School & School System Where You Work
Fallston Elementary School, Cleveland County Schools
Number of Years Teaching
What do you love most about teaching music?
I have always loved children and I have always loved music. Therefore becoming a music teacher was a natural choice for me. I love that music is inclusive by nature. Music has a seamless tendency to draw people together. I love seeing my students enjoy the music we share together and their excitement in experiencing new things. I love creating opportunities for all of my students to feel valued and successful. I also love watching my students use music to express themselves and create a culture of acceptance. Teaching music is one of the great joys of my life and I am truly blessed to be a music educator.
Who inspired you to be a music educator and how did they inspire you?
I’ve been fortunate to be encouraged and inspired by so many wonderful people in my life. My first exposure to music was definitely from my parents. Music was a natural part of my childhood and there was always singing in our home. My mother played the piano and would carry sheet music in her purse so she could pull it out for me to sing for family members and friends at any opportunity. Some of my fondest early childhood memories are of me singing in the car with my Dad, Mom, and sister on road trips. My first exposure to a more formal music performance setting was in my local church where I was inspired and encouraged to sing at a very early age. I was always made to feel appreciated for my musical efforts, even as a very young child. I began taking piano and voice lessons around the age of five, and this very first music teacher was such an inspiration. Her joy and enthusiasm for music was infectious and started a fire in me for music that has never been extinguished.
What did you need the most when you started teaching?
When I started teaching, I felt very confident in my knowledge of music. The first thing I needed most was guidance and enough experience to fully develop my classroom management technique. I am thankful for the colleagues during my first year of teaching that were so helpful in mentoring me and guiding me through the process. Once I developed the classroom management plan that worked for me I had the flexibility to research and develop my lesson planning as I became more familiar with the music essential standards per grade level. As technology has advanced over years it has become much easier to learn from and share ideas with my fellow music teachers. The most important aspect to my growth as a teacher is my collaboration with my music educator colleagues.
Describe the biggest challenge to teaching music education and how you have worked to overcome this challenge?
I think one of the biggest challenges to music education is advocacy. School systems need to understand the importance and the value of music education for all students. Often times music programs are the first to see reductions in funding which can diminish quality music programs in schools. Music educators should be supported and valued just as highly as teachers in “core” subjects.
How do you advocate for your program?
I feel that the best advocacy for my music program is for me to provide a quality music education for my students that is respected by my school and community. I provide opportunities for my students to be successful and demonstrate proficiency through performances in the classroom and for the community. I communicate with parents, my school staff, and local LEA administration to provide awareness of our music program. I participate in local and state organizations and associations that further research and promotion of the importance of music education in our schools. I try to be an advocate for music education locally and statewide. I also cooperate with local institutions of higher learning to mentor college students therefore helping to ensure the future of music education.
What is one piece of advice you would give to beginning teachers?
My advice to beginning teachers would be to always strive to do your best to provide the best possible music education for your students. We as teachers have to believe in the importance of music education and demonstrate that by being educators that teach with the utmost proficiency. If we as educators set our standards high, we will develop quality music programs that greatly impact the lives and education of our students.
How do you build relationships with students and parents?
Building relationships with students and parents is a process. I establish expectations with my students at the very beginning and then I am consistent with follow through. I express genuine concern and caring for my students and strive to develop a classroom atmosphere where students feel valued and understood. I communicate with parents in a timely and effective manner. I respectfully listen to parent’s comments and concerns and strive to communicate a unified effort to provide positive opportunities and experiences for their children.