School & School System Where You Work
Mulberry and Mount Pleasant Elementary Schools, Wilkes County Schools
Number of Years Teaching
What do you love most about teaching music?
I love watching the kids learn to make music together. It just makes everything worth while when a class has been working on a song, whether singing, dancing, or playing an instrument, and they get it! They get through the whole piece or dance, and its good and everyone is smiling and having fun.
Who inspired you to be a music educator and how did they inspire you?
I always had a lot of encouragement from my family to sing and play my saxophone, but it was Dr. Ran Whitley that convinced me to give music education a try. He was such an encourager throughout college and even 21 years later he continues to be that encourager. He has a contagious passion for teaching music.
Describe the biggest challenge to teaching music education and how you have worked to overcome this challenge?
I think COVID-19 it the top of the challenge list for all music educators. When you have a groove and something comes along and completely stops it, it is hard. I learned a lot of new things. I searched out new things that could be done at home. I searched out new things to do in my class when I was told that I could not sing or play recorders. It was a difficult few years and we are learning to deal with the effects that it had on music programs in the school. Slowly this year I have felt like we are coming around. I am pushing students to learn new things that they should have been learning two or three years ago. I know that we can be resilient and I look forward to teaching
How do you advocate for your program?
The PTO programs are where I advocate the most. COVID really changed this, but I am so glad that students are preforming again this year. These quarterly meeting give me a chance to meet and talk with parents. I showcase what students are learning so that parents know what the music classes look like and what their child has been learning.
What is one piece of advice you would give to beginning teachers?
Don’t give up! Love what you do and stand up for yourself and music education.
How do you build relationships with students and parents?
Be willing to listen.