Feature: ACA’s new strings teacher

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Elliot Barnhill

The Charter Features

 

Mrs. Mersereau has been the newest strings teacher at ACA since the beginning of this year. When most people hear this they say something to effect of, ‘wait, we have a new strings teacher?’ Yes, yes we do. Her name is Anna Mersereau. She now teaches Strings 1 and Advanced Symphonic Orchestra classes.  

Mrs. Mersereau is the newlywed (within 5 months) wife of a cancer-nurse-by-day, bass-player-by-night man, who is actually the reason she is teaching at our school now instead of one in Bend.

As it happens (believe it or not), this strings teacher actually plays some strings (Who knew?)! Violin, viola, cello, bass, and a little piano. A charter reporter asked her how easy it is for her to pick up a stringed instrument she hasn’t mastered and play a song. She expressed, “About 70 percent transfers over…I know the chord and I know the riff but where is it? What’s the fingering? That’s the hard part.”

Mrs. Mersereau has taught at 11 schools in the past 9 years (teaching at 3 to 4 schools per year) but this is the first charter school she’s ever worked at.

When asked about her first term impressions Mrs Mersereau said, “There is a lot of parent involvement,” she said while commenting on the winter concert. “Many times the teacher does the planning…the setup…all of it,” but here, she said she had a great experience with parents working with her to make the concert possible.

During this process of acclimatizing to the new environment Mrs Mersereau stated she ‘had a pretty open mind,’ also saying that she had been worried about the amount of rigor applied to tests. “I am a public school advocate. I was born and raised (attending one)…we’re proving (with tests) that you guys know what you know. Now, why does that matter? Not because it goes to some number in the state, but because it proves to me that I haven’t missed someone.” Mrs. Mersereau wants to know that she isn’t teaching to the top or bottom third of the class. She explained that many alternative schools don’t stress test taking as much, but at ACA she is getting positive results as she gets to know the kids.

As it is the time for making (and/or breaking) resolutions I asked her this: if you could do anything, what would it be? What is your “Everest?” “To conduct a group of my students at Carnegie hall, that would be my Everest…(or)The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. To march a strings orchestra in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s never been done. That’s why I want to do it!”

Sources:

Mersereau, Anna. Personal Interview. Feb 16, 2017.

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