We’re introducing you to our TCS teachers! So far, you’ve met Todd, Katie, Sally, Kelly, Kelley, Michelle, Lucius, Julia, and Paul. We’re very excited to introduce you to Michele Smith, our music specialist!
This is Michele’s sixth year teaching elementary music. She taught for two years in Clover, SC where she taught pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade music. After two years in Clover, she went back to school full-time for two years to work on her master’s in Music Education at Georgia State University. As a part of her master’s program assistantship, she taught music to two-, three-, and four-year-olds. She started at TCS right after completing her master’s, and this is her fourth year here.
What skills do you hope your students will learn by the time they leave your classroom? How are you preparing them to learn these skills?
The number one thing I hope students walk away with is a love for music in some way that will encourage them to continue to participate in the arts in their future years. I hope they remember what it feels like to be proud of a performance or how great it feels to have a parent or grandparent celebrate with pride over a show! In addition to a love for music, I hope my students are prepared for whatever musical journey they take whether it’s choosing to continue singing in chorus at their next schools, playing an instrument or singing at a church service or holiday celebration. Music for me was more than just a school subject, it was an opportunity for self-growth, a reason for my family to come together, and a true character builder. I want the same for my students.
What about teaching makes you excited to come to school every day?
The relationships with students are definitely the biggest perk of being a specialist! We get to see every student in the school weekly, and from year to year we see their growth in a unique way.
Tell us about one of the most rewarding moments in your teaching career.
This is a tough one! There have been so many moments where I walk away and think “I am doing exactly what I am gifted to do, and I cannot imagine another profession.” At TCS I think hearing feedback from a student’s grandparent in a thank you note was a true highlight of my career. Words of affirmation are definitely my love language! Everything she said about a performance affirmed that I was making a difference. She wrote, “What a special treat last night’s TCS Voices concert was! The Children’s School was at its best. Most impressive was the musical knowledge the kids are acquiring and the almost-magic relationship one can feel between Michele and these kids – awe, respect and huge desire to perform well. Just the right balance from this Granny’s perspective.” This audience member’s comments about being able to feel the relationship between the students and me was what I feel is magical about being a part of a musical ensemble. There is something special that takes place between the conductor and the singer.
What is something none of your students know about you?
I am pretty much an open book! I don’t think many of them know that my husband and I enjoy traveling when we are away from school. He works for Delta and whisks me away on a jet plane almost any vacation we can get! We have traveled to Stuttgart, Montreal, Phuket, Athens, Zurich, Bali, Bangkok, Cancun, Puerta Vallarta, Rome, San Francisco, and Amsterdam in the past two years. However, a baby (due April 2018) may ground us for a bit!