Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Music, Christopher Newport University
Length of time teaching: 14 years
Length of time teaching at HT: 14 years
How do you feel you can help students to “Start Here. Go Anywhere.”?
I love the individuality of my program. I can tailor each student’s experience to their desires and abilities. Some of my students strive to perform at the highest levels and want to participate in All State ensembles, take private lessons and devote time and energy to their craft. Other students look at the arts as a way to destress, socialize and be creative without pressure. There is room for all experiences here in Holy Trinity Fine Arts.
What motivated you to become a teacher?
When I was 18 years old and my mother wanted me to go for a music education degree, I rolled my eyes, hissed and spit and refused because, “Gross, who wants to teach kids?” So I started a performance major. Many years later (and after a good bit of maturing had taken place) I volunteered at HTEA in my daughter’s preschool class. After a while, I was asked to substitute teach, after another while I was asked to teach a preschool class. I LOVED it and haven’t looked back since. I love teaching students, teenagers especially. I like really looking at them and finding out their dreams, their talents and their fears. If I can support them through their fear and into finding their passion and purpose, then I have made a difference.
What has been your most memorable moment in teaching?
My most memorable moment in teaching was listening to a student sing a beautiful solo in the final concert of her senior year. Knowing she had come to me as a sixth grader unable to match pitch or even be heard, her tenacity and desire to achieve was inspirational to me. She will never be a professional singer or performer, but one day she will be able to sing a lullaby to her child and it will be beautiful. That’s a win in my book.
If teaching was not your first professional career, what was? How did you transition into teaching?
My first job was playing Chuck E. Cheese when I was 16. I held that job for a year and after spending six hours in a stinky rat suit in 100 plus temperatures at the Bayou La Batre Blessing of the Fleet, I decided a professional job might be a better choice! My career was music but not as a classroom teacher. I was a minister of music for many years and worked as an Artist in Residence for Brevard County before I became a classroom music teacher. Because my husband was a soldier, we lived in Germany for five years. While there, I worked in marketing for Non-Appropriated Funded Activities. The best part of that job was being able to work with the professionals at Armed Forces Network Radio. I wrote, produced and voiced commercials for our community. I became a classroom teacher after doing some substitute teaching in my daughter’s preschool class.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received or could receive as a teacher?
The best compliment I receive is when a parent comes up to me at graduation and tells me that their amazing kid is amazing because of my influence. It’s not true, but I like hearing it.
What is your motto or mantra as a teacher?
My motto is: I don’t teach music. I teach young people through music.