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This week’s feature is Julianna Gylseth. Julianna Gylseth is a music teacher at Spring Creek Elementary. She has been teaching for eighteen years. She teaches because children inspire her. Here is what Julianna wrote about her reason for teaching:

Why I Teach…

by Julianna Gylseth

Teaching is about individuals, and helping students tap into their best selves, ultimately achieving new personal heights. It’s seeing my students rise above what they have done before in their learning that keeps me coming back every day, and every year.

As the music teacher in an elementary school, I have the fortune to get to know every student in the school,and I watch them grow over the years. Each year is about going deeper, and reaching higher than the year before.

For me, teaching is about the kids.

I teach for the 2nd grader who, when in Kindergarten, ran away from all difficult situations, including singing songs in music class. Bit by bit, with a team of support backing him every step of the way, he joined class consistently, and now is one of my finest soloists and supporters in class. He stopped by my room this morning to say, ‘hi!’ (Essay continued below video.)

I teach for the autistic child who wouldn’t sing, let alone talk, or even play a song game in class for his entire first year at our school. Bit by bit, he came to trust me, trust his peers, and trust the music enough that he would sing along with our songs in 2nd and 3rd grade. In 4th grade he surprised me by joining choir, and there he was for three years. I watched him gain confidence in himself, and find a safe place in music. I teach for the student who lost her mother this past summer, and finds tears in my class as we sing a song that reminds her about the good times she shared with her mother. The music gave her words to some of the anguish that she has experienced. I wasn’t surprised when she came to me, and asked for a moment that we could meet during lunch to go over words for a song that she’s creating. She has found a place that she can freely express herself!

I teach for the 4th grader who sings more enthusiastically, and more off key, than the rest of the choir. He agreed to meet with me after school to refine his singing. Step by step, his voice has gained the skill it needs to blend, and successfully participate in the choir. He has learned to reflect on his work, and that with a little extra effort, he can polish his skill.

I teach for the 2nd grade class that caught on early to the wonderful sounds that can be created together. They caught the vision of what music can be in their lives, and how, when we add our voices in harmony, we can create something special. Now they are in 6th grade, putting on an opera that they wrote, and composed themselves! They have found their own musical creativity!

I teach for the group of students who have excelled at their musical development, and have been able to participate in National and District Honor Choirs. To hear their voices soar with hundreds of others is healing to my teacher heart! They experience musical learning in a life-changing way!

I teach because the students inspire me, and together we find inspiration to reach higher!