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Re: Does teaching make you anxious?
Canonie #1285285 10/12/09 03:51 AM
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Does teaching make me anxious? In a word, yes. I get anxious, I get uptight, I get stressed, etc. etc. But like any other good piano teacher, I experience these feelings because I care for the welfare and progress of my students. They are paying for my livelihood after all and I have to do my very best for them.

I'm still a bundle of nerves when I meet a new student and his or her parents. Essentially I have a real heart-to-heart talk with them to determine what they have in mind for their child, and whether it is feasible that I attempt to take him or her on. Sometimes (but rarely) I have to be true to my heart and tell them that the child would be better off with another teacher. But more often than not, I relish the challenge of taking on a new student and molding him or her into a better musician than they were before.

Stress levels tend to rise especially before exams, when students are not doing their best, or a whole host of other factors (for example, parents who tend to tell me what to do during their children's lesson, I despise this!) However, as Canonie has mentioned, you learn to tackle it and get on with your life. You can't spend precious moments of your day worrying and obsessing over the teaching profession, it would do you no good.

My own outlet lies in exercise. I like to go for walks, and swimming really helps me to relax and let go of the tension. Do the best you can for your students, and the rest is up to them.

Last edited by Philip926; 10/12/09 03:53 AM.
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Re: Does teaching make you anxious?
Philip Yeoh #1285361 10/12/09 08:31 AM
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I, too, get stressed out when a student isn't as serious about a deadline or goal as I am, and they miss lessons frequently (in spite of my 1 make-up per semester policy) or fail to practice what I assign them. This frustrates me to no end until I remind myself that it's a two-way street, and sometimes kids have to realize that no matter how talented they are, if they want to be competitive they have to work at it, too, because the other talented people they compete with may be harder workers than they are... but I digress! LOL I have to force myself to let go and hope they realize this.


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Re: Does teaching make you anxious?
Morodiene #1285724 10/12/09 08:03 PM
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The stress is possibly added to everything we do by the fact that we feel we need to make good use of our time spent together. We only have about 40 hours per year for hour students, and 20 hours for half hour students.

When you think of the things we do accomplish in one year, we forget that the actual reality time of being together was really minimal.

We have to put a lot of content into lessons and have it clearly stated so that student's can do somthing with the information.

If you really think about it, most of us are miracle workers.

I think this puts some of us through our paces to perform like a teacher with a mission and as a professional in seeing through all the things that distract from our goals.

Behind the scenes we spend a lot of time going over our plans for our students in general, but when it comes to the actual time of the lesson we are on the spot to get it all laid out in presentation and documentation to be meaningful and productive.

We don't stand around the water cooler and socialize.

Let me rephrase that: We don't stand around the water cooler and socialize enough! At least I don't!

Betty

Re: Does teaching make you anxious?
Chris H. #1286099 10/13/09 10:59 AM
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Thanks for all of your replies! I'm not alone, and that's good to know. I realized that one of the reasons I am feeling stressed is that I HATE being unprepared. Sometimes, or even often, it works, especially if I know the student well, and have a handle on what they're working on and where they're going. But with new students especially, I hate the feeling of floundering around, trying to find a piece of music that I found and carefully filed away for them last week after their lesson but then forgot where I put it. My old students know me well enough to know that I am generally pretty together, very committed, and have lots of new ideas for them. The new students, I am still a little worried about what they'll think. I know how easy it is to make a judgement about a teacher "They are not very organized" or "They are a little spacey" and I want to avoid this at all costs.

I love hearing new ideas about how to organize things from all of you. The lap top in the studio would work if I had one. Anyone use an iphone? I have a notebook where I keep notes, but I find there is little time during or in between lessons.

Carol


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Re: Does teaching make you anxious?
CarolR #1286411 10/13/09 09:12 PM
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Carol, the important thing to remember is that we're human after all and of course sometimes I too, am caught offguard. My old students know about my mannerisms, no problems there. With new students, I'll usually give a smile and say something like "Whoops, I must be growing old!"

I rely on that big organ in my head for remembering my students' stuff, since I teach only about two dozen of them. The one software I use is Microsoft Outlook for keeping track of my students' schedules. If there is something urgent I need to remember I'll usually scribble it down on a notepad near my piano.

Re: Does teaching make you anxious?
CarolR #1286457 10/13/09 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CarolR
I realized that one of the reasons I am feeling stressed is that I HATE being unprepared. Sometimes, or even often, it works, especially if I know the student well, and have a handle on what they're working on and where they're going. But with new students especially, I hate the feeling of floundering around, trying to find a piece of music that I found and carefully filed away for them last week after their lesson but then forgot where I put it. My old students know me well enough to know that I am generally pretty together, very committed, and have lots of new ideas for them. The new students, I am still a little worried about what they'll think. I know how easy it is to make a judgement about a teacher "They are not very organized" or "They are a little spacey" and I want to avoid this at all costs.


I have the same problem, Carol. When I only had 20 students, I was a lot more organized. Now that I have double that amount, keeping track of every student's music, lessons, and direction each week is spreading me pretty thin, even though I am a very organized, detail-oriented perfectionist by nature. So, that is the source of my stress. I am constantly thinking of which books I need to get for which students, searching for new music they would like, thinking of new games/activities to do at each lesson, etc. I feel like I am "working" 24/7. How many students do you have? Could be that you are in the same situation I'm in, with a few too many!


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Re: Does teaching make you anxious?
CarolR #1286691 10/14/09 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by CarolR
Thanks for all of your replies! I'm not alone, and that's good to know. I realized that one of the reasons I am feeling stressed is that I HATE being unprepared. Sometimes, or even often, it works, especially if I know the student well, and have a handle on what they're working on and where they're going. But with new students especially, I hate the feeling of floundering around, trying to find a piece of music that I found and carefully filed away for them last week after their lesson but then forgot where I put it. My old students know me well enough to know that I am generally pretty together, very committed, and have lots of new ideas for them. The new students, I am still a little worried about what they'll think. I know how easy it is to make a judgement about a teacher "They are not very organized" or "They are a little spacey" and I want to avoid this at all costs.

I love hearing new ideas about how to organize things from all of you. The lap top in the studio would work if I had one. Anyone use an iphone? I have a notebook where I keep notes, but I find there is little time during or in between lessons.

Carol


This is where preparation ahead of time comes in. Have your lessons plans done before you teach that day. Then arrive early to the studio or if you teach from your home, get ready ahead of time by getting out all the books you will need for lessons that day and put them in a pile in order. That way you're not looking around for a book you know you have.

Do you write down your student's assignments for them? I don't think the ihpone would be particularly helpful for this. In your notebook, simply write down what you plan to do at the lesson and what you will be assigning, and then if there are any additions or changes to this, you can make note of it during the lesson. I will often say to the student at the end, "OK, give me a moment here to get caught up on your assignment sheet" and I'll take care of all of that.

Writing down a short note to myself in my notebook doesn't take a lot of time, and I'm not writing everything since I wrote most of it before the lesson. I just like to keep a copy of the assignment to help remind me of specific instructions given on how to practice a piece that I can follow-up with. It's also good if the student forgets their books!

**edited to add: Since I print out student's assignments and hole punch them to be put in their 3-ring binders, something that I'm going to start doing to cut down on time is to prepare those assignment sheets ahead of time, so I'm only going to be making minor changes to the sheet during the lesson. If you are hand-writing assignments, perhaps you can do something similar? Write down assignments on loose-leaf paper and have them bring a 3-ring binder to hold them?

Last edited by Morodiene; 10/14/09 08:55 AM.

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Re: Does teaching make you anxious?
Philip Yeoh #1286693 10/14/09 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Philip Yeoh
Carol, the important thing to remember is that we're human after all and of course sometimes I too, am caught offguard. My old students know about my mannerisms, no problems there. With new students, I'll usually give a smile and say something like "Whoops, I must be growing old!"

I rely on that big organ in my head for remembering my students' stuff, since I teach only about two dozen of them. The one software I use is Microsoft Outlook for keeping track of my students' schedules. If there is something urgent I need to remember I'll usually scribble it down on a notepad near my piano.


I also use Outlook for my schedule. Another thing that possibly could work with the iphone is Google has a free calendar. It's not as nice as Outlook, but it works. I even have this calendar posted on my website so that students can go there to see what their lesson time is, call other students to swap lessons, and find out upcoming events and times.

As far as keeping track of what books I need to get for whom, I generally write it on a post-it note that I take with me to the store and I'm careful to write the student's name next to it so when I get back from the store I know who to give it to (learned that one the hard way)! laugh


private piano/voice teacher FT

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