Teaching is hard.
It’s hard trying to figure out what to teach a student at that time (and what to wait on), how to encourage and help a student without overwhelming her, how to break a difficult task into small steps, and figuring out when what you are doing isn’t working and you need to go a different way…for starters.
And sometimes you feel like you are failing the student, or that they are failing you (or perhaps that again you are failing them even further by failing to inspire them to do what they need to)…sometimes you feel like the student is learning and growing despite all the idiotic things you are trying to teach them…and sometimes it just all comes together and your heart just bursts with pride. Because the thing is, it really still all boils down to the student and their work.
And then you leave, and on their last lesson, they write you a note (and stick it in a beautiful Indian bag), thanking you. And the note tells you that, in a nutshell, that yes, you are doing okay. And we teachers need and love to hear this. We work so hard, we think about teaching and music all the time, we don’t get health insurance or stock options or paid vacation or sick days, so we really do need this. It tells us that what we are doing is worth it.
And it tells you ALSO that there is so much more to violin teaching than just teaching the violin…that private lessons create a very special bond between teacher and student, and it’s so often about much more than left hand technique or bowings or phrasing—it’s about life, and how to treat people, and giving a child somebody to tell about their day or another adult to bounce their problems off, or showing them how patience and hard work will produce success.
It’s been a hard year for me, and the last few days have been especially tough. But I feel like I am indeed on the right track, and I’m doing okay. Thanks to my students for reminding me of that.
(Chris playing on a tiny violin while we were visiting friends the other night.)
My heart is very full this evening. I think the older I get the more I feel affected by these things 🙂