Here are his responses to SBO:
Name: Phil Perez
School: Manzano High School
City/State: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Total Years Teaching: 4
Number of Students in Instrumental/Music Program: 135
What is your proudest moment as an educator?
My proudest moment of every year is graduation. Seeing my students walk up to get their diploma after four years of hard work is very special. When I reflect on the first time I met them and the journey they have taken since then makes me very proud. I know that the path to graduation is not always easy—there are many obstacles and distractions along the way. That one day every year when I see my students dressed in a cap and gown, ready to take on the next chapter of their life, always makes me smile. It is tough to see them go, but I know they have great things waiting for them in the future.
How do you hope to make a difference in your student’s lives?
I hope to make a positive impact on students’ lives by making them not only better musicians, but better people. Our motto is “Be better than the band you were yesterday,” which means that they work toward being the best version of themselves, not better than other people or other bands. It teaches them to strive for themselves and not for a score or a placement.
What’s the most important lesson that you try to teach your students?
The most important lesson I have for my students is to be good people. I strive to have my students be the most caring, understanding and respectable people that they can be. I know that all of my students will not grow up to be world class musicians or music teachers. However, they will all grow up and be members of society and I want them to be a part of making the world a good place. When my students leave high school, I hope they remember that our band is a family that they will always have. When my students stay in touch with each other and myself after they have graduated, it shows me that those bonds they have created are unbreakable, and that makes me very happy.