Trading a Stethoscope for a Baton

 Roma ISD Band Class

After trading his stethoscope for a baton, Roma ISD’s Band Director Corey Graves converts his passion for music into high-energy lessons for Roma Middle School students. Although Graves holds his students to a high standard of strict accountability, you can still find the band hall filled with laughter, groans, and the joyful sounds of students toiling away on a variety of instruments.

“I try to bring high energy all the time,” explains Graves, who has been with the Roma ISD Band Program for eight years. “I would say it is almost like edu-tainment. We live in this instant environment and you have to keep their attention.”

Graves didn’t set out to be a teacher or a band director; he says his original life plan was to be a doctor because his mother worked at a hospital and he was there all the time. But then in high school, he attended band class and found a passion for music. Even after being admitted to the Joint Admissions Medical Program in college, he was conflicted about his career choices. Graves believes that teachers make every other profession possible and that is what he wanted to do with his life.

“What motivates me is keeping in mind what kind of teacher I would want standing in front of me every day and remembering all the awesome teachers I had ,” says Graves. “It comes down to paying it forward. A real catalyst to making this job work is putting yourself in the kids’ shoes and asking what would keep me here, engaged and learning.”

Graves believes that setting and holding students to high standards is about showing the kids that you care about them and are willing to push them to be better than what they are doing. The students’ hard work is paying off with trips to the Midwest International Bank and Orchestra in Chicago and performing at Carnegie Hall in New York. “If they see that investment, they are going to work harder for you,” he says.  #IAmTXEd  Roma ISD