Michael Salvatierra, Vocal Music Teacher, Venable Elementary School
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Providing a program that emphasizes the aural and literacy skills for independent musicianship as well as the pure joy of making music with others, and tracking the progress of 300 students toward those goals.
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
That our main purpose is to give cute performances. The kids always amaze me with their creativity and courage as artists. They deserve only the best music, and can achieve so much when we take them seriously. More importantly, I want them to know that music is for everyone. Whether or not they end up as performers, they should sing, dance, and play their way through life as musical people.
Where do you see the teaching field in 5 years?
I hope the field will become more collaborative. I would love to see more observation and interaction between teachers (and administrators), with the goal of a more thorough and honest conversation about what works and what doesn’t. There are so many great educators in the area, and we can only get better by sharing all that wisdom.
What outside experience prepared you best to become a teacher?
Being a parent myself has helped me to see each child uniquely and to look for both their strengths and weaknesses.