Teacher Appreciation Spotlight: Jessica Peresta

Jessica Peresta

Jessica is a music teacher and fellow momma blogger at www.thedomesticmusician.com.

What grades and/or classes do you teach?

Elementary and preschool music and piano.

How long have you been teaching?

12 years.

What other grades/subjects have you taught, if any?

[No answer]

Why teaching? What or who inspired you to be a teacher?

I have always loved working with children and have been a musician since I was 6.  So, after starting college as a piano performance major, I switched my major to music education and knew I wanted to be a music teacher.  My 1st grade teacher played piano for my class and definitely helped spark an interest in music I didn’t know was there before.  I also had amazing high school band directors and piano teachers through high school and college who inspired me so much.

Was teaching your first choice in career? If not, what else did you consider?

I wanted to be a piano performer or a counselor.  But, like I said, after realizing my love for working with children and my love for music were both so strong, teaching just made sense.

Have you thought about changing careers since becoming a teacher?

I taught in the public schools and private piano lessons.  After becoming a mom of 3 boys and moving to a different state, I knew I still wanted to teach, but had a passion for doing it a little differently.  So, I have changed the way I teach to online music education instead of in person.  My career has changed in the manner that I teach, but not in what I teach.

What was your college major and how has it helped in your teaching career?

My degree is in Music Education.  Since I have a music education degree, I fall back on things I learned not only in classes, but in my practicums and student teaching that helped shape and develop who I am as an educator.  I earned teacher of the year by using the skills I learned and by being creative with lesson plans at the low income school I was at.

What is your favorite part about being a teacher?

I get to impact so many different children’s lives who maybe wouldn’t have otherwise received a music education.  My very first teaching job out of college was at a school which hadn’t had a music program for 5 years.  So, being able to start up a new program and inspire these young minds was amazing.

What is your least favorite?

When I see a child stuck or who doesn’t understand what I am teaching.  I know it’s time to go back to the drawing board and develop a little bit of a different lesson plan.  Every child learns differently and it is my job to figure out how to reach them.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher?

While in the school setting, seeing schools that didn’t have a music program was tough for me.  One of the hardest things about being a music teacher is feeling like you always have to prove your worth or why music is so important.

What are your goals for your students?

I know every single child can succeed and find value in learning music.  I want each child to go from knowing nothing or little about music to being able to perform for others and feel successful.

What do you want your students to remember about you as a teacher?

That I care not only about teaching music but for each and every one of them as unique individuals.  I want them to remember that I see their full potential and know that they will do amazing things with their lives.

How do you spend your school breaks?

Being a momma.  We spend time together and enjoy swimming, parks, vacations, and just hanging out.

Give your best advice for someone who may be thinking about a career in teaching.

You are going to do an amazing job.  When you walk into your new classroom as a new teacher, it can be overwhelming and exciting at the same time.  Take a deep breath, have fun decorating your classroom, and remember that you are called to do this.

Any fun or favorite story you want to share?

One thing I want to share, which is more like a favorite memory, is how excited my students would get when they would grasp a concept I was teaching.  Just seeing the teamwork that went into learning and the big smiles across their faces was so amazing.


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