Teacher Profile: Get To Know Ngo
April 3, 2017
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Most teachers spend an eight-hour shift on a regular school day, however David Ngo does not. Like other Fine Arts teachers, the lead band director has had days that go from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Ngo directs a program with around 200 students. He starts mid-summer and runs through a whole year of marching season, football games, concerts and competitions. As a director, Ngo not only teaches his students how to read music or play an instrument, but also how to deal with obstacles in the real world. “Interacting in a positive way with students every single day is a lot of fun. The subject matter is great, but being able to help and guide students and affect them in a positive way is probably the most important thing,” Ngo says.
After graduating from Dobie high school in Pasadena ISD, Ngo first pursued a business major at the University of Houston central campus. He took the plunge full time into music education his second year in and hasn’t looked back.
After trying to do what he thought was expected of him, Ngo eventually took the leap to what he wanted and graduated from the University of Houston in 2001 with a bachelors in music education. Now his father can’t be more proud of what he does for a living. “I mean it’s just one of those things that we had to work through together to get where I wanted to go,” Ngo said.
What inspired Ngo, and what still motivates him as an educator, was the positive impact teachers have on students. “I’ve had a lot of great teachers through my entire school carrier, from elementary all the way through college, so watching them be masters at what they do and be so respected and see how much fun they had working with students really inspired me to be part of that,” he said.
Very often Ngo sees a parallel between teaching music and teaching life lessons to his students. “When stuff is not in tune or not working together, we have to find ways to make it work, and that’s true in all aspects of life.”
The band director believes that participating in the program is like also participating in the ultimate team sport. “Everyone is a starter. There is no back up. Everyone has to be able to work together,” Ngo said. “It’s important that when the students leave here, they’re able to work cooperatively with people that they may have shared disagreements with.”
Ngo thinks that having students realize their own potential and seeing them be proud of themselves is an important lesson that he has discovered throughout the program. “You will learn as much from your students as they will learn from you,” he said.
Throughout his years of teaching, Ngo said he has learned to become a better listener, more patient, and, overall, a more supportive person toward his students. Those are useful skills when dealing with a “family” of 200 teenagers. “Whether I agree or disagree with [what my students think they need], is not the point. The point is to make sure that I’m trying to find a way to support and guide my students the way they need to go,” he said. “I wouldn’t call them parenting skills, but I kind of see it that way.”
What would Ngo tell students who are want to pursue teaching in the future? Respect for one another and self-realization of your own actions is what truly connects teachers and students. Knowing that a teacher can make a mistake just like anyone else has students recognize them as an actual human being and not just as someone with authority.”Don’t be afraid to make a mistake or admit that you made one as long as you’re all working together.”
“My biggest accomplishment’s in my opinion is watching my students succeed, watching them graduate and going on to be successful people and great human beings at whatever it is they decide to do,” Ngo said.