For June Teacher of the Month Will Armour, creating his lessons and establishing a nurturing classroom environment is a labor of love – for the inspiration he shares with and gets from his students, and the growth in them that he sees. Below, Mr. Armour shares how he designs his lessons with interesting elements that engage his students, how he passes along his passion for his music, and his tips for other teachers.
Who or what inspired you to become a teacher?
I had amazing teachers who made their classrooms places where I enjoyed learning, and they were passionate about the subjects they taught. I wanted to be able to instill a similar love and passion for music in my students.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I enjoy watching students grow as musicians in my classroom whether it be through singing or playing instruments. The growth I see in my students encourages me to keep pushing them to the next level. It’s amazing to see students’ passion for music develop.
What advice do you have for fellow educators?
Keep the classroom focus on the students. There will be times when other factors or obstacles get in the way, so try your best to meet the students’ needs – including educational, social and emotional.
If you could give any advice to yourself as a first-year teacher, what would it be?
No one gets everything right on the first try. Teaching is a journey and you will learn things along the way. Listen to other educators with more experience and do not be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.
What are some ways that you stay inspired as a teacher?
My students are who inspire me as a teacher. I want to instill a love and passion for music for my students, and my hope is that it encourages them to continue participating in music once they leave my classroom.
What are some of your go-to ways to encourage students to engage in the classroom?
I make an effort to get to know my students and build relationships with them. That helps me incorporate, in my planned lessons, things the students are interested in, like music, movies and video gaming. That, in turn, helps the students enjoy learning even more.
What professional relationship(s) have you found most beneficial in your teaching career?
Every school I have worked in has had an amazing team of teachers working hard to make sure students had the best learning opportunities they could. It is vital to have a strong unified team where everyone is working towards the same goal.
What is your favorite project that has received funding from SONIC Drive-In, and why?
One of my first projects helped provide new instruments for my students. I taught in a low-income area and was able to get brand-new instruments for my elementary and band students, thanks to SONIC and DonorsChoose. The students were overjoyed when they were able to play the new instruments; it helped them excel, resulting in a whole new level of confidence in their musicianship.
What tips do you have for fellow educators who want to upload a project on DonorsChoose for the first time?
It is very important to start off with smaller projects. Pay attention to when there are matching offers or if the donations double for your school or content area. If your project is smaller and there are abilities to match the donation, there is a higher chance of the project getting funded.
This story is part of an ongoing series.