As June approaches, and the end of this trying – to say the least – school year nears an end (for some parts of the world), I think this is the perfect time to reflect on what you achieved in the face of a tragedy of epic proportions. You should revel in how you comforted your students, kept a sense of continuity in their lives, continued to help them grow and flourish against all odds. You worked a miracle. But I also think you all need to take some time for yourselves to recharge and remember why you did it. I can think of no greater gift to yourself than to take a bit of time to read a profoundly wonderful book by Bel Kaufman that I believe every teacher should read, entitled, “Up the Down Staircase.” Is it about music? No. Is it about music education? No. But it is, however, an amazing reminder of the human element of what we teach, and the nurturing and positive impact we can each have on every student we are fortunate enough to teach: those faces that look up at us and call us “teacher.” 

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. Dr. Boonshaft is currently on the faculty of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he is Professor of Music. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.”