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Interview with Ashley Drake, January 25, 2020

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:31 - Demographic of School

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Partial Transcript: It’s been changing since I first started there. When I started in 2008 we were very racially diverse. We had about equal force of every major demographic.

Segment Synopsis: Ashley discusses the demographics of the middle school in which she teaches- how the demographics have changed and how large of a school.

Keywords: Duluth Middle School; guitar

00:01:49 - Teaching Origin

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Partial Transcript: I had done my student teaching at a primary school -- preschool through third grade. And then I walk into the middle school where we had some retained eighth graders who should have been in high school that were towering over me and I was very, very scared.

Segment Synopsis: Drake discusses how teaching did not line up with her expectations and the impact it had on her as a new teacher. She also discusses the birth of her guitar program.

Keywords: General music; fine arts; guitar; method book; orchestra; recruiting; standard notation

00:05:35 - Teaching Style

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Partial Transcript: I was always just one page ahead of the students trying to see how I’m learning it for myself and how can I teach it to them because they are learning with me?

Segment Synopsis: Drake discusses how she explored and created the most effective way to use class time to teach her students and how much self training after earning her degree it took in order to prepare herself for teaching.

Keywords: modified block

00:08:41 - Unexpected Burdens

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Partial Transcript: I’ve had some duties and responsibilities outside of my certification that I was not trained for, not prepared for. I was basically told you are going to be doing this.

Segment Synopsis: Drake discusses how she has had to overcome added stress to her position and how her students can make it easier or more difficult.

Keywords: Support; administration; challenging moments; morale; parent support

00:13:16 - Teaching Rewards

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Partial Transcript: I get letters sometimes at the end of the school year. And it's sometimes from the academic teachers. They may have a writing project say what teacher inspires you….

Segment Synopsis: Drake discusses the positive that she finds in teaching her students and the benefits of teaching in Gwinnett County

Keywords: Strikes; budgets; fine arts; teaching style

00:18:03 - Influence

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Partial Transcript: There have been several teachers who have influenced me in my teaching career.

Segment Synopsis: Drake discusses how one mentor in particular reminded her to connect with her students on a emotional level as well as on a teaching level.She also discuss how conferences and connecting with other teachers help her to overcome stagnation.

00:21:27 - Program Support

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Partial Transcript: We joke that we are the red-headed step children of the music ensemble world.

Segment Synopsis: Drake shares what it is like to be a guitar teacher in the music world and how much support she receives from other teachers and the school's administration.

00:23:23 - Mentoring

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Partial Transcript: I don’t want to overstep my bounds of talking down to somebody…

Segment Synopsis: Drake discusses how she shares her experiences in hopes that others will benefit and how she has learned about herself from her students.