University of Tennessee at Martin
Where do you currently teach?
Madison Creek Elementary School, Sumner County Schools, Goodlettsville, TN
How long have you been teaching?
Why do you choose to be a member of TMEA?
I choose to be a member of TMEA because as an elementary general music teacher, you are often "alone" in your world. If you teach in a rural district, the feeling of being on your own is even more prevalent. TMEA offers ALL teachers a network of immediate friends and sounding boards. The expertise that is found in TMEA is amazing. There is a wealth of never ending ideas, lessons, resources, innovation, creativity -- and I could go on and on... If you then include the very close friendships that have grown from having met through TMEA, it is truly a life-changing membership. I cannot even begin to verbalize the meaning my TMEA colleagues have to me.
What do you love about teaching?
I love seeing a child's eyes opened about something they may not have ever thought about being a passion. Through music, our children try things, take chances, trust in the goodness of people, believe in the ability of ALL... it is a transformative experience. I also, having taught so long, am loving seeing my "babies" who have gone on into the music business, whether performing, teaching, technical... That is one of the coolest things. To know I had one little part in forming the adult they have become.
If you could choose another job for one day, what would it be?
I would love to influence future music teachers.
Tell us one thing about you that people would be surprised to know or something you are passionate about besides teaching.
I have a passion for musical theatre. When I directed the church youth choir, a group of us would write the musical we took on tour each summer. Writing the musicals were a highlight of my life. Being in collaboration with other amazing musicians and lyricists was wonderful. My favorite musical we wrote dealt with the aftermath of a close friends suicide. "Dear Evan Hansen" is eerily similar to what we wrote so many years ago. My husband and I revived "Never the Same" a couple of summers ago - I had several former babies that were in the production, as well as my daughter. It was like coming full circle. Two weeks to the day after we finished NTS, my father passed away and my daughter was there. One of the songs we had written was "Hope Carries On". My daughter was the one who sang that in the new production... but we changed the original song instrumentation. She played it on acoustic guitar and parts were a cappella... it was amazing.
Share a fun and unique idea that you use in your classroom!
I do not do the same programs year to year... mainly to save my own sanity! However that being said, my 5th grade program is almost identical year to year. What makes it unique (I think) is it is completely done in black lights. The kids wear all black clothes (long sleeves and legs) except for white socks. I have white gloves for each of them and white masks (they only wear this for one song - Thriller Dance). They do a showcase of what they have learned the past six years in music - a choral octavo, a drumming showcase, a dance, a rhythm exploration (basketball routine) and end with educating parents on form (Danse Macabre) where the kids play the melody and visually show form. It is a lot of fun and the whole school looks forward to it each October.