School & School System Where You Work
Mineral Springs Middle School, Winston Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Number of Years Teaching
What do you love most about teaching music?
The thing I love the most is watching confidence grow in the students. Not just confidence as a musician, but also as student leaders in the school and the community as well. It is so amazing watching students use the confidence gained from excelling musically and apply it to different sports, academics, other student clubs and just their everyday lives in general. It re-assures me the vital role we play as Educators.
Who inspired you to be a music educator and how did they inspire you?
My Former Band directors Ms. Clintonia Saylor (Elementary School), Mr. Jonathan Hamiel and Mr. Hillary Bellinger (High School), seeing how invested they were into ensuring that band was a fun and safe place while making sure we were developing into the best musicians possible and exposing us to the heights you can climb with music. As well as watching all of them sacrifice to ensure that we all received a quality education in music.
What did you need the most when you started teaching?
The thing I needed most as a new educator, and I am glad to have had, was a supportive and understanding administration. Being a new educator and non-education major, I had to quickly learn how to be an efficient teacher and my administration helped make sure I had the necessary tools to succeed as new Educator. They were also very understanding and have been some of the biggest advocates for the development of the program.
Describe the biggest challenge to teaching music education and how you have worked to overcome this challenge?
One of the biggest challenges I faced in music education is understanding that standards and practices have changed since I was in their shoes as a young musician. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed challenges in music education that almost makes us question the past like the idea of instrument sharing and how can aerosols travel through wind instruments.
The pandemic makes it extremely hard to have multiple thriving ensembles across multiple grade levels and class schedules without having individual horns to provide to every individual student that wishes to participate. To combat this issue, you have to develop partnerships with Instrument rental shops to offer low-cost individual/mass instrument rentals. This helps put an instrument in as many hands as possible.
How do you advocate for your program?
I advocate for my program by making sure we keep a positive disciplined Brand. Developing disciplined expectations in both academic and musical standards helps maintain a positive image and brand for your program. A positive, consistent, and disciplined Brand/image will advocate for itself!
What is one piece of advice you would give to beginning teachers?
I would advise beginning teachers to network and build relationships with fellow educators. Developing relationships keeps you in a network of seasoned and veteran educators who can help guide and develop you as a quality educator.
I would also tell beginning teachers to always continue to develop your craft as a professional. There are always new concepts and ideas that can help make you more efficient, more expendable, and a better professional.
How do you build relationships with students and parents?
I build relationships with students and parents by taking the time necessary to fully understand the needs of every individual student and ensuring to the student that I am an advocate or them. Every student is different and very much capable of learning and excelling as a musician. By taking the time fully needed to understand students, you are able to give the student a more personalized learning experience which will help develop relationships. When parents understand that you are committed to ensure that the child gets the best education possible, this helps reinforce the relationship between the teacher and parents.