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Amanda Gainey NGES

2016-17 Teacher of the Year
Amanda Gainey

Subject and Grade Level: Music, K-5
Years of Experience: 6

Excerpt from Teacher of the Year application

To me, teaching is important because:

Teaching is important because children are important, and an investment in our community’s children is an investment in the future of our world. In teaching, there is amazing potential for discovery, growth, relationship-building, and intellectual and creative stimulation each and every day. Teaching is a powerful tool that, in a world full of conflict and misunderstanding, can be a vehicle for enlightenment, communication, connection, and compassion. I see this daily through teaching music. My students are introduced to new concepts, cultures, and people through their participation in music. Though most of my students may never travel to Nigeria, knowing and enjoying a dance and music from that country gives them a more personal connection with human beings who live a world away from them. With the ability to perform and read music, strangers can create beautiful sounds and moments together. Every year when I look over my new choir roster, I find students that I am surprised signed up to join the group, and every year, I am blown away by the ways these students grow and blend and become a cohesive and beautiful work of art that will never again exist in this same way. Music and education help children find what makes their hearts sing and helps them find where they belong in this expansive and incredible world. What could be more important than that?