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Interview with Joya Harris, January 28, 2017

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:27 - Early days as a music teacher

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Partial Transcript: I’d like to start by asking you: how long have you been teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Harris talks about being the only music teacher at a large school. She talks about her fifth grade band director inspiring her to become a music teacher. She describes her first day on the job and how the job is different than how she imagined.

Keywords: AES; Alcova Elementary School; Charissa Gransden; Dacula, Georgia; Elementary general music; Title 1 school; clarinet; first grade

00:04:51 - Connecting with students / Striving for improvement

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Partial Transcript: If you could go back to your first year as a teacher

Segment Synopsis: Harris talks about prioritizing the connection with her students over the curriculum. She discusses what was beneficial and what was missing from her music education. Harris talks about her drive to continue learning and improving. She then discusses the difficulties of the job that cause other to leave.

Keywords: Bachelor of Music Education; GMEA; GMEA conference; Georgia Music Educators Association; elementary school; instrumental track

00:08:53 - Teacher evaluation / Rewards and challenges

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Partial Transcript: What are your thoughts on teacher evaluation

Segment Synopsis: Harris discusses the value she sees in teacher evaluation as well as the downsides to incorporating standardized test scores in them. She talks about the pride of seeing her students develop a love for music and performing. She talks about the challenge of switching lesson plans between the different grades as well as fighting to keep music a priority at the school.

Keywords: Standardized testing; chorus; elementary school; stepping; teaching to the test

00:13:40 - Music as an outlet / General education

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Partial Transcript: Teaching, certainly in general, I think has its challenges, but I think the arts

Segment Synopsis: Harris talks about the outlet that music provides to the students. She talks about the funniest moments from the classroom. She discusses the differences between music and general education.

Keywords: Music education; elementary school; general education; recess; recorder; recreation

00:19:32 - Teaching style / Avoiding burnout

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Partial Transcript: If I had the opportunity to talk with some of your students

Segment Synopsis: Harris describes her fast and fun style of teaching. She talks about participating in professional development activities and adding variety in the classroom to avoid burnout. Harris talks about learning to have a thick skin from her elementary school band director, as well as learning how to break down lessons from her math teacher.

Keywords: Charissa Gransden; elementary school; professional development; workshops

00:24:04 - Motivating and connecting with students

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Partial Transcript: How do you motivate your students?

Segment Synopsis: Harris talks about motivating her students by complimenting them on small improvements and by incorporating competitions and games into her lessons. She talks about mentoring both a younger colleague and one of her students. She talks about learning from another student the impact a teacher can have on a child’s life when making an effort to connect.

Keywords: Hightower Elementary School; competition; counseling; elementary school; mentorship; motivation; praise; professional development