The arts play a very important role in our society, and in any sophisticated society. Teaching music to students is as important as teaching math and science as it enhances well-rounded students.
Hunter Goff, GES Choir & Music Teacher, has devoted 33 years to Jefferson County Schools, with 10 of those at Snow Rogers Elementary and 8 of those now at Gardendale Elementary. His passion for music and enthusiasm and patience for teaching music to his students are reasons we celebrate him as he joins our Teacher Spotlight Series.
Treye Hanner: Tell us a little about you and how you decided to become a teacher?
Hunter Goff: During my teenage years and time at Samford, I always used my music in the church. However, when I went to Florida State for my masters degree, I had professors and friends who were experienced public school teachers. Their enjoyment and love for teaching drew me in.
I am so glad teaching found me. Now, I serve as organist for Briarwood Presbyterian Church and school. I hope my talented Gardendale students enjoy our music classes as much as I have enjoyed being their teacher.
Treye Hanner: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?
Hunter Goff: I have enjoyed teaching elementary music because it includes singing, instruments, music skills, and an appreciation of the culture of other countries. I also want my students to be the ones asking questions when a music concert is over or when they see someone playing an unusual instrument at the county fair. That’s how I know I have done my job.
Treye Hanner: Are there special moments where you say to yourself, “this is why I teach?”
Hunter Goff: Years ago, I was in a serious automobile accident and was taken by ambulance to UAB. When they brought me in and laid me on the table, the first thing I heard was, “Oh no, it’s Mr. Goff!”
Suddenly, I realized I was in the hands of a former student. Even though I was just their music teacher, what goes on in the classroom truly impacts the future. I was glad to have a student nearby until my family and friends could arrive.
Treye Hanner: What challenges have you experienced while having to teach through the pandemic?
Hunter Goff: Singing behind a mask and not being able to share musical instruments for several months was tough. However, I took the time to teach all styles of music from Gregorian chant to Broadway, Blues, and Jazz.
I grieve for my nieces and our students for what they lost during this period of time and how all of our lives have changed. However, we are all just moving on down the road to what lies ahead, and we will grow from it.
Treye Hanner: What’s the one thing you would like people to know about teachers?
Hunter Goff: The real satisfaction in teaching comes when you embrace the idea that you are serving others. Finding joy in service is the key to enjoying teaching. If the focus is on yourself, you will not enjoy it.