Knoxville elementary school teacher makes a difference through music

Positively Tennessee

A Knoxville elementary school music teacher takes her lesson plan to a whole new level. It’s not just about teaching kids to sing. They’re actually singing their homework, and it’s making a difference.

The fourth and fifth graders at Pond Gap Elementary School in Ronda Mostella’s after school class are singing their way through multiples of nine, learning math along with music.

There are smiles all around. The kids take even take turns doing solos.

“Well, I didn’t really know how to count my nines, but singing counting my nines, that’s really going to come in handy,” fifth grader Bettie Trent said/

Mostella has been bringing her energy and enthusiasm to Pond Gap for nine years now, through the school’s partnership with the University of Tennessee. During each after school session she teaches, she applies music to just about any subject, but there’s a big life lesson here. Just ask the students.

“It’s like when I get mad, sometimes I can come in here and sing it out and then I come out happy,” fourth grader Alexis Goetz said.

“Singing kinda helps me let my feelings out,” fifth grader DeJay Merchant said.

“I think in some small way that I am helping them to see or instilling in them that they can become more than they thought possible and you know, I believe I am doing that through the medium of music,” said Mostella.

“She is motivating them to be better than they are today. She’s motivating them to continuously strive to be a better and better human being,” said Principal Shelly McGill.

“She’s a wonderful teacher and she’s really nice,” said fifth grader Diamond Smith.

Mostella also helps the kids put on a play every year. This year they’re performing Cinderella.

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