LIVE from New York, it's Brittany Harris!
By ETM Marketing and Communications Associate Jennifer Williams
For Education Through Music teacher Brittany Harris, teaching remotely has been a challenging yet rewarding experience.
Unlike most ETM music teachers, who are creating videos for their students to watch on demand, Brittany, who teaches at ETM partner school P.S./M.S. 498, was tasked with teaching live lessons every day as part of the school’s schedule when remote learning began back in March. Sharing, “Teaching remotely has been a HUGE learning experience, but what’s teaching if you aren’t challenged with something new every year?”
Teaching a live class remotely is challenging on many levels, but Brittany and her co-teacher Guilherme Andrea have overcome many obstacles to become successful in this new platform. One major challenge is that students simply can’t always join class at the designated time, because many families are sharing devices, and someone else’s need might be more urgent.. Additionally, it’s taken time for students to learn how to use the different platforms Brittany utilizes to teach live, such as Google Meets.
Classroom management can also be a challenge. Many students still have to learn the new rules of what digital citizenship looks like. Simple things like raising your hand look different, so Brittany has had to create a system where her students can engage in class and feel like their voices are being heard.
And even though there have been adjustments, making music is still an important part of the students’ day.
Bringing music into her students’ homes each week has been a joy for Brittany as she’s seen families coming together through music. “I feel so blessed to be able to witness music bringing families together. Although times are uncertain, parents get the rare opportunity to be in class with their children. Parents are learning, which motivates their child to learn. Music has always been important but I think now everyone can truly see what it does.”
Through Brittany’s original songs, such as “The Imagination Song” and “Horse Ridin,” she’s transformed her living room into an interactive space where students and families participate in live music instruction every week.
ETM Instructional Supervisor Kevin Johnson shared, ‘Brittany is a passionate and dedicated educator who is always willing to take risks to engage her students. Her students love to sing along and dance with Brittany as she plays original tunes for them. It is a pleasure to be a part of her classroom and experience the joy of live music-making each week.”
As a teacher, Brittany’s main goal is to ensure that her students–and herself–continue to grow and learn throughout the course of the school year. “I’ve seen tremendous growth in myself, my students, and their families, through all of this. I am so grateful I get to make people smile, sing, and dance, enjoying a moment of happiness through this tragic time.”