CCSS Teacher Ex­plains his Pas­sion for Teach­ing

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - Les­tan:

Les­tan Ce­lestin was first a stu­dent at Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive Se­condary School, then a mu­sic teacher. The young, as­pir­ing mu­si­cian was brought to our at­ten­tion by his proud co-work­ers and thank­ful stu­dents for all the work he's ac­com­plished in the past two years. His “Spot­light” show held ear­lier this year at CCSS was a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for his stu­dents to show what they've learned; he plans to of­fer them sim­i­lar show­cases.

STAR: How did you first get in to mu­sic?

Les­tan: Well, mu­sic has al­ways been an im­por­tant part of my life. My brother played the key­board at the Saint Lu­cia School of Mu­sic dur­ing the early stages in my life. I took an in­ter­est in the gui­tar at the age of six­teen. For the first two years I taught my­self to play. Then I was granted the op­por­tu­nity to be a part of the Saint Lu­cia School of Mu­sic. All in all, this is where my mu­si­cal abil­ity was har­nessed.

STAR: When did you de­cide to be­came a teacher and why?

Les­tan: Teach­ing hap­pened in stages. Firstly, teach­ing my friends the gui­tar while still learn­ing, then I was an as­sis­tant tu­tor at the SLSM, un­til I joined the pub­lic school sys­tem. I love so­cial in­ter­ac­tions and teach­ing pro­vides me with the op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­act and share my pas­sion. To me, teach­ing is not a job, it is just an­other op­por­tu­nity to have a con­ver­sa­tion and play mu­sic.

STAR: Why did you choose the Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive Se­condary School?

Les­tan: Af­ter my stint at Teach­ers' Col­lege I chose to re­turn to Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive be­cause it is my alma mater. I couldn't see my­self teach­ing any­where else.

STAR: What in­spired your re­design of the mu­sic room?

Les­tan: I be­lieve in fos­ter­ing cre­ativ­ity in my class­room, so some friends and I de­cided to cre­ate an at­mos­phere re­flec­tive of that. The wall in­cludes a mu­ral with a plethora of mu­si­cal ex­pres­sions, rep­re­sen­ta­tions and gen­res, all man­i­fested into an eye-catch­ing dis­play.

STAR: What did you want to achieve when you first started teach­ing there?

I just wanted to share my pas­sion and see it de­velop into a cul­ture at the school. I wanted to pro­vide stu­dents with the op­por­tu­nity to learn and play mu­sic, re­gard­less of their age, gen­der or back­grounds. I see my­self as a bud­ding mu­si­cian; I am thank­ful for the teach­ers who in­vested their time in my de­vel­op­ment. There­fore I made it my duty to do the same for my stu­dents.

STAR: How did you get your stu­dents in­volved?

Les­tan: I cre­ated sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to im­merse them­selves in mu­sic. I did so by hav­ing af­ter-school les­son pe­ri­ods. I also started a school choir and band, and made shows such as “Spot­light” which pro­vided stu­dents with per­for­mance op­por­tu­ni­ties.

STAR: What can you say about your stu­dents at this point?

Les­tan: The stu­dents at Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive are very ta­lented, al­though this tal­ent is some­times ini­tially hid­den. They have de­vel­oped and I am very proud to say that their mu­si­cal abil­i­ties have im­proved im­mensely since I first came. STAR: What about the mu­sic in­dus­try in Saint Lu­cia?

Les­tan: I be­lieve more op­por­tu­ni­ties should be made avail­able for mu­si­cians. We have a lot of undis­cov­ered tal­ent here, which can only be tapped if pro­grammes are cre­ated for de­vel­op­ment. STAR: What have you learned from your stu­dents?

Les­tan: They mo­ti­vate me to be bet­ter. Teach­ing not only re­in­forces the con­cept for the stu­dents, but for me as the teacher. I gain in­sight from their own cre­ativ­ity as I try my best to teach par­tic­u­lar mu­si­cal con­cepts. Each stu­dent is unique and that de­mands ap­pro­pri­ate in­struc­tion.

STAR: The best part is?

Les­tan: Teach­ing what you love is shar­ing your pas­sion, and shar­ing your pas­sion is com­plete bliss!

Les­tan Ce­lestin de­scribes his job as a mu­sic teacher as “sheer bliss!”

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