Having a meaningful job, one that you are enthusiastic about performing every day, often doesn’t feel like work — it simply feels like life.
Such was the case for band and choir teacher Matt Iba, who split his time between Somers Middle School and Lakeside Elementary School this past school year.
“Music is the joy of life,” Iba said. “It should be fun.”
Iba’s first year of teaching was with School District 29, however, most of June will find him tending to the chores of moving his family back to Glendive, Mont. where he was born and raised and completed his student teaching requirements.
“We are heading back to be closer to our families, as well as for financial reasons,” Iba said. “But I learned as much from the kids as they learned from me. Everything was great and I can’t imagine working for a better district.”
Always drawn to beat and rhythm, Iba became interested in music at a young age. He was fortunate to have some influential and inspiring music teachers when he was a child. He also enjoys working with kids, so this position was the perfect combination for him.
With elementary music, many people don’t realize the other components involved, Iba explained. In addition to teaching the basics of music, teachers are also responsible for tutoring the students in instrument playing, and movement activities such as dancing, singing and choreography, where many of the actions are incorporated into songs.
Once the children attend middle school, choosing to participate in band or choir is optional. Many of the Somers kids, often 40 to 50 percent of them, choose a musical activity at some point for an elective.
Iba will be returning to the east side of the mountains with many fond memories from his brief career with the school district. The satisfaction of how well everyone worked together as a group, and seeing that joy on the kids’ faces, will be his greatest take-home experience.
“It’s a matter of the kids feeding off of my passion for music,” Iba said. “It’s what I do and why I do it.”
Iba and his wife, Leisha, and their 5 year old son, Jayden, are looking forward to returning to their old stomping grounds.
“We really enjoyed our time here in the valley and hope to be back soon,” Iba said. “I’ve enjoyed the kids and will miss them greatly.”
Iba plans on taking a year off from teaching to work for his brother-in-law, who owns a hydro-vac business in North Dakota.