For many students, the best part of school happens not during the hours of reading, writing, and math instruction, but during “specials” time. These enrichment classes, including art, music, PE, and technology, provide kids with opportunities to explore, create, and enhance their lives.  Specials also give students access to inspirational teachers.  We’ve rounded up some of the best specialists in the business to tell us what makes their time with students so meaningful.

Music

I LOVE my teaching job! I get to be surrounded by young people and music. What is super special about teaching music is witnessing troubled students find a sense of peace and calm when engaged in playing music. Music IS the universal language and it reaches everyone in a different way and I get to be a part of that each working day! – Kim from Music Teacher Resources

Music kids with instrumentsBeing a music teacher truly “rocks” for a multitude of reasons. First of all, music connects to and with EVERY subject. Students connect with math through rhythm which deals with patterns, duration/values of notes and rests (fractions), division of time (which is based on beats per minute) and syllables (number of syllables per beat). The math component of music links and hooks well into the language arts content area. Early on students quickly learn to identify and create new lyrics to known songs, learn about rhyming, syllable counting, vocabulary words, musical versions of homophones (ties), onomatopoeia (e.g. selecting and playing instruments that best demonstrate the sound words such as “croak”) and mnemonics (e.g. using and creating one to remember the letter names of the lines on the staff). Students learn science skills when studying (often with “hands on” performing) about the musical instrument families and how sound is produced (vibrations) and frequency (high and low sounds). As for history/social studies, students learn about other cultures and time periods when studying a song, composers and world music.

I frequently get to witness the growth development (musically, mentally, spiritually, etc.) of my students from year to year. It is indeed a rewarding experience to witness the development and growth of the “whole child.” No other content area can truly encapsulate this and certainly not in such a fun, creative and engaging way!:)  – Laura from Trinity Music

Teaching music is the best because it lets students shine who may not be successful in the traditional academic setting. Music making is a beautiful way for students to work together to inspire other people. It requires individual discipline as well as group cooperation to achieve an outcome that creates beauty and enjoyment! – Jennifer from Noteworthy by Jen

Art

Teaching students to make art is like teaching them a new language. For some students, making art may be something they thought they could never do. Opening up this opportunity for them, gives them a creative outlet to express things that words cannot express. The look of pride (or surprise) when they are successful is priceless! For other students, art comes naturally and may be the easiest way for them to express themselves. Art might be the highlight of their week and the place they feel most comfortable. I also love when I hear students express that there is no right or wrong way to make art and that everybody’s Art kidopinion matters. – Stacey from Expressive Monkey

I am retired now, but I was fortunate to teach art to Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders the last two years of my teaching career. I loved watching them create and listening to their conversations during their creating process. One of the most valuable things I took away from those days was the way some children seemed to have a natural *eye* for design, even as young as Kindergarten. I loved being able to engage those visual learners, and to help kids who had a hard time taking risks and getting out of their own boxes. But the best thing of all was discovering that some kids who were known to have serious behavior issues in their regular classrooms were some of the most creative and the most engaged during their art time. – Renee from Renee Goularte Share2Learn

I get to watch kids play, use their imagination, and be creative! I love watching them get excited when they experiment with materials, or see how proud they are of themselves when they cement a work of art. The BEST thing, though, is I get to see kids create art and I truly enjoy the unique things they create! – Kathleen from Ms Artastic

Technolo5th gradergy

Teaching technology is the BEST because I get to work with a wide range of students AND teachers in many different schools. There is always something new and exciting in my field so I am constantly learning each and every day! I have seen struggling learners and students who have difficulty communicating finally “have a voice” and be successful thanks to assistive technology. – Julie from The Techie Teacher

Technology teachers get to see students excited to learn new things when they come to class. We bring our students from technology consumers to actually learning and creating with digital tools. The light bulb moments are wonderful. – Brittany from Brittany Washburn

Due to mandates in art and technology, I combine both art and technology into a one-of-a-kind Media Arts (Digital Art) program. Students learn how to use technology through digital art programs. Students also learn how to create their own web pages, learn how to design Prezi Presentations, create animations, and even learn how to code….all 21st Century skills. – Adam from Mr Technology

PE

I love being able to teach something I am passionate about while helping students realize the power that health and fitness can have throughout their entire lives. I also truly enjoy impacting the entirePE kids school through fun, meaningful, and engaging Physical Education activities and programs. “If you find something you love to do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”- Adam from Mr. Clark’s Physical Education Store

In my opinion, teaching K-5 physical education provides the best avenue to teach fitness-, social-, and life-skills in a fun, engaging way. – JD from PE2theMax

I have been blessed with the opportunity to teach students about the importance of embracing a holistic approach to their health. I am able to teach students how beneficial physical activity is not only for their body, but also for their mental health. I love being able to integrate technology into my PE classes, especially with next level innovative technologies like Augmented Reality. It is so exciting to be able to teach my students computer technology skills in one class, and then truly integrate that technology into a subject as different from Tech as PE! – Haley from Trending Technology in TN

Final Thoughts

Specialists do much more than teach art, music, PE, and tech.  They connect with kids in ways that touch their spirits and inspire greatness.  Thank you, specialists, for all you do!

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Why Specialists ROCK!

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