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Interview with Sharon August, January 24, 2014

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: August describes her unorthodox journey to teaching music, including her first year at a private school with no training. She talks about how she could have benefited from seeking advice and observing other teachers during that first year. She talks about what was lacking in her teacher training.

Keywords: B.M.; Bachelor of Music; French horn performance major; Girls Scouts; M.Ed.; Master of Education; Mobile Symphony Orchestra; Orff certification; Orff-Schulwerk; PTO; UM; University of Montevallo; Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park; Vestavia Hills, Alabama; elementary school; music specialist; private school; teacher training

00:04:53 - Challenges and rewards

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Partial Transcript: You've been teaching sixteen years. Why have you stayed in teaching all these years?

Segment Synopsis: August talks about her passion for teaching that has kept her in the profession and the various factors that cause others to leave. She describes a touching moment she shared with an autistic student. She talks about the challenge of getting administrators to understand scheduling needs for music rehearsals.

Keywords: American Sign Language; administration; autism; burnout; kindergarten; music education; rehearsals

00:09:04 - Optimism / teaching style

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Partial Transcript: Well, I think in relationship to that: tell me about a time when you felt hopeful about music teaching.

Segment Synopsis: August talks about the positive change she’s seen in the AMEA. She describes a funny moment in her classroom when a thunderstorm coincided with a lesson. She talks about being inspired by her high school band director to be gentle in her teaching style.

Keywords: AMEA; Alabama Music Educators Association; French horn; dynamics; high school band director; music education

00:12:23 - Mentorship / learning from students

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Partial Transcript: How do you motivate your students?

Segment Synopsis: August talks about using positive reinforcement to motivate her students. She talks about the benefits she receives from attending professional development events. She talks about mentoring a friend who came to teaching later in life. She talks about giving lessons to a former student and learning from him that some of her quiet students have more talent than they let on.

Keywords: AOSA; American Orff-Schulwerk Association; French horn; collaboration; middle school; music education; national conferences; positive reinforcement; professional development; state conferences; student teaching; teaching certificate