Catching up with ETM Alum, Marta Siemieniaka
As we started the 2023-2024 school year, we connected with Marta Siemieniaka, who after her first year teaching with ETM, was hired by the NYC Department of Education! Marta talks to us about how she got involved with the organization, her motivations for becoming a music teacher, and some of her exciting plans for the school year.
Tell us your story. How did you get involved with ETM?
My name is Marta Siemieniaka and I am originally from Boston, Massachusetts. I studied music education at Berklee College of Music for my undergraduate degree and at Boston University for my master’s degree. After a few years of teaching in the greater Boston area, I decided to move to New York City in 2022 to further my teaching and performing experience. As I settled into the city and worked to obtain my New York State teaching certification, ETM served as a great opportunity for me to continue build my teaching skills and grow professionally. I worked for ETM as an elementary general music and band teacher during the 2022-2023 school year, primarily teaching at PS 369 in the South Bronx.
What is your current position and what do you love most about teaching music?
I was hired by the NYC DOE over the summer of 2023 and am currently teaching elementary music at PS 195 in the Bronx. What I love most about teaching music is seeing the joy that it brings to children and providing them with a way to explore their creativity and self-expression. I enjoy collaborating with my students to create music together and watching their personalities shine through in their work. I also love being able to give students the tools to find their own artistic voices and watching them grow both as musicians and as people.
What skills or experiences did you gain at ETM that you found most useful and helpful in your career as a music educator?
The feedback that I received on my teaching helped me grow immensely as an educator during my time at ETM. My instructional supervisor worked with me to ensure that I was using the best practices and approaches with my students, from the pacing of the lessons to the specific language used to teach the material. I continue to implement this feedback in my new position and always keep an open mind to new feedback in order to further my growth.
What would you share with folks perhaps interested in applying to ETM?
If you choose to work with ETM, make sure to take full advantage of the support and resources that you have access to. I appreciated the numerous materials, unit plans, and pieces that I was able to access throughout my teaching. Your instructional supervisor is also an invaluable resource who would be more than happy to assist you in your teaching journey.
What are your plans for the music program at your school this school year and beyond?
This year, I am starting an after-school ukulele club and plan to turn this into an ensemble that performs at a variety of school and community events. My long-term goal at my school is to develop a strong band program that is able to rehearse and perform regularly. Since I come from a band background, it is important to me to be able to have this represented in some aspect of my teaching. Given PS 195’s large student body and commitment to the arts, I feel that this would be a perfect environment for cultivating a band program.
Central to our model is establishing career pathways in the field of music education. Our aim is for ETM Teachers to be hired by the NYC Department of Education – and they are! Click below for more inspiring ETM stories and learn about our truly unique model of music education.