What I Have Taught:
I am a K-5 general music specialist. Elementary is the life for me!
Where I am From and Where I Have Taught:
I was born in Michigan, and grew up in Michigan, New York, Illinois, and Missouri. My family moved a lot when I was a kid. (I went to 5 different elementary schools!)
I spent my first 10 years teaching general music in a large suburban district where I split my time each week between 3-4 schools (depending on the year). As the “extra” music teacher in each building, I was not only building to building but also room to room. This is my first year in a new smaller district where I am the sole music teacher at the building. (This means I finally get a room to myself!)
Favorite Teaching Memory:
Oooh – that’s a hard one! I think in general, my fondest teaching memories are connected to those when students really take the time to show that you make a difference for them. The 5th grade musical at my new school is a huge tradition. I really strived this year to make sure that every student who wanted a part got a part of some kind (speaking, acting, dancing, musician, stage crew, etc.). 72 kids wanted a part and 72 got a part of some kind. It was really rewarding to see the kids blossom in their roles, but especially one girl in particular.
Last year I had to teach a couple of sample lessons as part of the interview process. I remember there being this incredibly shy girl who I had to kindly motivate a few times to participate. The assistant superintendent (who sat in on my lesson) asked me specifically about her and what I would do to keep her motivated in the future. That memory stuck with me as we headed into the beginning of the year and I got to officially meet her. I was pleasantly surprised as first semester got under way and noticed that she seemed more participatory. She was still shy, but needed next to no reminders to try.
Fast forward to the spring and I notice that she’s volunteering more and more to read through narrator parts, so I give her the longest narrator part in the show. She was so shy, but she spoke clearly and confidently into the microphone – I was so happy for her! Her teacher took it upon herself to have her kids write thank you notes to me after the musical was over and this particular student wrote the most beautiful poetry about music and me as her music teacher. When I saw her the next day I gave her hug and told her she was never allowed to stop writing. She just beamed. I will always remember that.
Quick, Fun Facts About Me:
- I am a music teacher that hates Christmas music. (#sorrynotsorry #overplayed)
- I was *this close* to becoming a math teacher. (I wanted to be a college math professor from 8th grade through the beginning of second semester senior year of high school.) My high school choir director saved me (but I ended up marrying a math teacher). 😉
- I am a total techie and LOVE web design – I taught myself how to code HTML & CSS 15 years ago and now run several websites and a web design side business.
Why I Love TpT:
I love Teachers Pay Teachers as a teacher-author as it gives me the drive to really push myself creatively. I love taking what I know already works in my classroom and sharing it with others. From a teacher’s point of view, Teachers Pay Teachers has really expanded the possibilities for what I can bring into my classroom. There are so many creative minds out there and it’s wonderful to be able to purchase materials from other sellers and share them with my kids. Just like many hands make light work, many brains make for more creativity.
Music Teacher Quick Tip:
This seems like a no brainer, but my best tip is the best things come to those who wait. I spent the first 10 years of my career as a traveling teacher. I had several tough years towards the end of my stint as a traveler and there were days that I truly wondered if I would ever get my own classroom. I had a number of setbacks that really made going to school a challenge. One day last year, a friend of mine told me that a position had opened up in her district, that she had put in a good word with Human Resources, and that I needed to make sure my stuff was all in order to be able to submit an application. Three months later I was officially hired. It took a long time to get to where I am today, but now I’m in my dream job. If you’re not in the best place professionally right now, remind yourself to be patient, be persistent, and to persevere. You can do this.
Two products you may not have seen in my store:
I offer a wide variety of products in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. One of my favorites is my series focused on teaching form called “The Marvelous Musical Deli.” I also just recently I came out with a line of easy-to-implement sub plans called “Sub Plans in a Snap.”
The Marvelous Musical Deli is a free online resource dedicated to teaching the concept of musical form. The website and video series are an endeavor to take the somewhat abstract concept of form and make it more concrete for younger students. I created this bulletin board to help my students connect to the idea of form on a daily basis.
My new district is super supportive about getting me the professional development I need. The flip side to that, however, is that I’ve been out a ton of days this year. Unfortunately, most of the subs that agree to take on my classes are not super comfortable with music. I love being able to leave a lesson that I know is both engaging and still connected to content standards. My kindergarteners and first graders have loved the activity I’ve created for The Jazz Fly this year.
Alright friends – thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end. I’ll be back this weekend with a post that’s helpful for teachers who have landed their first teaching job this coming school year or are seasoned teachers switching districts.
Want to read more? Check out my blog at www.iheartteachingmusic.com!
I Heart Teaching Music