"It's really wonderful to see my students transition into these loving, care-giving people in addition to becoming fabulous music teachers."

As many as half of all public school teachers leave the profession within five years of the first day they walk into their own classroom. Kim Councill is determined that her future music teachers won't be among those numbers.

"My biggest goal is for my students to feel very prepared and for them to go into it with their eyes wide open," she says. As coordinator of the music education program, Councill will have her students visiting local public school music classrooms right from their first semester, freshman year. Each year, students will get more complex teaching responsibilities, leading up to student teaching as seniors.

Giving students a variety of real-world experience is as important as the amount. Over their four years at Bucknell, students will visit settings from kindergarten through senior high, rural to urban, and affluent to impoverished. "I don't have a crystal ball to tell where they will end up," Councill says. "Diverse experience is the best way for students to know where they want to be, and to discover their own unexpected passions or talents."

Councill made the switch from public school music teacher to university professor eight years ago. "As much as I love public school music education, I just was really anxious to help create other teachers who cared about public school music teaching," she says. "I think there is a lack of quality passionate educators in this country at the moment, and I was anxious to have an impact on that."

Even as a university professor, Councill hasn't left public school music teaching far behind. She runs a summer music camp for children in grades 2 through 8, volunteers to run a kindergarten music program for a local school district, and offers a one-on-one music program for special needs children in local schools. Her goal is to start a summer music camp specifically for special needs children, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to go away to camp or to have the same music experience.

"You can work with children who make your heart sing," Councill says, "and it's really wonderful to see my students transition into these loving, care-giving people in addition to becoming fabulous music teachers."

Posted October 2012

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