Durham Middle School Orchestra Student Wins Essay Contest About Director Joel Schroter

Durham Middle School orchestra student Jordan Shoemaker is one of three winners of the ‘Give the Gift of Music’ essay contest sponsored by Music & Arts, a national retail music chain. The chain challenged music students ages 10-14 to write an essay answering the question, “What makes your orchestra director the best?” Jordan wrote the following essay about Joel Schroter, orchestra director at Durham:

Mr. Joel Schroter is my 6th Grade Orchestra Teacher at Durham Middle School.  This is his first year teaching at our school, but he has taught musical arts at other school before this job.  Mr. Schroter is a great addition to our school!

Mr. Schroter inspires me in many ways.  He makes learning fun.  He makes us laugh at our own mistakes and makes us
want to keep trying!  He never makes us feel badly because he understands how it feels to just start playing an instrument.  He has told us how he grew up with music and what made him choose this profession.  His smile inspires us and he always makes the students feel good about how we are playing.

Mr. Schroter is an excellent teacher.  He tells us we should never give up; he lets us know that we can do it!  While going through this journey of learning to play the instrument that we have chosen, he adds humor and fun.  He shares funny stories and always listens to our stories.  He isn’t just getting to know us as music students but he is getting to know us as people.  Sometimes we add our music to stories.  He assumes that we are going to always continue our music classes which makes us assume that we will continue.

My orchestra teacher shows his compassion and empathy while interacting with us.  He always likes to play along with us. He tells us his ears get red when he is nervous.  This makes us less nervous because we realize it is ok to be a little nervous.  He knows we will be nervous during performances but he just wants us to have fun and knows it will go really fast.  He also shares with us how he grew up and how he learned to play instruments.  We realize he is just like us and we can become like him!

Mr. Schroter takes his position very seriously.  He is very dedicated.  He spends time in the morning before school to help us and for us just to have fun playing.  He seems so “into” the music, his students and his job.  He organizes field trips, fund raisers and concerts with a smile on his face, even though he was there from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm one day!    He is always writing parents to make sure that they know what is happening with their students.

Our teacher should be recognized in many ways.  He should be recognized because of how he teaches, encourages, and cares about his students.  We have a teacher of the month and year and he should win!  He is dedicated, happy, and very
enthusiastic.  I’d like to see him get recognized for being him!

Mr. Schroter is new to Durham Middle School, just like us 6th graders.  We are all learning how to adapt to our new school.   We feel like we have been together forever already!   Mr. Schroter is  kind, nice, cool, and absolutely the BEST!

Jordan’s entry was among 180 enrants and came in second place overall. For her efforts, the Durham Middle School music program received three violins, three violas, two cellos and a bass from Strobel by Eastman Instruments. Congratulations to Jordan Shoemaker and her director, Joel Schroter.