Arts teachers, specialists, enrichment instructors, whatever title they carry, these teachers are invaluable to our education system. They teach our children skills in creativity, culture and life.
All too often they are the unsung heroes of the education world and unfortunately the first to get cut in a budget crisis, but their part of our students’ educational puzzle is crucial to a complete learning experience – one that teaches the WHOLE child!
For seven years, I was a music teacher at the middle school in Hampton, New Hampshire: Hampton Academy. There I taught 6th-8th grade general music and chorus. Fortunately, I saw my students from 2-3 times a week, instead of the more typical 45 minute period a week. In my time there, I was able to really develop relationships with kids not only over the school year, but throughout their three years at the school. That was truly the best part of the job – seeing kids grow and mature over time both inside and out of my class – and something not all teachers were able to see and enjoy.
I saw girls sing their little hearts out and do it with total vocal control, boys find their voice in their own hand as it struck a drum for the first time, and classes of 23+ students work together to choreograph and perform dances to 80s tunes. Looking back, I know that whether my students were listening to J.S. Bach or John Cage, singing, drumming or dancing, their minds were being stretched far beyond their “core” curriculum.
It is important for us all to realize the importance of the arts in our children’s lives and the part these teachers play in honing skills in everything from individuality and determination to collaboration and innovation.
Whether it’s with the computer or wood, story or song, needle and thread or paint and brush, we need to appreciate the work, energy and heart these teachers bring to their job each day!
Pat yourself on the back. Chances are, if you’ve read this far, you’re someone who wants the whole of every child to be educated. That’s awesome…