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KCC Faculty on Teaching

KCC Faculty on Teaching

Carlene Barnaby

Q&A with Dawn Taitt| Music

How did you get into teaching?
Volunteering in the public schools where my children attended was my first experience with teaching outside of the home. I played the piano for school performances and graduation ceremonies and taught the violin as part of the afterschool program. A conversation with the assistant principal (A.P.) about the prospect of music teaching was all it took for me to explore what was needed to become a music teacher.

What career did you imagine for yourself when you were in college?
My time as a stay-at-home mum allowed me to reflect on what I wanted to do with my life, mainly because the children were growing up. I knew after the encounter I had with the A.P that I wanted to become a music teacher. The first step toward a music teaching career was earning a music education degree.

What do you love about teaching?
Imparting music skills to K-12 students and seeing them flourish brings me joy. Equally, creating a dialogue with young college students that allows them to explore and seek out endless possibilities for their life is rewarding.

What's your favorite teaching experience?
One teaching experience that stands out the most happened in one of my Writing Intensive music courses. One student was distraught because I deducted points for not implementing my corrections to her paper. "I was angry at you making me do work over and taking away points. Looking back, I am glad you made me do the work. I am now a better writer because of it. Thank you!" Not all students voice how they feel, but this student warmed my heart, knowing I helped develop a skill she needed for the future.

In what ways do you bring your professional experience into the classroom?
Learning occurs when students are interested in what you have to say, even if the topic is not to their liking. Through my teaching approach, I aim to connect topics to some aspect of their life. Talking about movies, past and present, is a great conversation starter that helps me to implement my lesson.

What advice do you have for current students?
The advice I give to all my students is that knowledge is power. You may not like what you hear or read in the college classroom but there may be a time in your life when you may need to reach for that knowledge in your intellectual toolbox. You can only draw from that knowledge if it is there.