Nov. 13, 2013
By Nicole Martin
Christopher Erickson is a teacher by day, amateur musician by night. His love for music makes him believe that music is not only a big part of English language but also a big part of a student’s identity and personality. Recently the AAPS News met up with Erickson and discussed his focus on incorporating music into his lessons, his expectations for students and his favorite moments in the classroom.
“Essentially music is another form of text, just like a poem or a movie,” Erickson said. Erickson is a Roberto Clemente language arts teacher who tries to incorporate music into many of his lessons, with hopes of encouraging his students to express themselves openly and freely. The same way he does when he’s writing and composing music for fun. “There are different forms of diversity here and that’s something you don’t find in a lot of areas,” he said. “Not just in terms of racial and ethnic diversity but things like socioeconomic status, gender identity and expression, and even language. That’s something that I really value about this district and hope my students do too.”
For the past ten years Erickson has been committed to helping his students achieve success in reading and writing. But what many don’t know about him is that teaching was not his first career choice. In college he started off as an art student until he later decided to drop out to pursue teaching. Now the 31 year old couldn’t see himself doing anything else. “I don’t know what I would be doing if I wasn’t teaching, I would probably read all day.”
After teaching in a different school district for four years, Erickson decided he wanted a break from the classroom. Still passionate about education, Erickson decided to explore the non -profit educational world. But after working for Americorps for a year, outside of a classroom, he decided that it just wasn’t a good fit for him. “It just made me realize how much I love teaching. I missed being in the classroom,” He said. “On a day- to-day basis I’m excited to wake up and go to work, I’m excited to work with students, I am excited to design lessons, and that’s something that I didn’t experienced with Americorps.”
Erickson explains that teaching isn’t always just about the contents sometimes the life lessons students learn in school are just as important. “For me it’s really rewarding to see students take on challenges in the classroom, those moments are important because it teaches students how to challenge themselves as opposed to being mediocre. In life it’s all about taking risks and being resilient even when things don’t work out they way we planned.”
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