During National Teacher Appreciation Week this week, AAPS District News is profiling teachers who are completing their first year at Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Christie Lower was born and raised in Battle Creek, the daughter of two music teacher parents who fostered her love of music and children. She attended Lakeview Public Schools and received her bachelor’s degree in music education from Michigan State University in 2014.
Before working for AAPS this school year, Lower taught one year in the Dearborn Public Schools. She now lives in Ann Arbor and has been busy exploring all that the community has to offer. When she’s not creating and teaching music, she enjoys practicing yoga, running, ceramics, and painting.
Why did you want to work for AAPS? The Ann Arbor Public Schools are known for giving students a high quality, well-rounded education. A significant part of this education comes from Ann Arbor’s rich culture and diversity and the opportunities that these two characteristics present to the community. Working in this incredible environment helps me grow as a person and as a teacher.
When did you realize it was going to be a good year? I realized it was going to be a great year when I met my students and colleagues for the first time. I get to work with two incredibly supportive principals and an excellent teaching staff that made me feel like a member of the Logan community from the beginning. My first few days with students were very enjoyable. They were not afraid to try new activities and games, and they did so with enthusiasm.
What advice would you give to other new teachers? The juice is worth the squeeze. Teaching is an incredibly rewarding job, but it has its fair share of challenges, too. It is important to remember that each day is a fresh start full of opportunities. If we approach teaching with a positive attitude and our best effort, our students will reap the benefits.
Why is a music education important? Music is unlike any other class. In music, students are emotional, creative, and expressive beings. When singing songs or playing instruments, they create music through feeling, not just by reading what is on the page. Music also helps students work as a team to create a unified whole. The goal of my teaching music is to create well-rounded individuals who are comfortable creating music or consuming music away from me and my classroom.
What if anything will you do differently next year? Next year will present its own challenges and opportunities. As an essential areas teacher, I see most of my students for six years. I know students will continue to stretch me as a teacher just as much, if not more than I stretch them as musicians. I will continue to learn about my students’ interests inside and outside of the music classroom. I will also try new projects that give students room to be creative and expressive in their own ways. I am looking forward to facilitating composition and arrangement projects with students! I cannot wait to see what my kindergarteners will do when they are fifth graders.
_Jo Mathis, AAPS District News Editor