As a nominee for the Music Educator of the Year 2016 title, there is someone who thinks your music teaching has touched students in a deep and profound way. Every music educator that earns the honor of this nomination should take the time to apply! This was very affirming for me as I was able to see in black and white the many successes in my band program cumulatively and how they have impacted students, families and community in a way I rarely take the time to celebrate. Typically it’s nose to the grindstone, no looking back other than on how to improve and grow. The letters parents, administration, colleagues and even students wrote were extremely special and allowed me to recognize that I am appreciated and felt very rewarding. This was worth the time no matter the final result! It’s easy to forget how significant the impact of your teaching is; allow yourself the opportunity how wonderful you are and hear from those around you in your letters of recommendation!
I later learned I was a finalist which was shocking, exciting and cause for excitement! The local media was alerted and there was a huge amount of publicity that occurred highlighting the great things happening in the band program. There were reporters calling, photographers making appointments and a tremendous sense of pride in the music department not only at my school but throughout the city. The big announcement was made at the Music & Arts Reception at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, amidst great music, red carpet, friends, family, colleagues, libations, buffet and what an incredible thrill to celebrate the achievements of simply doing my chosen job well!
The entire experience of being nominated, becoming a finalist and winner demonstrated to me how much people appreciate the work I have dedicated my life to. Students, parents, colleagues, administration, and community all celebrated this achievement with me and showed me how much they value music education and the work I do. If you’re hesitating to take the time to submit your materials, DO IT, the process alone will reinvigorate you to see how much people appreciate you. You’ll be grateful you did!