Munson credits music as foundation for career in teaching

  • Tags: Faculty Profile | Newsletter
Published 03/05/2018
Dawn Munson profile

Music is a big part of Dawn Munson's life, having played trumpet since she was 10 years old. In fact, music also brought her to Elgin Community College, where she participated in the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra when she was in seventh grade.

Munson, EdD, professor of education, said the experience was overwhelming, but her love of band kept her motivated. Much of her childhood and early adult life has involved performing in band-whether it was jazz, concert, orchestra or marching.

“Being in band taught me that I could be more than I ever imagined. It led me to college and to learning,” she said. “In college I was lucky enough to be in the Marching Illini, which was a wonderful experience. Because of that, I am very loyal to the University of Illinois!”

Being in band also forced Munson, who describes herself as an introvert, to step out of her comfort zone. She is energized when it comes to teaching at ECC, where she has worked since 1996. “As I cross the threshold into my classroom, I become a teacher,” she said, adding that she helps students reach their full potential as learners.

After years of playing the trumpet, Munson admits she stopped for 10 years. However, she recently picked it up and started playing again, in addition to taking music lessons at ECC. She plans to join a concert band soon.

We caught up with Munson to learn more about her life and her work at ECC. Here is what she had to say.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

I teach early childhood education courses and help students become great early childhood educators.

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?

Watching students graduate and move on to the next stage of their lives is my biggest accomplishment each semester.

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

Observe. It is a job I would not want to hold.

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

Jodie Foster.

What's on your “bucket list?”

Travel to Finland and Ireland, write a textbook, and read as many books as possible in my lifetime!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Read. Color. Play trumpet. Watch baseball (Cubs) and college basketball (Illinois).

Where was the best place you've traveled to? Or, where would you like to visit?

I really want to visit Finland and see their education system in action!

What's one fact we should know about you?

I am an introvert and need to recharge with alone time.

What's something about your job that others should know?

I have the joy of teaching students how to work with young children. I start each semester telling them that parents are handing over their most precious gift to care for each day.

That is an incredible responsibility and we need to realize how important the first five years are in a child's life. We get to make an impact each and every day!

What would be your “theme song?”

“Stand” by Rascal Flatts.

What was your first job out of school?

Child care director.

What quote best describes your philosophy?

“Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child.” - Ron Wild

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…”

I have the best job in the world! Teaching is my passion and the connection I make with my students means everything to me. I have the opportunity to impact children's lives by teaching my students to become great teachers.