This week some students and I parted ways. We did so amicably and I am grateful to God for this blessing. Prayer in every words and action and sending love before is powerful. God’s love heals, forgives, and strengthens us in our weakest moments.
Without a doubt, the hardest aspect of teaching for me is when I see a child in stress or severe fatigue. For years I thought that was how it was supposed to be, this was what it meant to rear children in today’s modern, fast-paced world so they could handle the challenges that come their way. Then later as I dealt with my own issues of adrenal fatigue and lack of sleep it became very clear that this was not what God intended for the lives of our children or us. Suddenly, the families I admired for their worldly successes, the mothers I compared myself to I did no longer. Seeing in my own students the stresses and fatigues I dealt with myself seemed like cruelty now - not a track to better and more successful living. It seemed they were working harder, but not smarter although their test scores would prove me differently. I started caring less about their test scores and more about their emotional well-being. I was more concerned with finding inspiration , a smile, joy in their playing than where they went on vacations and their most recent GPA. As I began caring about my own heart I started really seeing theirs. The hard part was when I would explain my observations to their parents only to see them turn and find something else for their child to do. It is very easy to find teachers more than willing to take “successful” students so they were never far away from someone wanting them in their studio or on the team.
I realized by using words like “prayer”, “intuition,” and phrases like “I sense that” I was breaking the cardinal rule of teaching – becoming involved. Since I had a personal studio, I began to responsibly own the power granted me to nurture those who were still finding joy or looking for joy, in their playing. I stopped being run by the machine in my own studio as I did in the corporate world. I began to look within for my own truth about situations. At first, I would look to older, more experienced teachers, not only for their mentoring, but for their approval. I wanted to know what a good teacher and copy their formula – exactly, to the letter. I forgot, along the way, to even consider that I already was a good teacher who just need polishing. I was not someone with out inner guidance and the power to stand in my own philosophies about children and living. I was afraid if my inner spirit influenced my teaching I would not have "successful" students.
One of my dear friends questions the system of why is it we as teachers are to be ranked as “good” for a child to receive high school credit in piano. If the child does the work, does it matter how “good” the teacher is? I loved the question and it has permeated into so many areas of my life. If a student *really* loves piano, I could honestly know very little. Sure, they would have some musical holes, but their passion - I firmly believe – would see them through and guide them to the right people along their way. I know that is what happened to me.
It is my responsibility with my own child to stay aware of what his life purpose is. It is not for me to decide it, determine it, or block it, just to nurture it. How many parents really consider this? Today I heard a podcast encouraging teaching children to meditate. I’m sure none of my students meditate. In fact, I need to be cautious of the word.
Letting a student leave for the right reasons only to see them continue with someone else for the wrong ones is difficult because I care. However, to freeze it in time and give it a label is not fair to myself or them. It only serves to inflate my ego and condemn their spirits. I choose instead to honor myself, in that I spoke my truth in this situation instead of being intimidated. I am grateful to God things were resolved peacefully and without conflict. I continue to pray for the children and their parents as they maneuver through life. I was blessed to have them because they taught me just as I taught them. We are all on a journey and this is theirs. My goal in their life was completed and now very apparent – for them to know that joy and inspiration is important in life. And so it is.