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Interview with Vicki Portis, January 24, 2014

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:16 - Early days in the career

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

Segment Synopsis: Portis talks about the unique experience of starting her career as a school’s first ever music teacher. She talks about the ways in which her teacher training left her underprepared to manage a classroom. She talks about how seeking knowledge and advice from other teachers would have benefitted her during her first year. She describes how being underprepared helped her be more curious and driven to improve.

Keywords: AMEA; B.M.; Bachelor of Music; Bluff Park Elementary School; Hoover, Alabama; M.Ed.; Master of Music Education; Orff Level I; Orff Schulwerk; Orff orchestrations; University of Montevallo; classroom management; double classes; music education; music specialist; observation; resonator bells; rhythm band instruments; student teaching; teaching carts

00:07:27 - Staying vs leaving / moments of pride

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Partial Transcript: You said you’ve been teaching 29 years. Why have you stayed in teaching all these years?

Segment Synopsis: Portis talks about the enjoyment she gets out of teaching music that keeps her coming back. She describes the burdens and unrealistic expectations put upon teachers that cause some to leave. She talks about the pride she feels when her former students go on to become music teachers.

Keywords: concerts; elementary school; ensembles; music education; student aides; student teaching

00:11:22 - Highs and lows of the career

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Partial Transcript: I know a moment ago you talked about why teachers have left the field

Segment Synopsis: Portis talks about the challenging schedule of a music teacher and not receiving the same resources as other classes. She tells two stories of funny moments from her classroom. She talks about the impact her Orff instructor had on her teaching career.

Keywords: Konnie Saliba; Memphis State University; Orff Level I workshop; Orff Level II; Orff Level III; Orff Master Class; SMART Boards; elementary school; iPads; music education; “Specials”

00:17:12 - Professional development / mentorship

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Partial Transcript: How do you motivate your students?

Segment Synopsis: Portis talks about motivating her students by encouraging them and keeping things fun. She describes her self-motivated drive to learn new things about teaching. She talks about the variety of experiences she’s had mentoring student teachers. She talks about how meaningful it is to see her students’ acts of kindness towards one another.

Keywords: National Board Certification; Orff; assessment; introverts; music education; purchase orders; self-motivation; student teaching; workshops