UDHS Teacher Celebrates 50 Years in the District

Barbara Benglian is an award-winning choral music teacher at Upper Darby High School. This year marks her fiftieth-year teacher in the Upper Darby School District. On Thursday, November 14th, I sat down with Mrs. Benglian to interview her about her career through the years.
Mrs. Benglian credits her music education to West Chester University, a public university located in West Chester, Pennsylvania. After college, she began her career as an elementary school music teacher at Bywood Elementary school in 1970. She stayed there for about six months until she transferred to Highland Park Elementary School. Her stay lasted for about two and a half years before again transferring. The transfer landed her at Drexel Hill Middle School, where she began teaching middle school kids about music in 1973. She remained at Drexel Hill Middle School for ten years. During her stay, she established the Girls Ensemble, which is still active to this day. Finally, she transferred to Upper Darby High School in 1983 and has remained the choral music teacher for the Chorus, Concert Choir, and Encore Singers to the present day.
As weird as it sounds, she originally never wanted to become a teacher. She had always had her heart set on the music, but never really considered the teaching aspect. However, once she started to student teach, she realized that maybe teaching wasn’t so bad after all.
She highlighted that her favorite aspect of being a teacher is “feeling like I'm a kid again, reliving my high school years.” She also loves watching her students develop physically, mentally, and musically throughout the years. Throughout the school year, she helps students make corrections in a positive way to achieve what they can be. She loves helping them become what they can be. As a teacher, she has four main desires for her students. She wants them to “never give up,” grasp who they are, not who they are like, to “take a failure as something to teach you to be better,” and to know that “the world around them is brighter than they see with their friends.” Mrs. Benglian also pointed out that her most fond memory of being a teacher was going down to New Orleans with the Encore Singers in 2009 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. The Encore Singers were able to teach music to children in schools affected by the hurricane’s wrath.
All of her years of inspiration can be summed up in response to the last question she was asked. She believes that in the Upper Darby School District, her legacy will be that she “never gave up” through the good and bad.