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#2153325 - 09/18/13 08:43 PM I am a bad teacher today!  
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I am not a perfect teacher. No one is perfect. I had so much stress teaching this family of three recently (three weeks) after they come back from summer vacation:

1. They did not make any improve at all during summer time
2. They regress!!
3. I have to restart and reteach something that we already know before summer vacation
4. Parent want to take CM test and we agreed (before summer) that oldest and middle will take CM2 while youngest take CMP

All my other students who stays for whole summer make improvement that feels like 4 months even summer is only 2 months because they practice piano without distraction of schools during summer.

When I look at the progress table of my whole studio, these three kids are the last three kids in my studio. Their preparedness for the test is only 30% prepared while the rest of the kids are mostly 50% and up (test is in March 2014).

I am too stressful to teach them. As today kids are not being able to focus, whining all the time, I was not being nice to them during lesson time. I have goal for each lesson for each kid and I am moving forward in a steady pace to hope that I can accomplish my goal for them so that they can have all material cover before test. Mom is very supportive and understanding person, she reminds me that I had being not nice to kids today. I agree with her. I feel sorry about that.

Example of whining:
Teacher: Let's play G Major scales
Student: [whine] Do I have to do that?
Teacher: Yes
Student:[whine] But it is so hard
Teacher: I am here to help you
Student: [whine...] [then play piano angrily]
And it repeat the same thing for each Major scales and each task that I ask them to perform. I do not understand where is the angry comes from and this really ruin my mood for the lesson.

Seriously, I do not know how not to be disappointed and angry and stress out by this...

Now, my questions:
How do you cope with this? When there is a lot of material to cover, students are obviously behind, students are not following instruction quickly, time wasted between tasks because they take time to whine...

Any suggestions? Me to be more gentle and nice while students obviously are not quickly wanted to learn more and whine all the time?

I lost my patient!!


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#2153331 - 09/18/13 08:56 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Are students who regress over the summer a real rarity in your studio? If so, count your blessings … smile

#2153335 - 09/18/13 09:03 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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I know it is a blessing for me to have a good amount of students this year and also extra blessing that all majority of my students stays for the whole summer this year!! I looked back to my record, I have about 5 of them take only one month off while there are two months of summer time and this family of three take 2 months off.

Those 5 students who take only one month off are not improving during summer time, but they are not regress either!! This family who take 2 months make me feel like they are total of 6 months behind the rest of the students. The rest of the students improve 4 months forward while they regress 2 months backward, so, total of 6 months difference!!


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#2153345 - 09/18/13 09:34 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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I am hoping that people responding to you don't respond to your "regress" comment too much. I think all of us who have learned piano know that there seem to be times that all the skills you work on for months sort of all mysteriously disintegrate for a while. And then somehow things click again and you make a little leap forward.

But I am getting the sense from your post that it's not about skills and more about students who don't want to be there.

As an adult, I think teachers are AMAZING people. So you are amazing, even if your students don't yet appreciate it. (It may take a few decades.)


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#2153349 - 09/18/13 09:58 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Someone posted here at one time that they never work harder than their students. I really like that, and it helps me deal with students who perhaps don't want to be there, want to be there but don't want to work/don't understand how to work, and students who maybe have a fear of failure/success. I try to inspire and find ways of helping, but at some point they have to want it. I can't do it for them, I'm already doing it for myself.

You can't really change the fact that the parents or children decided not to take your advice about taking summer lessons. So teach them, do the review, etc. IF they are not ready, you can tell the parents that you've done all you can, but the amount of progress lost over the summer did not allow the kids to prepare as well as they should for exams. You can then let them decide if they want them to do it anyways, or wait another year.

Sometimes it's hard to not take our student's failures as a reflection of our teaching ability.


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#2153359 - 09/18/13 10:30 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Remember that even though you don't see it, there is much more going on in their lives. Perhaps it has been a difficult season for the family.

Even if you want to judge your teaching by your students, you have to include all the students who are doing well!


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2153370 - 09/18/13 11:00 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Whizbang
But I am getting the sense from your post that it's not about skills and more about students who don't want to be there.


It is the combination of:
1. Skills regress
2. Students do not want to be here (depends, sometimes they are pretty good, but sometimes they drive me crazy!!)
3. We are behind of "OUR" goal (taking Level 2 is not only parent's goal, but also "MY" goal for them)
4. Then lastly, I lost my patient!!


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#2153440 - 09/19/13 01:33 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
4. Then lastly, I lost my patient!!

You're a doctor now?

It's "patience." Doctors have patients.


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#2153458 - 09/19/13 02:17 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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pa·tient
ˈpāSHənt/
adjective
adjective: patient
1.
able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
"be patient, your time will come"
synonyms: forbearing, uncomplaining, tolerant, resigned, stoical; More


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#2153461 - 09/19/13 02:30 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
pa·tient
ˈpāSHənt/
adjective
adjective: patient
1.
able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
"be patient, your time will come"
synonyms: forbearing, uncomplaining, tolerant, resigned, stoical; More

You need a noun, not an adjective.


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#2153469 - 09/19/13 02:52 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Somehow today I like to use an adjective to describe my feeling, so what?


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#2153487 - 09/19/13 04:00 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
4. Then lastly, I lost my patient!!

You're a doctor now?

It's "patience." Doctors have patients.
It is a bit funny, ezpiano, because you just claimed you killed your patient! grin

But other than that AZN, give her a break... smile I mean the amount of tpyos that I make is huge, so I wouldn't want to be in her position... smile

#2153500 - 09/19/13 04:42 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
pa·tient
ˈpāSHənt/
adjective
adjective: patient
1.
able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
"be patient, your time will come"
synonyms: forbearing, uncomplaining, tolerant, resigned, stoical; More

I know what you are doing. You are thinking of:

PatientS/Patience... smile

These two words are spelled differently, but they have the same sound.

I know what you were saying, and I also know what kind of day you had.

I had one like that today myself. I lost so much patience, I wanted to scream at some of my patients (students).

This forum is for piano teachers, not grammarians, so when we smile, don't take it too seriously. And remember, most Americans could not speak (or type) another language if their life depended on it.

But I think AZN could. wink


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#2153583 - 09/19/13 09:05 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Ezpiano, reading your post - it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc. If during a lesson you keep working toward having your student learn, using everything you know, and your behaviour is professional, then you have been a good teacher even if you are feeling miserable about what is happening. Your own teachers, when you were a student, may have kept a calm demeanour in front of you so that you think that this is also what they felt inside, and if you are not equally calm (inside) it means you are not as professional as they were --- but they probably had ups and downs in their feelings too.

Re: patience vs. patient(s)

The word "patient" as a noun (person, place, thing) means the person a doctor sees. When there is more than one, they are "patients", and that word sounds the same as "patience".

The word "patient" can also be used as an adjective or adverb:
"That teacher is very patient." (describes the teacher)
"He is patient with all his students." (describes how he is)
That is the meaning you were after.

When you want to use the word that means "the act of being patient", then you have the word "patience". Which sounds exactly the same as the word "patients" (people seeking medical help).

English is the most messed up non-standard language around. laugh

#2153589 - 09/19/13 09:18 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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First of all, you should take for granted that most student do not progress over the summer.

Only a few very dedicated and enthusiastic kids can sustain their interest and effort over holidays.

#2153635 - 09/19/13 10:14 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Originally Posted by Whizbang
But I am getting the sense from your post that it's not about skills and more about students who don't want to be there.


It is the combination of:
1. Skills regress
2. Students do not want to be here (depends, sometimes they are pretty good, but sometimes they drive me crazy!!)
3. We are behind of "OUR" goal (taking Level 2 is not only parent's goal, but also "MY" goal for them)
4. Then lastly, I lost my patient!!


EZ,

From your postings here, it's obvious you are not a bad teacher. You can't have full control over your students, you just have to accept that.

This summer, like every summer, I spend quite a bit of time in the Sierra Nevada, camping backpacking, climbing, on long weekends. So I've spent most of this summer apologizing to my teacher. And yes, I've regressed!

Such is the ebb and flow of life.


Gary
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#2153648 - 09/19/13 10:40 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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EZ, you are a teacher with clear goals for your piano students, and I'm sure many parents are impressed by this. You also have a timetable for those goals. That's the trickier piece.

These kids sound wrong for you.




#2153660 - 09/19/13 10:55 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Ezpiano, reading your post - it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc. If during a lesson you keep working toward having your student learn, using everything you know, and your behaviour is professional, then you have been a good teacher even if you are feeling miserable about what is happening. Your own teachers, when you were a student, may have kept a calm demeanour in front of you so that you think that this is also what they felt inside, and if you are not equally calm (inside) it means you are not as professional as they were --- but they probably had ups and downs in their feelings too.



Ugh. I'd like to think that I was never a spoiled brat in my lessons. That I WANTED to be there, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today. Sometimes, you just have to send the student away. I did that yesterday, and I don't regret it. I don't have the time or patience to sit through a lesson where it's a circus, and all the kid is trying to do is pisss off the teacher and not listen to ANYTHING the teacher says. They don't want to be there, you don't want them to be there because of that. The parents obviously didn't care because they showed up for a SECOND time without ANY books.

Believe me I did everything I could. But I gave the kid two chances. He obviously does NOT want to be there, and I have no interest in teaching someone like that. I have 10 other students who are excited about playing every single time. I'd rather keep the spot open for someone who won't make me want to rip my own hair out. So in this case - no, I don't think I was being unprofessional. But you have to draw the line somewhere.

I suggested he try another instrument.



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#2153706 - 09/19/13 11:34 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Originally Posted by Pogorelich.
Originally Posted by keystring
Ezpiano, reading your post - it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc. If during a lesson you keep working toward having your student learn, using everything you know, and your behaviour is professional, then you have been a good teacher even if you are feeling miserable about what is happening. Your own teachers, when you were a student, may have kept a calm demeanour in front of you so that you think that this is also what they felt inside, and if you are not equally calm (inside) it means you are not as professional as they were --- but they probably had ups and downs in their feelings too.



Ugh. I'd like to think that I was never a spoiled brat in my lessons. That I WANTED to be there, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today. Sometimes, you just have to send the student away. I did that yesterday, and I don't regret it. I don't have the time or patience to sit through a lesson where it's a circus, and all the kid is trying to do is pisss off the teacher and not listen to ANYTHING the teacher says. They don't want to be there, you don't want them to be there because of that. The parents obviously didn't care because they showed up for a SECOND time without ANY books.

Believe me I did everything I could. But I gave the kid two chances. He obviously does NOT want to be there, and I have no interest in teaching someone like that. I have 10 other students who are excited about playing every single time. I'd rather keep the spot open for someone who won't make me want to rip my own hair out. So in this case - no, I don't think I was being unprofessional. But you have to draw the line somewhere.

I suggested he try another instrument.
Yes, I think we've all had these kinds of students, and none of us want to teach in this situation, even if we need the money. This is partly why I insist on meeting students before agreeing to teach them (and them agreeing to study with me). No point in wasting everyone's time.


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#2153771 - 09/19/13 01:08 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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EZPiano, I don't think AZ intended to pick on you. It was a very common mistake, and it was very funny in this particular context.

AZPiano does have an impressive dictionary like vocabulary, in terms of both accuracy and volume. I admit that I had to look up some of the words in his posts more than a couple of times. I wouldn't be surprised that he had won some spelling bee contests.

If anyone thinks learning piano is hard, the person probably has not learned a second language. Anyone who learned a second language to a survival level, should be proud of his/him-self.

I came to this country in my late 20's, went through a lot to be able to function in English (I did have years of English at school, but it was practically nothing). During the years, I found that people who spent time to correct me (mostly in private) are the friendly and open minded ones. People who judge people by color, by accent are often the "polite" ones.

#2153774 - 09/19/13 01:10 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Morodiene]  
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Yes Morodiene - we have trial lessons (up to 4). I put my thoughts forward after the second one.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#2153785 - 09/19/13 01:26 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by M
This is partly why I insist on meeting students before agreeing to teach them (and them agreeing to study with me).


These kids are good sometimes, but driving me crazy sometimes too. Yes, I did meet with them at the interview and they are adorable!!


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#2153787 - 09/19/13 01:28 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by KS
it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc.


So, it is okay to feel these while teaching, but I guess it is unprofessional to let it out right? Should I keep it inside even I feel it? If yes, how do you do it? Can you teach me?

Thanks!


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#2153831 - 09/19/13 02:30 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Originally Posted by KS
it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc.


So, it is okay to feel these while teaching, but I guess it is unprofessional to let it out right? Should I keep it inside even I feel it? If yes, how do you do it? Can you teach me?

We've had this discussion in this forum before. Some feel it's a "teachers' forum" and thus teachers can come here and vent all they want. It's like what happens in the teachers' lounge at school. But then others objected to the fact that the venting is taking place in a public place (the Internet) where everybody can lurk around and read up on the gossip.


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#2153843 - 09/19/13 02:43 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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I am not venting. I am having a situation that I cannot solve, I am asking help from other teachers or parents. If people want to gossip (maybe someone like you? I do not know) then I have no control of this and I do not want to control this either.
Now, may I ask in a polite way, if you cannot help, please step away so that other who desire to help can help.
Thanks!!


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#2153844 - 09/19/13 02:45 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
If yes, how do you do it? Can you teach me?

Thanks!


Yes.

I have made some suggestions along these lines from time to time, but they have not been well received, so I have backed off.


gotta go practice
#2153853 - 09/19/13 02:57 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Yes Tim. You were suggesting that my heritage contribute to my problem, which I cannot alter my heritage. So, whatever you suggested is not helpful, I am glad that you backed off. For this, I thank you!


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#2153865 - 09/19/13 03:21 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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I thought Tim had other suggestions, unrelated to heritage.

As I recall it, the heritage question came up as *wondering* if it were an issue, linked to culture and language. There are many different cultures represented in the US, and that means there is a potential for cultures to clash. Or sometimes language can be a barrier. It was quickly established that heritage, culture, and language were not issues in this case, and Tim offered suggestions unrelated to heritage.


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#2153889 - 09/19/13 04:16 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
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Toronto, Ontario
Ez, you are raising interesting pedagogical questions, and they are equally life questions. How does one deal with frustrations? How does one avoid impatience? How does one practice kindness?






#2153891 - 09/19/13 04:19 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: bzpiano]  
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 3,893
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member
TimR  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 3,893
Virginia, USA
Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Yes Tim. You were suggesting that my heritage contribute to my problem, which I cannot alter my heritage.


No. I used to teach RET at one of my previous jobs, and it was effective for some people in learning to react but not overreact. I could possibly suggest some reading material if you were interested.

I have also occasionally expressed the opinion that people tend to give away the power to control themselves, letting others force reactions rather than owning the responsibility internally. There are sometimes ways to avoid this as well.

The resistance to those ideas here has been fairly strong, and I've been reluctant to proceed further.


gotta go practice
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