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Interview with Victoria Knowles, January 26, 2018

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:14 - Early days as a teacher

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Partial Transcript: How long have you been teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Knowles describes the variety of schools in which she has taught. She talks about coming from a family of teachers and having a love for music at an early age. She talks about feeling terrified on her first day on the job. She talks about the importance for teachers to have good time management.

Keywords: Acworth, Georgia; Augusta, Georgia; Baker Elementary School; Bartow County, Georgia; Cartersville, Georgia; Cloverleaf Elementary School; Cobb County, Georgia; Columbia County, Georgia; Orff Schulwerk; Pitner Elementary School; Rome City Schools; Rome, Georgia; Title 1 schools; Title I schools; Westminster Schools of Augusta; band directors; free and reduced lunch; high school band; middle school band; private schools; public schools; student teaching; suburban; time management

00:06:46 - Highs and lows of teaching

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Partial Transcript: Is teaching a lot different from what you envisioned it would be when you were a student?

Segment Synopsis: Knowles talks about feeling prepared for the job but having to learn along the way the limitations for what she could realistically accomplish. She talks about the positive experience of her college’s music education program. She talks about the security of the job as well as the culture of fear and lack of loyalty that causes others to leave. She talks about a group of her students who performed at the national AOSA conference.

Keywords: AOSA; AOSA Professional Development Conference; American Orff-Schulwerk Association; Atlanta Area Orff Chapter; Augusta College; Augusta State University; Augusta University; Augusta, Georgia; B.M.; Bachelor of Music - Music Education; Orff Schulwerk; band; general methods; honor concerts; social media; “Georgia on My Mind”

00:13:46 - Teaching style

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Partial Transcript: But when you think about you as a teacher, what do you see as some of the more challenging moments

Segment Synopsis: Knowles talks about the challenge of teaching over thirty students at a time. She talks about feeling hopeful about the shift away from high-stakes testing. She talks about learning from a funny misunderstanding in class that it’s more helpful to ask answerable questions instead of using trivia. She talks about a positive experience teaching an online music appreciation class for a technical college. She talks about setting high expectations for her students while keeping the classroom fun.

Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Georgia Piedmont Technical College; accordion; common planning time; elementary school; high-stakes testing; music appreciation; music education; observation; online teaching; retirement; student teaching

00:20:37 - Motivating students

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Partial Transcript: And how do you motivate your students?

Segment Synopsis: Knowles talks about motivating her students by being clear with them about the reasons for each lesson. She talks about getting their input on how to improve each step of the learning process as well as tailoring her approach to fit each class’s needs. She talks about learning from her college professor the value of figuring out the best way to motivate each student.

Keywords: Augusta College; Augusta State University; Augusta University; Augusta, Georgia; Dr. Alan Drake; Orff Level 3; Orff Schulwerk; clarinet; elementary methods; elementary school; keyboard; lesson plans; music education

00:26:55 - Professional development / mentorship

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Partial Transcript: And I know sometimes it’s so easy to, as teachers, to get caught up in the day-to-day

Segment Synopsis: Knowles talks about feeling isolated as her school’s only music teacher and how conferences help her feel more connected. She describes an experience mentoring a young music teacher from her church. She talks about a student who, through his constant questioning, helped her refine her approach to summarizing each day’s lesson.

Keywords: GMEA; Georgia Music Educators Association; Orff Schulwerk; band directors; church; conferences; elementary school; isolation; lesson plans; methods; student teaching; workshops