news-category: Alumni

Gardner-Webb Alumna is Preparing for New School Year

Music Teacher LaTanyua Price, ’18, Developing Lessons That Will Teach Independent Learning

When public schools in South Carolina closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, dance teacher LaTanyua Price, a 2018 alumna of Gardner-Webb University, developed game boards with simple activities to keep her students moving. The boards were placed in packets of learning materials that students picked up from the arts magnet school. Price also made step-by-step videos so families could follow along. In addition to her teaching duties, Price served as a school leader and mentor during the time of remote learning.

This year, she will be working at a different school as an elementary music teacher. While school districts in South Carolina are finalizing their plans for the year, Price is doing what she can to get ready. “I have begun to brainstorm several avenues to teach my content in a way that would be familiar to the students, regardless of whether it is done in the classroom setting or virtual setting,” Price shared. “My goal is to build a routine with my students that will teach them an independence that can carry in any situation, while also making sure that my activities address all safety concerns for them and myself. The question must now be, how can I give them the same joy, the foundation of music and singing, and ensure safety for all?”

Price didn’t choose a teaching career; it came to her. She grew up in a family of educators, but instead of teaching, she planned to pursue music performance. “However, I still found myself teaching in some form or fashion,” she said. “I would be the one who would volunteer to work with students at a summer program, help with a pageant, organize a talent show, and be chosen as the student choreographer or conductor of the choir. No matter how hard I tried to get away from becoming a teacher, I was still operating as a teacher.”

When she made the decision to go back to school in 1998 to pursue an education degree, she was offered a job through South Carolina’s PACE (Program of Alternative Certification for Educators), which is designed to recruit and train individuals to become professionally-licensed teachers. Since then, Price has taught every grade level, but enjoys teaching elementary students the most. “I love working with them, because they are so open to trying new things,” she described. “They are carefree and rarely hold grudges about anything. They have short attention spans, but they always remember the fun that they had.”

She wanted to move into administration because being in a leadership role allowed her to serve more students. She enjoyed the master’s program at Gardner-Webb, because the professors were easily accessible and showed genuine concern for their students’ success. “The structure of the weekly Zoom sessions added another personalized touch and built a closer connection between other students in the cohort and the professor,” Price affirmed. “The peer interaction created lasting friendships, and the class and assigned activities prepared me for every aspect of the administrative position. It also helped me build my knowledge of technology. The open forum gave me an opportunity to hear about other situations and how they can be addressed. The professors shared an abundance of practical knowledge that could be immediately implemented in any position.”

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