to survive … much less get an actual pay increase.

how to get a raise

But you aren’t like most people, right? The truth is, you can earn yourself a raise … and a good one, too. But it won’t come easy.

The key phrase here is “earn.” To truly earn your raise, you’ll need to go above and beyond the norm. For starters, follow these three basic steps. And then let me know how they work:

1 – Quantify Results

I know … musicians are artists. So as a right-brained free spirit, you may have little patience for math. But most school administrators are left-brained nerds. So if you want them to hear you, you’ve got to speak their language. And this means using numbers to quantify your results.

You can’t just say that your music program is great and the kids love it. You’ve got to think like a statistician.

How do your music lessons increase math skills? Give it number. How do your lessons improve reading? Give it a number. What impact do your lessons have on spatial thinking? Give it a number.

Just be sure you can back up your analysis with charts, graphs, papers, and honest numbers.

2 – Leverage Grants

School administrators have a hard job, balancing a budget every day using finite resources. So ease their burden by securing your own funding.

Tons of grants and scholarships are available in the field of music. You just have to look for them. And because they’re also administered by left-brained nerds, you’ll again need to quantify your results. Apply to lots of opportunities, and you’re more likely to succeed!

3 – Become Indispensable

This last tip may the best one—because it’s completely in your control. If you show up with your “A game” every day, your students will love you. The community will respect you. And your school administrators will value you.

You can become a strong—and even indispensable—presence in your community by holding regular concerts, open houses, charity drives … you name it. Ingratiate administrators by generating good will  that reflects well on your school. And your bank account should benefit.

What else can public school music teachers do to earn a raise? Are there other approaches that work?

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