May 8th– May 10th #ThankATeacher
Teacher Appreciation Week has been celebrated since 1984! Started by the National PTA, this organization designates one week each May to honor those who educate our population. We at West Music want to take this opportunity to give a special shoutout to all the educators and Music Teachers out there! Most do not realize the level of work and effort that goes into being a music teacher, but we do! For one thing, this highly-specialized group of educators wears many hats each day, including being a classroom teacher, musician, and coach – all wrapped up into one.
Elementary Music Teachers
When you teach music, every day is an adventure. For elementary music teachers, they spend their time differentiating their instruction to accommodate each grade level and to reach all styles of learners. In particular these teachers are highly organized, and adept at both crafting and teaching several different lesson plans at once. It’s a unique skill set to effectively teach a kindergartner and a 4th grader in the same day!
Additionally, let’s not forget their excellent classroom management skills. Often, elementary music teachers have 30 or more kids in a class, all with noisemakers in their hands. It takes a fantastic person to control that potential chaos.
Middle School Music Teachers
Middle School Music Teachers help shape students during a critical stage in personal development. You know what we are talking about: Puberty! Hormones are flying, and these young musicians are trapped between childhood and adulthood. Middle School Music Directors are there to provide a safe space to help these kids develop as responsible individuals and as budding musicians. The guidance and support offered in music classes can propel a student to the next level.
High School Music Teachers
High School Band, Choir, and Orchestra Directors plan and lead large group rehearsals, often with over 100 students in the room at a time. With a flick of the wrist, they command the ensemble before them to play together at the desired tempo (speed), dynamic (volume), and articulation (style). Then, during small group or individual lessons, they reinforce these skills tailored to the individual(s). In addition to the musical aspect of their work, these teachers plan concerts, promote their events, organize fundraisers, master communication to reach parents, administrators, students, and the community, organize and chaperone long-distance trips and tours, and much more.
Music Teachers Offer Student Support
The list of activities and roles each music teacher employs in their day-to-day continues far beyond this list. The level of support a music teacher can offer often transcends what the average classroom teacher can offer their students. Often students will be taught by the same teacher for multiple years in a row. This elongated time can help build familiarity and trust between the teacher and the student. A struggling student can find the confidence to reach out to this safe person if they need support. Additionally, many students who struggle to thrive in traditional classrooms can excel in music due to the level of differentiated instruction. Music teachers naturally instruct students visually, aurally, and kinesthetically, reaching a wide range of learners.
Thank you to all music teachers who are changing student’s lives, one music class at a time!
Ideas for Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week
There are many meaningful ways to show your appreciation for the music teacher in your life! A token of your gratitude will go along way to make them feel valued and a respected member of the community. Here are a few suggestions.
- Write a thank you card
- Contact their administrator and let them know how much you appreciate the impact they have on your child’s life.
- Treat them with a gift certificate or personalized gift
- Offer to chaperone or support their efforts through volunteerism
We invite you to take a little time out of your busy day to show the Very Important Teacher that makes a difference in your world a shoutout. We would love to hear your ideas about how you thanked a teacher in the comments below!
Katie Senn is the Content and Community Engagement Manager for West Music. Her background is in music education, with an emphasis in orchestral directing and cello. She performs regularly around the midwest with her all-female folk band Awful Purdies. She serves her local community as a board member for the following organizations: Iowa City Music Auxilary, Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child, and her children’s before and afterschool program.