|Catherine is a fellow blogger over at concreteandlace.com which focuses on DIY, home, pregnancy, mom, and lifestyle subjects. She teaches music classes at the high school level along with taking care of her new baby girl!|
What grades and/or classes do you teach?
I teach high school, so grades 9-12. I’m a choir director and have two Women’s choirs and a Men’s choir. I also teach Basic Music Theory/Piano and AP Music Theory.
How long have you been teaching?
This is my third year!
What other grades/subjects have you taught, if any?
When I was substitute teaching, I taught a lot of different things. Math, Science, English, and one day even wrestling! I teach public high school now but have taught middle school and private school in the past.
Why teaching? What or who inspired you to be a teacher?
I love seeing the lightbulb go off. I think I have a different lens than most teachers because I teach fine arts, so I get to share more emotional moments within the context of the class. We talk about poetry, how the songs relate to us, how the emotions of the piece translate, etc. The person that inspired me to become a teacher was my middle school choir director. I walked into her class one day (she was subbing for my drama teacher who didn’t bother coming to school, ha!) and after 20 minutes with her, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Was teaching your first choice in career? If not, what else did you consider?
Yes! Like I said, I always knew I wanted to be a choir director. There were times in my life (even still) when I thought about being something else, but nothing ever really stuck. I wanted to be an architect too, but am pretty bad at math. Nobody would want to buy my homes since they would be falling down!
Have you thought about changing careers since becoming a teacher?
Yes – only because of the hours. The kids are great, my principal is great, and the staff I work with is great. But it certainly isn’t a 40 hour a week job (I average more around 70-80), and it gets exhausting. I worry I won’t be home enough for my baby (due next month!) since I’m always up at school.
What was your college major and how has it helped in your teaching career?
Music Education – you have to have it to teach in Texas, so it has helped me a ton!
What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
Like I said earlier, seeing the lightbulb go off. Or maybe when I see a student that has made some bad choices in the past turn it around because of their involvement in my program and my impact on them. I’m pretty tough on my kids, but it’s for their own good. 🙂
What is your least favorite?
Paperwork. Testing. Documentation. Dealing with kids that don’t want to be there, but are shoved in my class because I can handle them and they need a fine arts credit.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher?
Giving the same amount of time to each student. I find more often than not, the kids that deserve the most time get the least, and the ones that only show up to class 30% of the time need me to help them catch up. I wish I could pause life and have a sit-down conversation and one-on-one teach every single one of them, but it just isn’t possible. Also waiting for parents to come pick up their kids after rehearsal. I usually end up waiting around 45 minutes but have waited at least 3 hours before. Parents, please come pick up your kids on time! Teachers want to go home too!
What are your goals for your students?
To be good human beings. If they can sing or play piano, great. But I want them to leave my program as good people. That’s much more important.
What do you want your students to remember about you as a teacher?
Kindness, compassion, willingness to help, that we sounded great, and that I cared for each and every one of them.
How do you spend your school breaks?
Usually traveling or working on the house. In between my first and second year teaching, I spent the entire summer up at school organizing and prepping my room. Big mistake – though my room looked great, I was SO burned out by October.
Give your best advice for someone who may be thinking about a career in teaching.
Really think about it. Spend a day in a teacher’s shoes at different schools and in different situations. It is such an important job – you have to have a passion for it, and if you don’t you are doing a disservice to the students that will have you.
Any fun or favorite story you want to share?
My Men’s Choir this year has developed this ritual of a giant football huddle style ‘hug attack’ on each other. I love that they are a community and have such kindness towards one another. There are so many different kinds of kids in that class, football players, basketball players, robotics team members, nerds, loners, special needs students…they just love each other and it warms my heart.
Connect with Catherine: