A Teacher’s Tears of Happiness, Healing, and Gratitude

How Quaver sets Emotion in Motion

by Kristin Clark Taylor

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A smiling Barbara Hartman poses with Quaver’s Graham Hepburn during a visit to the company’s Nashville headquarters.

A smiling Barbara Hartman poses with Quaver’s Graham Hepburn during a visit to the company’s Nashville headquarters.

It might sound contradictory, but it’s the truth: Tears are funny things.

They don’t always flow from a place of sadness. Sometimes they flow from deep canyons of love, relief, or gratitude.

No doubt you’ve felt it, too: A song you remember from childhood or the sweet, sweet sound of a strumming violin might transport you back to a certain place or ignite a special memory and before you know it – boom! – the tears have arrived, and all you can really do is let them flow.

Turns out, that “sweet, sweet sound” for music teacher Barbara Hartman is Quaver’s wildly popular SEL anthem-song, ”You-Nique,” which has taken the nation (and the world) by storm and lifted more hearts than you can count.

Hartman, a general music and choir teacher at both Parkway School and Ephrata Middle School in Ephrata, Washington, describes how “You-Nique” came to her rescue when she was searching for a meaningful way to provide her students a creative outlet as they navigate these challenging times.

Hartman, who’s been distance teaching since March, asked her students to record and sing “You-Nique” from their homes and celebrate how they themselves are special. The results were extraordinary.

“This assignment pushed us over the top with student participation. It’s the highest participation rate I’ve had all year. It was incredible,” she says with gratitude.

As it turns out, a minor technical oversight (her students forgot that their mics were open when Hartman queued up the song) is what set her emotions in motion … and theirs, too.  

“They were just singing their hearts out,” she says through tears. “Their eyes were closed, they were smiling these huge smiles, and you could tell that the song really opened up something inside them. They didn’t even know I was listening. They were throwing their little heads back and singing, ‘I’m brave! I’m strong! I’m loved! I’m smart! And I’m You-Nique!’ with every ounce of feeling they could muster.”

Listen to QuaverMusic’s “You-Nique!”

Basically,” she says, “they were validating everything that was good about themselves, and I just couldn’t keep it together. I couldn’t hold back my tears. I just had to let them flow. I was just so glad they had this outlet and this chance to remind themselves of how important they are. It was a healing moment for me, and I think for them, too. We’re all under a lot of stress.”

Hartman uses “You-Nique” as a platform for positive sharing. In a recent discussion, the students shared what makes them unique. “One student said, ’I’m bilingual!’”  Another said, “I’m a really good musician.” Still another: “I’m a good hugger.” One even said, “I speak Spanish and I have two deaf aunts, so I know sign language!”

But the sight of them singing is what really knocked her off her feet. So filled was Hartman’s heart by the spontaneous outpouring that she posted her reaction on Quaver’s popular Facebook page for teachers. Here, Hartman shows us what happy tears really look like. Take a peek:

Check out the post here!

“Thank you, Quaver.”

“With Quaver in my classroom,” Hartman says, “I don’t have to stress. I don’t have to spend time trying to figure out how I’m going to keep the kids engaged or how to make a lesson interesting. Quaver gives me room to be the excellent teacher I know that I am.”

Her message to teachers: “What we do makes a difference in the lives of our students. I know we are exhausted and overwhelmed right now. I know we are being asked to do more than most — to adapt, to push, to adapt some more, and we will, because we are teachers. This what we do for our students. And I want to say, ‘Thank you, Quaver,’ for being right there with us.”

Indeed, Quaver’s quest to uplift, to teach, to connect, to serve, and to inspire really does feel like a soothing balm during these difficult days — not just for students and teachers, but for anyone who is fortunate enough to see (and hear) the kind of extraordinary content the Quaver staff creates every, single day from their headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee; it’s a beautiful beehive of creative energy and talent.

What Quaver gives us is a sustainable gift that’s helping so many of us fly through these turbulent times … but it’s also a gift that will keep on giving long after we’ve come through this storm.

If that knowledge alone isn’t enough to make you want to cry a tear of two of gratitude, if that knowledge alone isn’t the perfect example of a company that’s creating a culture of caring, then I simply don’t know what is.

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Kristin Clark Taylor is a journalist and author.

A smiling Barbara Hartman poses with Quaver’s Graham Hepburn during a visit to the company’s Nashville headquarters.
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