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Interview with Katie Williams, March 20, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:14 - Early days in the career

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Partial Transcript: I’d like to start by asking: when and why did you become a music teacher?

Segment Synopsis: Williams talks about her journey to a career in music education, including having the unique opportunity in high school to help teach her friends in a piano class. She talks about being terrified on her first day despite feeling well prepared for what to expect. She talks about how she would have benefited from having a more developed approach to discipline during her first year. She describes the positive experience she had with her teacher training.

Keywords: Converse College; Oconee County High School; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Watkinsville, Georgia; choral directors; chorus; church choir; classroom management; discipline; ear training; general music; high school choir; keyboard skills; middle school; music education; music history; music theory; orchestra; piano; vocal skills; work-based learning

00:05:35 - Staying vs. leaving / Moments of pride

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Partial Transcript: Why have you stayed in teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Williams describes how her love of the community and location have kept her at one school for many years. She talks about the lack of support that can drive teachers away from the profession. She talks about feeling proud when her students discover their love for the music they’re learning.

Keywords: Athens, Georgia; LGPE; Large Group Performance Evaluation; Oconee County High School; Watkinsville, Georgia; administration; chorus; competitions; music education; show choir

00:09:56 - Highs and lows of teaching

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Partial Transcript: What have been some of the most challenging moments of your career?

Segment Synopsis: Williams talks about the challenges of having only eight weeks to prepare new students for a performance along with dealing with uncontrollable behavior. She talks about a student teacher who made her feel hopeful because of her positivity and the enthusiasm she inspired in her students. She talks about the job’s drawbacks of long hours and time away from family.

Keywords: LGPE; Large Group Performance Evaluation; accounting; administration; classroom management; fundraising; grand piano; matching pitch; music education; piano; rehearsal; student teaching; voicing

00:15:55 - Teaching style / motivating students

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Partial Transcript: How would your students describe your teaching style?

Segment Synopsis: Williams describes her motherly and positive style of teaching. She talks about learning a different facet of music teaching from her three favorite teachers and incorporating them into her classroom. She talks about motivating her students by expressing her own enthusiasm for the music she’s teaching.

Keywords: church choir directors; classroom management; high school chorus; music education; music theory; piano; piano teachers; scales

00:20:20 - Professional development / learning from students

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Partial Transcript: What do you need to help you to develop professionally?

Segment Synopsis: Williams talks about trying to find more time in a day and meeting with other teachers as ways to develop professionally. She talks about mentoring a promising student, which involved teaching her to conduct. She talks about a student who encouraged her to stick with certain projects. She talks about students who turn out to be different than her first impressions of them, reminding her not to judge.

Keywords: GMEA All-State Chorus; Georgia Music Educators Association; concerts; conducting; honors chorus; music education; nursing homes; piano; professional learning; student teaching; voice