Whether she’s directing a school play, directing one of her schools’ choirs, or assisting with the band, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Middle and High School teacher Amanda Broaddus puts great value in being able to get to know her students over her seven years with them.
Broaddus can relate to her students. Before spending the first 13 years of her teaching career in GCMS schools, the Gibson City native was a student at the schools. Combining her love of music with teaching in her hometown was a natural fit.
I find my work important because … growing up in today’s world is hard! Students need adults who can help them navigate the challenges of life and who will be there for them. Since I teach in a small district, I am able to teach the students who choose to take my classes/activities for up to seven years. That allows me to really get to know them, and I hope that my being a consistent presence in their lives is helpful to them.
I became a teacher because … my grandmother and great-aunt, both of whom I looked up to very much, were both teachers. I always loved school, and I loved music, so it seemed like the natural next step for me.
My favorite/most unique lesson that I teach is … My favorite type of lesson is when I am first introducing a new piece to the choir, and it instantly clicks. When they are excited about it and able to sight read some of it really quickly, it just builds anticipation for learning the rest of the piece and preparing it for performance.
My most fulfilling moments on the job are when … Concluding a successful concert or musical is incredibly fulfilling. When all that hard work goes into something as big as a musical, and it goes well, and the students are proud of themselves, it’s a feeling like no other. I also feel very fulfilled and special when I receive notes and/or messages from current and former students.
I keep students engaged by … making sure they know that I care about them. If a student doesn’t think you care about them, I think it’s pretty hard for them to learn from you, so that’s always my number one goal.
Something else I’m passionate about is … musical theater. I have been fortunate to be able to continue performing in community theater shows every once in a while as an adult, and it’s so much fun. I think it helps me to be a better director for the high school shows as well, because it reminds me of what it’s like to be on the other side of the director’s chair.
My favorite teacher and subject to study in school was … That’s very difficult, because I have truly had so many amazing teachers in my life. But, if I must choose, I would say my favorite was probably Mrs. Ricks at GCMS Middle School (and who I still teach with today!). I had her three times a day when I was in sixth grade, and I always remember her being extremely caring, patient and fair — and she really helped go the extra mile to nurture my love of writing. My favorite subject (besides music) was English/literature, because I love to read and write.
If I weren’t a teacher, I would be … probably a therapist, or a podcaster/newscaster who gets to interview people for a living. I love talking and listening to new people and hearing their stories, so anything that would allow me to do that while also helping people would be right up my alley.