Friday, April 15, 2016

MarySue Harris: Rewards and Awards of a Life of Teaching

Nebraska Music Teachers Association (NMTA) has much to be proud of this year. In addition to David von Kampen’s award as MTNA 2015 Distinguished Composer of the Year, longtime NMTA teacher MarySue Harris was awarded the Distinguished Service Award. 

Although Harris was “truly in disbelief about receiving the award,” it is certainly a well-deserved recognition for not only 40+ years of teaching, but also many years of involvement in teachers associations at local and national levels. Harris spoke with LincolnCMN this week about the award and her career as a teacher. 

“It is an extremely meaningful award because it validates all of my service (musically and as a  volunteer) for many years!  Hearing them read my service record was truly an amazing realization.....that I actually HAD served my local, state and national organizations, with great joy!”

MarySue Harris MTNA 2015 Distinguished Service
In the 1990s, Harris was twice honored in Nebraska once as Teacher of the Year and later with the Service Award for outstanding service. At the national level, she served as Community Outreach and Education Chair. Harris has also established an endowment fund that “allows qualified the qualified teacher to receive money from the Fellowship to build his/her studio and help it prosper.” Certainly, in this way, Harris will continue helping the music teaching community for many years to come.

“It has been a constant goal to be the best member I could be, of all the music teachers organizations; and they have served me so well as I participated to the fullest!” Harris is a wonderful example of the reciprocity of the music teachers associations—as she gave of her time, she received fellowship and practical help as well.

Harris’ life of teaching has been a joy to her as well as others:

“Having just given a workshop on technic today for Lincoln Music Teachers, I am reminded that the interest, receptivity and thoughtful consideration given to me by the teachers attending were the best rewards I could ever hope for!  There is definitely  a reciprocal element in giving of yourself.  I am most grateful for all the interest and eagerness to learn something new that the teachers showered on me!  I had this same kind of welcome reception from my students when I was teaching!  It was always a real pleasure to teach!”

Harris’ advice for other teachers is to wish them what she has found to be true: “Give it your ALL!  And it will reward you in return!”
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