Education Opinion

Why I Teach (Music)

By Nancy Flanagan — November 27, 2010 1 min read
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My teacher-blogger buddies at Stories from School AZ and Stories from School WA have cooked up a small-scale collaborative meme--“Why I Teach”--inspired by Kelly Kovacic (CA Teacher of the Year, 2010) who shared her 90-second reflective take on the same topic at InterACT.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, it’s appropriate to pause and squeeze in a Big Cosmic Question or two, between the clash of the football Titans and waiting in line to get a flat screen TV. And anytime is the right time to--as they say in the corporate world--revisit the mission. Why do we teach? If there’s a good answer tucked away, it can sustain us through a lot of free-floating anger over the way things are going, not to mention the dreaded Week Before Christmas Break.

Over at Stories from School AZ, Molly and Annie have asked their students: Why do you think I teach? Kids say the darnedest (and sweetest) things. And Tom at SFS WA deftly illustrates the seemingly simple facade of some complex decision-making in the classroom. Mark says that teaching makes him think--it’s not about the ego stroking or former students returning to tell him how much they enjoyed his class. It’s about the intellectual exercise. Go figure.

Reading these quick reflections is a great way to fill anybody’s teacher bucket. But I have the best reason for teaching. Ever.


(And if the cheesy faux organ grates on you, here’s another incarnation of the same idea--a random act of culture-- featuring the great Wanamaker Organ.)

That’s why I teach music. Did you see the faces of the children (hey--this is cool--maybe I could do this someday)? The flip videos being pulled out? The absolute joy on the faces of the singers?

Every one of those singers had at least one music teacher, who patiently taught them to read a new language consisting of symbols, listen to the person next them for blend and balance, breathe deeply using their diaphragm, enunciate--and put their heart and soul into an historic masterwork. That’s good teaching.

I’m proud to be a music teacher, meticulous taskmaster and bringer of joy. It’s a gas.

The opinions expressed in Teacher in a Strange Land are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.