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Interview with Brenda Poss, June 26, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:20 - Early days in the career

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

Segment Synopsis: Poss describes her journey to becoming a music teacher, including a story about her hectic first day on the job. She talks about the large amount of time a teacher must allocate towards meetings and lesson preparation as well as the challenge of teaching without a designated classroom. She talks about being hard on herself too much during her first year.

Keywords: Bible camps; arranging music; budgets; church service; elementary school; high school; itinerant teachers; music education; piano lessons; student teaching; writing music

00:07:58 - Teacher training / staying vs. leaving

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Partial Transcript: What comments can you make regarding the quality of your teacher training?

Segment Synopsis: Poss talks about the positive experiences she had with the faculty of the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music. She describes the honesty and emotion of high school students that makes them her favorite age group to teach. She talks about some of the reasons why teachers leave the profession, including lack of support all around.

Keywords: Ed.S.; EdS; Hugh Hodgson School of Music; M.M.Ed.; MMEd; Master of Music Education; Olin Parker; Specialist in Education; UGA; University of Georgia; education specialist; high school music workshops; high schools; music education

00:14:44 - Highs and lows as a teacher

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about a time when you felt proud to be a music teacher.

Segment Synopsis: Poss talks about working around the difficult scheduling and enrollment issues at a small, private college. She describes how her students’ enthusiasm for performing a more ambitious piece boosted her spirits. She talks about teaching at a poor, rural school for seventeen years and how challenging it was to transition to an urban school. She talks about offering piano lessons at her school and a student who, as an adult, expressed how much of an impact those lessons had on her.

Keywords: Emmanuel College; Frank Schubert; Mass No. 2 in G major, D. 167; Pentecostal church; SAT scores; UGA; University of Georgia; choral voicing; masses; music history; piano labs; piano lessons; pianos; private schools; rural schools; scheduling; urban schools

00:25:26 - Humor in the classroom / teaching style

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Partial Transcript: What have been some of the funniest moments you’ve experienced in the classroom?

Segment Synopsis: Poss talks about the benefits of embracing humor in the classroom. She talks about the various careers that appeal to her as well as the reasons she did not pursue them. She talks about teaching with a sense of enjoyment and with the goal of broadening students’ horizons.

Keywords: English; church music; classroom management; high school; music education

00:32:47 - Motivating students / learning from students

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Partial Transcript: How do you motivate your students?

Segment Synopsis: Poss talks about motivating students by choosing the right approach and curriculum for what the students need. She talks about learning the difference between failing at something and being a failure in reference to a brilliant, but negligent student who bounced back from an F in one of her classes.

Keywords: D.M.; Doctor of Music; failing grade; high school; independent study; music education; music theory