BROOKDALE, N.S. – Nancy Tucker was in Grade 5 when she decided she wanted to teach music.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “Music has always been a part of my life, singing in choirs and things like that.”
That love for music has taken her on a 40-year career of teaching, the last 22 of which have been in Cumberland County. Now the music teacher at Cumberland North Academy, Tucker was given a lifetime achievement award by the Nova Scotia Music Educators Association (NSMEA) last fall.
Tucker said she felt very honoured by the presentation, which took place at the NSMEA annual conference at Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour.
Having grown up in Digby, Tucker studied music at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., graduating in 1976. It was at Mount Allison where she met her future husband, Gary. The couple were married after she finished her first year of teaching in Winnipeg.
Her career would then take her to London, Ont. for three years, then England for three years, Dalhousie, N.B. for one year, and then back to London, Ont. for 10 years before moving back to Sackville in 1994.
“Gary was teaching at the University of Western Ontario for awhile, and then a 10-year position came up at Mount Allison, so we ended up back where we met, which is kind of cool,” said Tucker, who marveled at how the years have flown by.
Prior to the opening of Cumberland North Academy, she taught in a circuit between the area’s three previous elementary schools in Brookdale, Warren and Nappan.
Tucker has also served on the executive of the NSMEA, which represents 200 music teachers in the province, and is a past president. She enjoyed the gathering in October, where she received her award from executive members Keli Brewer and Donalda Westcott.
“Conference day is always nice because most of us work in a little bit of isolation at our schools, if we’re the only music teacher,” she said. “So we have a very noisy coffee hour, but three workshops during the day, and they are always good.”
She teaches Grades Primary to Six at Cumberland North, and directs the school’s Christmas concerts and annual spring musical, featuring the school’s 75-member choir. Rehearsals for this year’s production, titled Thwacked!, are already underway.
“I enjoy those,” said Tucker. “Working with the choir is the real fun part, because it’s all the kids that choose to be there.”
It is that contact with the students that she said she will miss when she retires in 2019. Seeing the students develop from Grade Primary right through to Grade Six has been a pleasure for her.
“I really enjoy my time with them,” she said. “I won’t miss writing report cards, though. That’s my least favourite part.”
With another full school year to teach after this one, she said it’s too soon to make any retirement plans.
“I’m too busy with my job to even think about it,” said Tucker. “Maybe I’ll sing in a choir again, instead of conducting one.”