Meet Eric Emmons: Music Teacher, The Day School

Meet Eric Emmons: Music Teacher, The Day School
Question: Can you describe your position at The Day School?
Eric Emmons: I am the music teacher for all students who attend The Day School.

Q: What gets you excited to get out of bed every morning? What motivates you?
EE: Trying to embed student work and goals in meaningful and motivating activities is very motivating for me at work. It is worth mentioning here that the pursuit of this goal involves a lot of failures. Nevertheless, the successes outweigh the failures, and have kept me teaching at The Day School for 33 years.

Q: Why did you choose to work in education?
EE: I have always loved the process of learning about music and thought I might like to teach it. So much has changed [in 33 years.] I feel like education and the world has both changed. I was attracted here for the staff... the staff has always been fun. The people I’m working with every day have always been a good time and I appreciate that.

Q: What makes a "good day" at school?
EE: A good day at school for me involves planning and working through a whole day of lessons and student interactions that allow students to experience any kind of success, be it large or small.

Q: What student or classroom accomplishments fill you with the biggest sense of pride?
EE: I derive satisfaction from any student interactions which allow the students to enjoy the moment, the activity, the class, the success, or the accomplishment. I really like teaching music. I really love it. I’m always trying to teach the kids vocabulary and things to make music more interesting… The most fun part for me is when kids start to really “get it” and they get opinions about what they want and they start to express that in class. Our kids like what they like, it could be classical, but for most kids it’s pop, rap and hip-hop, and country. Just two weeks ago, a guy came in who very rarely says anything, looked straight at me and said “Beyonce.” And that’s great, that’s the stuff I love.

I derive satisfaction from any student interactions which allow the students to enjoy the moment, the activity, the class, the success, or the accomplishment. I really like teaching music. I really love it.

Q: What is your favorite thing about working at the Day School?
EE: I was initially drawn to The Day School by the wonderfully supportive coworkers and the positive atmosphere they created for students. Those two things continue to motivate me years later.

Q: Please describe a typical day from when you arrive until you leave.
EE: I arrive at work between 6:30 and 7:00, because I am very much a morning person. I work on setting up the day and on lessons until 8:30 when I have bus duty. Classes start at 9:15, and run until 2:35, at which point I work on afternoon bus duty. That ends around 3:15 - 3:20, which leaves a few minutes to finish up any loose ends. Then, because I'm a morning person, I leave around 3:30.

Q: What is something at The Day School that you want to highlight? Is there a special service or classroom or program that really stands out to you and makes us unique?
EE: I think it is wonderful that a small approved private school such as The Day School has invested in ancillary subjects, such as art, library, music, and physical education. Investing in these subjects shows that the school's administration sees value in teaching the whole student, and I think that is great. I see everybody for 40 minutes, and I try to make it as fun as I can. I have content that I have to teach, from the standards, but I’m really aware of the flow of the class: “Am I sitting too long? Lets mix it up, or do a parachute, or blow up a ball or bubbles." I don’t want them to come to music class and have it be droll.

Q: Anything interesting that you’d like to share about yourself or your job here at The Children’s Institute with our followers?
EE: I started in January of 1990. The music teacher was on maternity leave, and the position was for a 3 month substitute teacher. I was the only applicant for the job! For me, right place, right time...

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