Students are the heart and soul of education. In my
classroom, the student is the first priority. In making everyday teaching
decisions and weighty program choices, my first question is always, “What’s in
it for the kids?”
I strive for a careful balance between challenging the entire group and meeting
the needs of each student as a unique learner. The trusting, supportive, and
encouraging environment in my classroom helps maintain this balance.
I value each of my students as a human being with thoughts, ideas, opinions,
desires, and needs. It is important to me that the students perceive this value,
and accept the responsibilities and freedoms it brings. My students know that
they are free to be expressive, emotional, and even opinionated. They also know
that I will challenge them to think critically about their own learning,
communication, and emotional expression.
I am fortunate to teach in a fine arts classroom, where such expression is both
encouraged and expected. Music offers students opportunities and challenges that
are unique to the curricular area. Music not only challenges students to think
in a different way, but it also helps students develop critical listening,
interpretive, and logical thinking skills that are assets in other curricular
areas. Through study and performance, my students develop musicianship and
literacy skills that serve them for a lifetime.
Education must be student-centered. The student is the impetus for, the direct
participant in, and ultimately the beneficiary of the educational process. In the
end, both the value and vision of education lie within the students themselves.
Matthew L. Reece
January 18, 2011