A Tale of Two Teachers
by Kristin Clark Taylor
Julie Pettit in her “home classroom”
Photo Credit: Julie Pettit
That’s the word Julie Pettit uses to describe all that Quaver is showering over its teachers during this COVID-19 crisis: A sense of service and servanthood.
“From the very beginning,” Pettit says, “even before COVID-19 changed the way we live and teach, I always had the sense that Quaver’s top priority was to serve its teachers. It’s more than a feeling though – it’s an action — and it’s reflected in their behavior; in what they do. I call that ‘servanthood.’”
Pettit, an elementary music specialist at Dick Scobee Elementary School in the state of Washington, says she, her teaching colleagues, and the district’s school administrators are all, “feverishly trying to figure out how to work this all out,” and respond to the crisis in a way that allows them to put their students first.
Even though this crisis, Pettit — utilizing her Quaver resources and tapping into an indomitable sense of courage and can-do spirit — keeps teaching at the top of her priority list. And the fact that she must reach over 500 students in 23 classrooms during this crisis hasn’t seemed to create even a hiccup. Even though the crisis creates brand new challenges, Pettit still knows precisely what she is doing:
“Quaver is my main platform. I rely on it to create my music assignments,” says Pettit, her voice filled with both pride and relief. She says one of the main missions of the District’s Department of Technology was to get as many Chromebooks into the homes of the students as possible, so that distance-teaching can occur – an indispensable tool to both students and teachers alike.
Pettit says she’s also created several videos: “How to log on through Clever and how to work in QuaverNotes … and then the teachers link that to their Google classrooms for the individual classes. Each classroom has their own Quaver code. And so far, it’s working just fine.”
So Pettit is proving that learning can happen in the living room or a classroom — especially if Quaver resources are being utilized in the quest. And when crisis comes, everyone pulls together – students, teachers, and companies like Quaver, to put the student first.
Getting Chromebooks to students at lightning-fast speed was another priority: “The Auburn School District has a 1-1 Chromebook ratio for every child in grades 1-12,” she explains. “When we found out we’d be shutting down, all of us kicked into high gear – the tech department, the teachers, and the district – to make sure as many kids as possible could go home with a Chromebook. Each family had to sign a form taking responsibility for the device, and once those were formed, the transfer could occur. This is collaboration at its best.”
Pettit also devised a way to get SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) into the homes of her students. “We’ve just figured out a way to push out SEL, and we’re going to start doing that this week. It’s not the normal way we’d do it, but there aren’t normal times,” she says.
“I’m going to make a K-1 account, then an account for grades 2 and 3, and another for grades 4 and 5, and we’ll pick lessons that work for all of them,” she says. “It’ll be broader than normal, but it gets us started. And it moves SEL from the classroom into the living room.”
This is how servanthood shines.
Gina Blatterman during a visit to Quaver HQ in Nashville!
Photo Credit: Gina Blatterman
Teachers in the Trenches.
Pettit and veteran music teacher Gina Blatterman, also a teacher in the Auburn School District in the state of Washington, could be described as the Dynamic Duo. As soon as their state kicked into crisis mode, Pettit and Blatterman kicked into action.
Definitely not one to be daunted by crisis or confusion, Blatterman blasted into hyper-drive and acted fast.
“In a very short amount of time – in just over 24 hours, in fact,” says the 14-year veteran who teaches at Ilalko Elementary in Washington, “Our districts dispatched over 3,000 devices to students. I can now use my Quaver resources to teach my students from home.” (Blatterman, like Pettit, credits the district, their tech team, fellow teachers and the parents themselves for a smooth transfer of these devices from school to home. “It was definitely a collaborative effort,” she says.)
Pettit and Blatterman, teachers in the trenches who are putting their students first, are both using Quaver’s customizable content to reach – and teach – their students in ways they never have before. And at a time when all else has shut down, Quaver has stepped up: Still creating. Still providing customer service. Still reaching out to make sure their teachers have everything they need.
Blatterman finds beauty in the way everyone is working together – and working with such speed:
“The folks at Quaver are producing content so fast,” she says, “that it almost feels like they’re serving our needs before we can even express them! During times like these, that’s very comforting.”
Quaver’s Record-setting Webinar Reaches Teaches Everywhere.
More than 2,000 thousand teachers participated in Quaver’s ground-breaking Webinar two weeks ago, setting a record, yes, but also setting into stone the fact that when it comes to serving its teachers, Quaver means business.
Pettit participated and shares her positive reaction: “Emily Hopkins and her team did a masterful job leading us through the Distance Teaching Webinar. She and Graham worked just as we teachers are working at right now which continues to reflect Quaver’s heart for service for music teachers.”
Especially in a crisis, Fun still needs to Come.
This much is clear: Gina Blatterman firmly believes that even in a crisis (perhaps especially in a crisis), learning can and should still be fun — and now more than ever, she wants to shower her students with a sense of comfort and familiarity.
“Fortunately, my students already loved Quaver before any of this happened,” she says with more than a little relief. “Their familiarity with the graphics and the songs and the lessons – with all of it – is allowing me to move forward with enrichment learning. Even during this crisis, I am able to teach them new things! We don’t have to start at Square One. We don’t really have to face any of those setbacks. It’s hard to express in words how valuable that is.”
Most important, she says, is that even in the midst of this challenge, her students are able to embrace learning for what it should be: fun.
“Everybody needs to at least try to have a little fun during this difficult time,” she says. “The state of Washington was one of the first hit, and we were hit hard, from the very beginning. Quaver was there for us from Day One. I can clearly see that the people are Quaver value our safety, our well-being, and the relationship they have with us, every bit as much as they value the customer-client relationship. This is more than business. This is the human side.”
Blatterman sums it up beautifully:
“How they are responding now – and how they’ve always responded, for that matter — is indicative of the incredible value that Quaver brings to music education.”
Kristin Clark Taylor is an award-winning author, journalist, and former White House communications strategist.