New York Teacher Uses NAfME Tools
Member Spotlight: Cheryl Hartman
This article originally appeared in the October 2016 Teaching Music.
NAfME member Cheryl Hartman says that the music program in the Patchogue-Medford School District, New York, “is an integral part of our curriculum. The special-area teachers meet monthly with the grade-level teachers to discuss our curricula. We find ways that we can integrate the different subjects into the various special-area subjects as well as ways that the classroom teachers can support what we are doing in the special areas.”
This school district on Long Island has been rated as a Best Community for Music Education by NAMM. Hartman is one of 22 music teachers in her district. “This is my second year teaching in Patchogue-Medford, but I have been teaching for seven years in other districts on Long Island. I teach fourth- and fifth-grade band and general music at Barton Elementary School, and fifth-grade band at Medford Elementary School. At Barton Elementary School, the fourth-grade band has 32 students, and the fifth-grade band has 42 students. I also see 154 students for general music. At Medford Elementary School, the fifth-grade band has 32 students. In both buildings, there are three or four other music teachers who teach orchestra, chorus, general music, or band.”
Strong Support for the Music Program
“I am lucky enough to work in a school that has such a supportive team of administrators and colleagues. Both of my principals are always ready to help and support me with anything I need. My district also has a director of music who is our biggest advocate. Our superintendent highly supports the arts as an integral part of the curriculum. My colleagues and I are always collaborating on various projects and curriculum ideas. The classroom teachers are very supportive in accommodating the rotating lesson schedule and helping students to remember to bring their instruments and attend lessons.”
Professional Development Tools
“I’ve learned so much from NAfME, which has been helpful in giving me lesson-plan ideas, management tips, and assurance that I am not the only one struggling with whatever was difficult that week! NYSSMA has helped me tremendously with professional development. Every year, my county’s MEA hosts at least six professional development courses on various topics. I try to attend as many as I can. They also host various symposium days that include reading sessions, workshops, and vendors.”
Cheryl Hartman’s Teaching Tips
“I find that a light-hearted approach to teaching works best for both my students and me. This does not mean that everything is fun and games, but I feel that students respond best when they are comfortable. I try to incorporate humor into my teaching to get my students smiling and laughing. They know that it is all right to make mistakes, and everyone feels comfortable enough to play alone without fear of making a mistake. My best tip for classroom control is to establish routines with the students. All my students know the routine and my expectations for rehearsals and lessons. This allows me to make the most of my time with my students. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was to keep setting my musical expectations high for my students. They will rise to meet what you expect, and sometimes will even surprise you by surpassing your expectations!”
Roz Fehr, NAfME Membership Outreach Specialist, October 2016. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).