Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Andria Chase

March 26, 2013

This is the 24th in a series of blog posts telling arts teacher’s stories. The first 19 were told last year by the phase I Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders. The  series continues with the stories from the phase II teacher leaders. These posts contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from other.

IMG_2645This weeks post highlights Andria Chase! She teaches in RSU 64, the towns of Bradford, Corinth, Hudson, Kenduskeag, and Stetson. This is her third year in the district where she currently teaches grades 4 and 5 general music, grade 5 band, grade 5 strings, grade 6 band, grade 7/8 band, and high school band. Andria previously taught at the Orland Consolidated School for three years where she taught K-8 General music, and grades 4-8 band and strings.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

Doing a job that I love every single day. Having the opportunity to better myself as an educator and musician.  Seeing student growth and seeing the students recognize their own growth.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. TIME

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

I have found that assessment is helpful is understanding what the students know. Assessments are also helpful in determining where you want the students to go. They also help students see where they are and help them achieve their goals.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

The initiative has helped in getting to know other arts teachers throughout the state. I am really enjoying the opportunity to collaborate and share stories and ideas with fellow teachers as well. It also has allowed me to assess myself and what I am doing in my classroom.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud to be able to work everyday in a job that is both rewarding and fun; having the opportunity to make a students day better and being a positive influence in their life is a wonderful feeling.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

The schedules this year have made it very challenging for me to do the best that I possibly can to educate students. The lack of support from fellow teachers and knowing that the arts is for the most part left on the back burner is very frustrating.  Knowing how all of these factors impact my program, makes me work that much harder.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I am currently working on building my band programs, especially at the high school level. In order to do this, I’ve had to make my elementary and middle school programs stronger. My biggest accomplishment so far is keeping the retention rate low. When I first started working in RSU 64 I had 35 students in the 5th grade band. They are now 7th graders and I currently have 29 students. Only losing 6 students in two years is a huge thing and knowing that those 29 students will be at the high school level in a year and a half is very exciting!

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers? 

Take one day at a time and breathe!! Always find time for yourself. As arts educators we are stretched very thin and need to manage our time wisely. I try to find sometime during the week, even if it is just once, to do something for myself. Whether it be practice my cello or read, just to do something else keeps me grounded.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

  • Pay off my school loans
  • Buy a house or a bigger apartment for my four cats
  • Make sure my parent’s and my brother’s finances were taken care of
  • Purchase a more environmentally friendly car
  • Start multiple strings programs throughout the state!!

Thank you so much for sharing your story Andria!

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