As our academic year progresses, we welcome many new staff members. The Woodstocker caught up with some of them to chronicle the first chapter of their adventures.
Accompanied by his wife Leandra, Cameron joins as a Woodwind specialist in the Music Department. He comes from Concord Community School in Elkhart, Indiana, USA, where he was a Woodwind Teacher and Assistant Band Director. With over 10 years of experience teaching band/woodwinds to American and multicultural students of varied ages, he has regularly instructed, co-taught, led rehearsals, and conducted student musician performances for concert band, jazz band, marching band, and spring musicals. Cameron holds a B.S. in Music Education from Indiana Wesleyan University, USA.
Where are you from?
So, I grew up in Indiana, America and that’s where I have been teaching for the last ten years and now we’re here!
What subjects are you teaching and/or what subjects have you taught and how long have you been teaching?
Band, just band for the last 11 years. It’s always been music.
Any particular instruments you play?
So I am best at woodwind instruments so saxophone is my thing, I grew up playing saxophone from 6th grade and I now teach Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute etc. But now the other band teacher is not here yet so I’m also teaching Trumpet, the brass instruments and percussion as well.
What is different about Woodstock from the last school you were in?
Oh, a lot. Everything. Well, the campus for one, is totally different. I am used to teaching only inside, um, with no monkeys and with a much less diverse student population. So the student population I had been working with for the last decade has been, I would say, 50% caucasian American and about 40% from Latin America and 10% a mix of African American and Asian. So, here it’s been interesting to get to know people from around the world. It’s totally different and great and I think that’s why we came right, to do something different like this. It’s also different because everybody has their own rules. You know, you move here and you learn what you can and can’t do or say. And what your schedule is like, it’s all completely different. I was super super super busy back in the states, for 10 years, I would work nights and weekends all the time with the marching band. And the schedule here has been nice because the band is just now starting out again and so I feel like I get time to just pull back and figure things out, which is nice.
So you mentioned you were from Indiana, I’m sure the culture is very different here. How are you getting accustomed to the culture here?
It’s a lot of getting used to here, It’s a lot of getting used to boarding school, for instance, it is very different. Walking to school every day for like 20 minutes has been something to get used to physically, quite the challenge actually. Honestly everything, but the people have been awesome.
What are your goals for this year?
Okay, so I want to leave everything better than I found it. And so the band is like ripe for growth because we haven’t had one in two years, Leaving it larger and better than nothing, I think is going to be attainable because of that very reason, So my goal this year is to, let kids experience something fun again, to get involved with something they enjoy and to let those numbers grow. Like I don’t want this to be something that struggles. My goal is for it to be enjoyable and productive, so people stick around and we get more and more friends to join the band.
Personally, my wife and I came here because we wanted renewal. And for the last few years, I have been really dragging because I’ve been so busy, at my last school, working all the time. It got to a point where we needed renewal with our friends, we needed it in our jobs, we needed renewal in our geography, something different to look at, and so we came here to kind of just find a new life.
What are some fun facts about yourself?
Okay right, so I write and record my own music, so it’s on like iTunes, Amazon and Spotify and stuff. Another thing is, that I love to travel. And I think you would have to unless your parents made you come here. I feel like you have to have that open-mindedness as well and yeah that’s a fun fact about me, I love to travel.
What is one thing you like about Mussoorie?
Hmm, I think it’s been really nice, stopping in at some of the cafes. So Landour bakehouse is like a 5-minute walk, maybe, from my place. Yeah, it’s really nice. So that and Char Dukan, Savoy cafe up at Lal Tibba, Tavern, Lotte’s etc. We’ve been trying all the places so that’s been really fun like finding cosy spots.
What is one thing you have noticed about Woodstock students?
They are very, I would say, the ones that I have encountered are very kind. They’re very respectful, and also very diverse. I think those three have been the biggest things. And like people know how to speak, like right now you’re making eye contact, very kind like people know how to communicate well and that’s not what I’ve experienced in the states just with
normal students. I think having those communication skills is something that Woodstock students seem to do pretty well like they know how to speak to adults.
What is your personal teaching philosophy?
They asked me in the interview what I would hope to get done as the band is starting again and I said the first thing is to make people feel comfortable and to build that rapport with students. I want people to feel like they know me and that we know each other and then it’s a comfortable environment and they’re having fun. Fun means a lot of different things to different people I think, to some people, it means having no rules but not that kind of fun, it’s like being good at something, enjoying what you’re doing and trusting the process and the people around you. I think my philosophy is positive and efficient and it’s a long game. We’re not just there to learn a song or to play the drums or whatever, We’re here to build relationships and to have an experience together.
Rachel is a staff reporter
Edited by Kyra