LE ROY, Ill., (WCIA) — Throughout October, WCIA is celebrating the people who are paving a path in the world of education — teachers.
In Le Roy, Bridgette Wells has created a classroom students want to spend every minute in. Some students consider her band room their “safe space.”
Wells has always wanted to be a teacher. She discovered a passion for music while playing her French horn growing up in Bloomington-Normal. That passion continued pouring into the music education program at Eastern Illinois University. Now, she’s teaching the next generation in McClean County.
She spends her days surrounded by notes, rhythms and a bunch of student musicians. She’s been teaching for 28 years, 26 of those in Le Roy.
Wells is the type of teacher students accidentally call mom!
“For a lot of the kids, I actually spend more time with them than their parents do,” she explained.
She covers a lot of ground across the district. Wells starts her days with choir students and ends it with band.
In between the hustle and bustle, Wells also dedicates an hour each day to the “Life Program” for students in special education classes.
“It’s just a group of kids who need to learn life skills,” Wells said. “We added music to that seven or eight years ago and it just evolved.”
It evolved into something as big as an end-of-the-year talent show!
At the end of the day, she’s teaching more than just playing an instrument. She’s pushing students to their peak potential.
“If you’ve done your job as a teacher, your students, are better than you when you’re done,” Wells said. “If you push them down and keep them below you then your group just gets worse.”
Instead, she works to lift them up and make them better. That way, the group gets better each year.
To accomplish that, Wells said they put seniors in leadership positions and create opportunities for them to be well-rounded.