By: guest blogger Emilia Kister, Meridian music specialist and Meridian parent
Why do I love teaching at Meridian? It all comes down to one word: community. When I first began teaching at Meridian three years ago, I was struck by the level of the students’ skills, knowledge and maturity. I would come home to share anecdotes and marvel at the creativity that I got to nurture every single day. During the first few weeks in my new classroom, I caught a fifth-grade student using the word “cacophonous” during a group discussion. On the playground, I saw children playing “fairies” and overheard a first grader say that she would rather play “animal hospital” instead. As I got to know the children better, I saw them hold hands and encourage each other during performances. I had been teaching in various settings for ten years and I’d never encountered such a kind, thoughtful, caring and capable community of children.
As a music specialist, I am privileged to teach the entire school; to see every single child every single week and I get to watch them grow from year to year. So, when it came time for us to choose a school for our daughter, I had the unique perspective of knowing exactly who my daughter would be spending her days with. I was peeking inside of her community, and we could not feel more fortunate.
The idea of community plays a big role in my teaching as well. Throughout the week, every class learns a song that we sing together at our weekly school gathering. Communal singing gives our students an opportunity to speak the same musical language, so that children on any grade level can sing together at recess, at a playdate and of course, as siblings! Our fourth and fifth grade Chorus has sung at the Wallingford Senior Center, The University Bookstore and even recorded the jingle for The Morning Show at KEXP. Finally, an event that I am most proud of is the “Live @ Meridian” concert series. Twice a year, I invite world-class musicians to perform exclusively for our parents and students. The music program is woven throughout the fabric of our school.
For the past three years, I have had two views into the Meridian community. As an educator, my community of fellow teachers and administrators is supportive and passionate about the art of teaching. We are personable and attentive to each child. As a parent, my community is caring and generous. Every single one of us is focused on cultivating the best care and education for our children. Though I wear two hats, they are unified by common goals. I can say with great confidence that I love teaching at Meridian because of the children, the teachers and the parents that belong to this community.
Photo credit: Monica Frisell