December Teacher of the Month: Jacqui Meunier

Jacqui Meunier.

Q: Where did you attend college?

A: Iowa State University.

Q: How long have you been teaching?

A: 27 ½ years total.

Q: What classes do you teach?

A: Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble. I direct pep band, show choir band, and co-direct marching band.

Q: What made you want to become a teacher?

A: My high school band director was one of the two most influential people in my life. I wanted to do what he did but most of all I wanted to experience creating the same relationships with kids that he did with us. To this day we’re still very, very close.

Q: What’s your favorite part of teaching instrumental music? 

A: The first thing that’s most important to me is the relationship with my students that leads me to be able to help them learn and achieve their full potential. Not only in music but most of all in life in general. Then watching them grow in that process.

Q: How is teaching music different from the core subjects?

A: I wholeheartedly and fully believe that music teaches the full person and teaches vital life skills that are necessary for success in anything that a student or child chooses to do. I don’t necessarily see math or social studies going after the full person in teaching life skills. Plus I get to spend four years getting to know my students and their families and that allows me to get to know them well enough to create a meaningful and trusting relationship. Math teachers only get to see their students for maybe a year or a semester which makes it hard to foster relationships when you have them for such a short time. 

Q: What makes you want to come to work everyday?

A: Students. 

Q: If there was something you could change about your teaching career… what would it be?

A: COVID would have never existed. Though now that I say that, I am able to see the things that have come out of that that have been positive. But it has had a pretty intense effect on students and teachers and how they think about work and being disciplined. 

Q: How would you describe the relationship you share with your students?

A: Trustworthy, caring, high expectations, passionate about their success, along with the many different roles I play for my students: counselor, teacher, mother, friend, and therapist.

Q: What is your favorite piece of music that you’ve worked on with students at Southeast Polk?

A: There are so many things that can make it a favorite such as the response of the group and where it was performed. I would say anytime I have a group that understands what’s awesome about the First Suite in E Flat by Gustav Holst, is one I enjoy.