Wyoming Education Association

Spring 2019

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/1095286

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Page 29 of 31

X Member Spotlight 27 Getting to Know John Fabela 1. Name/Preferred Name? John 2. Current role in district/ college/institution? How long have you held this position? Instrumental Music Instructor-6-12. I teach band, Jazz Band and Beginning Guitar. I've been back in Powell (I grew up here) since 2008. I've been teaching since 1987. 3. Current role in WEA? I am the Northwest Region President and the Vice-President in my local, Powell EA. 4. How did you get to where you are today/history? I was born in Worland and we moved to Powell when I was in third grade. After graduating from Powell HS, I earned a Bachelor of Music in Education from Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska. My fi rst job was teaching band in Gering, Nebraska from 1987 to 1990. In 1990, we moved to Sterling, Colorado, where I taught until 2008, when I had an opportunity to move back to Powell. I had parents and educators who supported and encouraged me in my pursuit of a career in music. I've been blessed to have worked with colleagues who care about kids and are recognized leaders in our profession. 5. Greatest joy in current position/What are we in public ed getting correct? I've had many joys in my current position, but one of the things I'm most proud of is seeing several of my former students become music educators. Having taught in both Nebraska and Colorado, I can say that Wyoming does make K-12 education a priority more than other states. We have legislators who do understand the importance of providing a quality education for every student. Advances in technology have made learning more fun than it was when I was younger. Even practicing a musical instrument is more fun when using play-along tracks or interactive software. Educators have a deeper understanding of learning styles and techniques for reaching students with special needs. 6. Greatest frustration in current position/What are we in public ed doing wrong? I've been teaching long enough to see a few education trends come and go. Some of the trends return with new labels. Too often, educators are forced to comply with whatever the current buzz word is in education. Change for the sake of change. Some current trends are not 'one size fi ts all.' For example, as a singleton teacher in my buildings, professional learning communities (PLCs) are not as eff ective for me. I relish opportunities when I get to meet with my colleagues from around my region and around the state and share successful strategies with each other. Community Colleges are not being appreciated enough in Wyoming. They are under-funded and their contributions to the life of Wyoming communities are not celebrated enough. 7. Unique skills? What do you bring to the table that allows you to be successful? Most of the opportunities I've been given in my life have been a result of my being able to play the trumpet and sing. I have traveled all over the US and Europe because of music. I've played my trumpet and sung professionally. I've been asked to play on studio recordings. My students know that I am one of them. I grew up where they are growing up. Through hard work and study, I have enjoyed a long and rewarding career in music. My hope is that my success will be an inspiration for my students to pursue whatever their passions are. 8. What advice would you give yourself in your fi rst year of teaching? I would tell myself that the more I communicate with parents, the better my life will be. Don't be afraid to make that call. At the beginning of my career, it was hard for me to reach out to parents and inform them that their child was keeping me from being as eff ective as I could be and other students from learning. I should have also made more of an eff ort to tell parents how awesome their child was and how their talent and hard work was contributing to the success of our program. 9. Was there a teacher/mentor who had a great infl uence on you? And if yes, what did you learn from them? Mr. Peyton was my fi rst band director. He always acted like every day was a gift and like he couldn't wait for us to come to his band room. He was profi cient on every instrument and was a master at connecting us with literature that challenged us and made us all better musicians. Not a day goes by that I don't ask myself, "How would Mr. Peyton do this?" My college band directors were also great infl uences on me. Duane "Bear" Johnson gave me a love for classic band literature and Tom O'Neal instilled in me a mantra for success, "Don't be satisfi ed with mediocrity" that I try to pass on to my students. If we constantly strive for excellence in home practice, rehearsals and in performance, success will be the natural result. 10. How would you like your students to remember you? I hope they remember the aesthetic experiences, the chills we all got during an exceptional performance. I hope they remember the culture of excellence that we all created together, and the powerful eff ect music had on their audiences. I want them to be proud that they learned how to play an instrument and that they were part of a successful band or guitar program and that they have learned a skill that they can use for the rest of their lives. I am just a facilitator, the music never happened without my students.

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