Patience of a saint

I was told in an email this morning I must have the patience of a SAINT.

I’ve often thought that patience was one of my strong suits in teaching.   However, the last two Mondays I’ve been truly challenged with my patience.  I have very high expectations for myself, and high expectations for the class, but sometimes I just get frustrated at the behavior.

Yesterday one of my students dropped his violin on the ground.  He had done this many times before.  This time the scroll broke off. 

That was first.

Then the kids acted shocked, like “how could this happen?”  I grew annoyed because I have told them 1000’s of times to be careful with their instruments because THEY COULD BREAK.  Here it finally happens and I guess they just didn’t believe me.

Then I got an email that annoyed me, one of those passive aggressive type emails that won’t answer your question or help you but instead blames somebody else…

I lost all of my patience.  In one of my classes one of the girls said, “I think Miss Frey needs a nap”.  I told them they just needed to play better, that I was annoyed because they sounded so much worse than last week.  Which was at least half-true—some of them don’t bother practicing the assignments–ever.

Sometimes I think it’s okay to be mad.  I spend a lot of time trying not to overreact to things as I am prone to do, and I spend a lot of time trying to keep my emotions under control.  But when is it okay to actually be mad?  Not at the kids, but at the adults?  I always try to be nice and pleasant and smiling, because generally that works well, but there are times when that doesn’t work.  And then I feel so helpless, so small, so insignificant. 

In any case, I was in a bad mood all day yesterday.  Until the end of the day.  One of my students is leaving soon (moving) and I’ve only taught him for a few months.  I was so touched when he told me he was sad to leave, that I was the best violin teacher he’d ever had, and that he would miss me.  I thought he hated his lessons, and so that REALLY made me feel good. 

I also know the kids from yesterday will be better for me on Wednesday since I was giving them a hard time.  I certainly hope they’ve practiced a bit more, but if nothing else, not talking while I’m talking would be a huge improvement.

I don’t have the patience of a saint.  I just fake it.

3 thoughts on “Patience of a saint”

  1. Ha, I WISH all my students parents were like Amy Chua–but I guess that’s why so many people were angered by her book–because they think it’s cruel to be strict with their kids.

    Hannah–I know how you feel, lol. An adult student (who is always trying to “stall” our lesson by just talking about anything other than music) thanked me the other day for my “patience with him”, and I finally told him that I honestly don’t have a choice but to be patient with students. I’m NOT a patient person by nature, and sometimes it does come out.

    I think students who behave badly need to be yelled at (or at least know that they’re severely disappointing or frustrating us) because more often than not, it tends to yield better results and they’ll learn from it.

    I would have never dreamed of talking back or interrupting my teachers, but I also had an “Amy Chua” type mom, so there you go. In the ten years I’ve been teaching, I’ve had kids argue with me, whine and moan about not wanting to be at the lesson, refuse to take out their instruments and glare at me like I was the one who forced them to be there, and so on–I blame their parents!!

  2. I think most professional musicians had an “Amy Chua” type of mom! If people read the book, they would see it isn’t quite as portrayed in the media, and yet, that style of parenting involves a lot of time and sacrifice. We need more parents to do that rather than trying to make their children into their “best friends”.

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