Benita Eldridge was born and raised in Elmira, NY, and she has been teaching music there for 34 years. What’s the secret to her longevity? A supportive administration, commitment to her job and community, a firm hand guiding her class, and an overarching love for her students.

Listen:


Highlight to Tweet: “I don’t care if you don’t sing well. I do care if you work.” – Benita Eldridge

Show Notes:

  • Born, raised, 34 years teaching in the same town: Elmira, NY
  • Teaches 7th grade at Broadway Academy, where 34% of the students are in chorus, and 64% in a performance class (chorus, orchestra, or band)
  • You need tough love in a town with 2 prisons and a psyche center. Procedure is king in her classroom.
  • Hold them to high standards, but support them, and fight for them when needed. Maintain “a safe, loving, caring, but firm environment”
  • Relationships with students matter. They come back years later.
  • What are the keys to being a tough love teacher who has a lasting impact? Be committed in you job, to your community, to your students; overarching theme is love…you don’t have to like your students, but you have to love people. Support from administrators. Know your crap. Take risks. Listen to podcasts. Be willing to learn. Have your kids buy into that.
  • Use humor. Be willing to be the one who is silly or vulnerable, but then be serious about the work, and get it done.
  • Benita uses Sight Reading Factory!

3 Key Takeaways:

  1. Be committed in your job, to your community, and to your students
  2. Love your students. You don’t always have to like them, but there must be an overarching theme of love in your classroom.
  3. Take risks and keep learning!

Resources/links Mentioned:

concert planning contest

Bio:

34 Year Veteran Choral & General Music Teacher

Music History & Elementary Music

Elmira City School District/hometown

All County Guest Conductor

Sponsored by: Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)

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My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for THE BEST price)

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