CHOWAN, N.C. (WAVY) — Chris Dockey is a second-generation music teacher. His dad taught him to love the art of music.
Now, Dockey is setting the tone for students and staff at Chowan Middle School in North Carolina.
Every morning, students get a musical greeting in the hallway from Dockey instead of a school bell.
“It gets their blood moving, it gets their ears open, it’s nice to have as you enter in the building,” he said.
CMS Principal Dr. Michelle White came up with the idea to create a positive environment for students entering the building.
White told 10 On Your Side some students have to travel 30 to 45 minutes to the only middle school in rural Chowan County.
Dockey’s chorus class is the place to be. He picks songs that are relatable and inspiring for his students like “Believer” and “Brave.”
“I think a calm cool open-door policy in the classroom creates trust between you and your students,” he said.
His job was made difficult in his first couple of months at CMS because of the pandemic. So, he arranged two virtual concerts. Students wore masks and set up outside.
“We made it work,” he said.
He also works after school for free to teach students how to play the guitar.
White said so many kids wanted to learn to play, Dockey fundraised to get more than 10 guitars for the club.
“We can give them the picture frame to paint inside of. It’s up to them to paint whatever picture they want with whatever colors. Being part of that is super special. That’s why I think teachers, we have the best job in the world,” Dockey said.