DuBOIS — DuBois Area Middle School music teacher and band director Joe Sensor has been honored as October Teacher of the Month by the Allied Milk Producers.
DuBois Area School District Superintendent Wendy Benton, at last week’s board work session, showed directors a video segment highlighting the surprise presentation of the award by Allied Milk Producers and WTAJ to Sensor during his band class. Allie-Moo, a life-sized robotic or mechanical cow that can moo, talk and, yes, even be milked, also made an appearance to teach the students about dairy farming.
Sensor has been the middle school band director for the past six years, but he’s been teaching for 20 years, encouraging students to pursue their passion for music, according to the video.
“I really feel strongly and passionately about how music education can change kids’ lives,” Sensor said in the video. “I know for a lot of kids these days, life isn’t great. As much as the electronics are cool, there’s something about the personal connection of learning to play a physical musical instrument and learning to play wwith a group of people that could be really transformative for these lives.”
When the presenters asked if any students wanted to talk about how Sensor has helped them, every hand in the band room was raised.
“It makes me feel really happy,” one student said. “He’s my favorite teacher. And last year I played flute, and I really wasn’t flourishing, and I tried quitting but he helped me along the way. And he motivated me the other day that I passed my number one assignment and said, ‘Thanks for your hard work.’ And it just made me feel really special.”
“It makes me feel really proud that he’s just a great teacher,” said another student.
Sensor, who had no idea he was going to be presented with this award, couldn’t believe it.
“I think it’s really cool. I mean, I think it’s obviously a big surprise,” said Sensor.
“You can tell that just by his presence, all the kids really liked him, that’s great,” the presenters said.
Benton said the district would like to congratulate Sensor and thanked him for his hard work and dedication.
“And he’s sincerely making a difference,” said Benton. “When I saw those kids interviewed ... it’s refreshing to know that we’re having such a positive impact.”