2006 Music Education graduate returns for teaching artistry degree

TonyaOMalley
Tonya O'Malley, '06 with her students in Florida.

After graduating from BGSU’s Music Education program in 2006, Tonya O’Malley moved to Florida to begin her teaching career. She is currently an elementary music specialist at two schools in Hillsborough County, Florida. When she heard about the online Master of Music in Music Education Teaching Artistry program from a former BGSU professor, she was excited to get started, and shared: “Aside from the convenience of completing the program online in a timely manner, I was excited to work with some of the same outstanding and highly respected professors that I learned so much from in my undergraduate studies.” In addition to teaching at two schools, O’Malley has a five-year-old son. “A traditional graduate degree program would not fit into my current busy schedule. It is a challenge to balance my time between work and family, but the flexibility of the online teaching artistry degree made it possible for me.”

O’Malley is in her first year of the degree. Her teaching mentor is Associate Professor Elizabeth Menard, Chair of Music Education. When asked about her experiences with the mentoring aspect of the degree, O’Malley said, “I think the mentorship component is one of the most valuable pieces of the teaching artistry degree program. Dr. Menard and I work well together, and I have learned more than I ever expected through my communications with her.” Students are paired with a faculty mentor in the program, who helps him/her to create an action research experience utilizing their own classroom. The goal is to develop meaningful teaching strategies for improving musical understanding and performance for their students.

O’Malley added that the Teaching Artistry program “has already been much more rewarding then I ever expected. I am thankful that there is an opportunity like this that gives me the ability to continue my education. The courses are rigorous and valuable, the professors are top notch, and the flexibility of online courses make it all fit into my lifestyle as a music education and mom.” For more information about the Teaching Artistry program, visit bgsu.edu/TeachingArtistry.