Teacher Tuesday: Evy Rodriguez

Rodriguez prepares for his next class in the band room.

Courtesy of Rodriguez

Rodriguez prepares for his next class in the band room.

Samuel Kerekes, Staff Writer

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what hobbies/sports you do.

A: I grew up in Belleville which is just down the road. I went to the University of Michigan. I taught in Virginia, just south of Washington, DC for a year and I taught in Atlanta for three years just north of Atlanta and Cobb County. I also taught in Houston, Texas for three years. And then I moved back to Michigan. I have two two boys who are right now three and four. And yet we live in town. I go water skiing, summer snow skiing, winter hiking, and do outdoor stuff.”


Q: What do you teach and why?

A: I teach band most, that’s my teaching position here, and it’s been 18 years I’ve been teaching it. There’s a couple of reasons that I got into this that I still feel pretty strongly about. There’s no sort of bench, so everyone is important. Everybody plays a role, and everybody is impacted by everybody else. So it’s important for students to be in an environment where they all matter and whatever they contribute is super important and super consequential.


Q: Have you always been interested in teaching?

A: When I grew up, by the only lake in Wayne County, there was a lot of socio economic disparity there. So there’s a lot of people who live on the lake that have a ton of resources and then there are people who are in that school district that are not on the lake that don’t have as many resources. So I thought it was really cool that you know, people were coming together in that way, with different socioeconomic status. It brings together people of different backgrounds and different socioeconomic backgrounds, racial backgrounds, experiential backgrounds, and it makes them play together in this fishbowl and develop relationships because it’s really, really difficult to play the music that we’re playing to the level that we’re playing it without developing relationships. So it crosses a lot of borders, and crosses a lot of lines that aren’t usually crossed. So I knew I wanted to get into music by the time I was a sophomore in high school.


Q: What/who inspired you to become a teacher?

A: I knew I would be teaching because everybody, even if you’re a performing musician, you’re still teaching. So I knew I would be teaching, but I’ve sort of gravitated more towards doing High School specifically, and I did teach a lot of middle school. But high school is where I wanted to be.” 


Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: My wife works and has to drive across the state sometimes. So there’s a lot of times where I’m just doing the dad thing. Playing the boys a lot. When we’re doing stuff together, it’s hiking stuff, and we spend a lot of time on our boat, and a lot of time with friends.” 


Q: What is one motto you will always live by?

A: The thing that sort of runs central through my life is that my dad died when I was 16. And I had a brother that was eight and a sister that was three. So you know, I think it’s important to be mindful of what you have, and remember what things could be. My mom is still around and I’m really grateful every day, so I’m really mindful about that. I tell my kids I love them all the time. I tell my wife I love them all the time. I tell my mom I love them all the time because that’s not going to be there always. It’s important to remember that these really are the good old days. Today is the good old days. In two weeks you’re gonna think back, or in two months you’re gonna remember this, and think these are the good old days. So that’s one that’s one of the things I remind myself of.


Q: What is your favorite teaching moment?

A: There’s a lot of different ones. I mean, Carnegie Hall last year was  up there. I think back to my first year teaching, and we had just completed Festival, and our groups had gotten high ratings, and one of the staff members came up to me and said, “I can’t believe the kids accomplished this.” Nobody expected this that year for lots of different reasons. So that was pretty cool. When I was in Atlanta, I got the chance to take my kids to a lot of national competitions and see them be successful. That was cool. Seeing some of my private students get accepted into big time universities was really important.


Q: What surprised you about this year? 

A:Last year was hard because we were short, we were trying to figure out how to come back out of the pandemic. And this year we’re in this in-between. We want to give people grace. I mean, everybody wants to give people grace, but there’s also the impetus to reestablish what you know was comfortable and normal before the pandemic hit and we got shut down.