I've been hesitant to post anything here because I usually prefer to keep my venting face to face with a sympathetic ear. Unfortunately, that person is 16 000 Km away and I'm finding it too toxic to keep these feelings bottled up.
It all comes down to money, my finances aren't in the best of states (a hazard of my chosen profession). Which, by itself, wouldn't phase me too much as I've been used to this way of life for several years. I've also been paying more than usual for rent and bills while my partner is away. This is starting to get a little stressful, especially knowing that my pay will be getting lighter as summer approaches. For context, teachers at the lesson centre I work at get paid by students and then give the lesson centre a commission for the studio space (typically around 33%) meaning that our pay is directly related to the number of students taught by the teacher. Usually summer sees a 30-40% drop in students for all teachers, that's just a reality of the job.
What's causing me the most stress, dread, and heartache is that I am already losing students to another teacher (who is less qualified than I am). That this is happening while my partner is away so I don't have my usual support group and for the ridiculous reason that I am losing my students has my mood quickly taking a downward spiral, it's getting harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The unfortunate reality is that, the reason I am losing students to this other teacher, is because of my gender. For some reason, in the eyes of my students and new potential students, my gender makes me an inferior music teacher despite my twenty years of experience, five of those years teaching full time. The inanity of this situation and the futility of trying to fight it has been crushing to my attitude and I'm finding it hard to keep it from effecting my work. I thought that I thought that gender politics wouldn't be present at all in teaching music, but I guess I've just been playing my instrument wrong all these years, I didn't realize I had to use my genitals.