First-Year Teacher Builds Music Program from Scratch and Succeeds (STEAM Education Part II)

First-Year Teacher Builds Music Program from Scratch and Succeeds (STEAM Education Part II)

Picture this: You finally finish your student teaching and land your dream job as a music teacher. One catch: the school isn’t even built yet and you have no musical instruments let alone furniture. One first-year teacher from Gateway Science Academy South in St. Louis didn’t let that discourage her, and she got to build her own music program from the ground up, literally.

My name is Megan Horch. I decided I wanted to become a music teacher when I joined beginning band in 7th grade. As soon as I started band I began collecting music that we played and I started a binder full of songs that my future bands would play.  As I went through middle and high school that binder was filled with more and more music. During that time I helped tutor students in younger grades on their instruments. I took on leadership roles and did everything I could to learn to become a band director. When I reached college and began to observe and teach I knew teaching music was what I was meant to do.

I graduated from Missouri Baptist University with a bachelor’s in Music Education (K-12 Instrumental). After graduating I started applying for several positions.  I saw the position open at Gateway Science Academy South and decided to apply. I went through the interview process and was hired as the K-5 music teacher. I had my K-12 degree. My student teaching and observations were all done with bands. so I immediately started asking mentors for help and preparing quickly to jump head first into a K-5 program.

When I began to teach at GSA South, I faced many challenges.  When I was hired, our building was still under construction.  musicchartThere were no instruments, no music, no furniture, and not much of anything.  It was not long before school started that we had furniture.  My classroom was completely bare. I had my family and friends come help put my classroom furniture together and to help me get things situated.  My room was together in time for the very first open house.  At the time this seemed stressful, but upon reflecting I am so grateful that I was able to help open and start this new school.

Opening a new school and building a music program was a difficult journey, but it has been a success!  In our music program, we have 8 concerts a year. There are two per grade level and I combine certain grades.  We have a winter concert and a spring concert for each grade in K-5. I challenge my students to sing a variety of music at each concert. Since the opening of our school I have directed two plays.  My students recently performed “The Girl with the Golden Locks.” After school I have hosted music-related clubs such as GSA South Special Choir and GSAS Ringers (hand bells).Girl with the Golden Locks My kindergarten students also sing at their kindergarten graduation at the end of the year. This year we even had our very first Music Spirit Week to celebrate music advocacy. The administrators, parents, and students have all succeeded in helping to make our music program a success.

Ms.HorchThe resourceful Megan Horch is in her second year teaching music to kindergarten through fifth graders at Gateway Science Academy South in St. Louis, Missouri. She lives in Barnhart, Missouri, where in her free time she enjoys crocheting baby blankets, baking and decorating wedding cakes, drawing and painting, and spending time with her husband and three children. 

Gateway Science Academies are managed by Concept Schools, a 501(c)3 non-profit charter school management organization with 30 charter schools in 7 Midwest states.



I will be teaching all music for a small Christian school that has had sketchy parental volunteers in the past. I have taught first grade up to this point, but have a strong music background as I was a music major (flute and voice) in college before switching to elementary ed. I’m looking for all the help I can find to energize and make our school’s music program successful!

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