Ever had a hard week that turns into a hard month and you can’t quite remember why you loved teaching?
I don’t always feel 100% enthusiastic about teaching……there, I’ve said it. Some days my mojo is nowhere to be found.
The thing is that I don’t think I’m alone in this. I love teaching, but sometimes I find my thoughts wandering in lessons and at the end of lessons for the day I just feel drained.
When I find this happening here are the things I focus on to reignite the spark and passion in my teaching.
- Be present. In lessons keep your head in the lesson. Not on internal dialogue or thoughts of other things that need doing. As much as we would like to be, we aren’t very good at multitasking and more often just end up doing two things not very well.
- Is there something going on with a student or an issue that is bothering you and you are trying to avoid? If there is, it is time to resolve this issue. Addressing it will give you more emotional energy to invest in your lessons.
- Do you need to move more in your lesson? Can you integrate more movement in your lessons? This is just as important to consider for your students.
- Are you bored? Chances are, if you are bored then so are your students. If the answer is yes then something needs to change. Try the step below.
- Learn something new. Re-engage yourself in learning. It doesn’t have to be about music, just remind yourself what it is like to try something new, something we ask our students to do every day. What about trying something easily accessible like this ‘Listening to World Music’ course online from Coursera?
- Discover new repertoire. This is a big one for me. I love new music. If I am teaching from a big range of music I remain engaged while teaching. It is when I’ve taught a piece for the fifth time in an afternoon that things go haywire. Students love new repertoire, it works well for everyone.
- Attend professional development days. This is my favourite go-to to boost up my energy bank in the school holidays, ready to return with new ideas, energy and enthusiasm for the school term. In July we have the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in Melbourne. I am looking forward to it and if you can make it, it is such great value!
- Connect with other professionals in your area. They don’t have to be in the music industry. I have a few wonderful women I catch up with to discuss our businesses. This helps me clarify my direction and get back brain space from things that have been weighing on my mind. Connecting with other professionals in the music industry can be difficult if you’re not attending a conference or other professional development day. My go-to is the Australasian Piano Teachers’ Facebook Group for those teachers in Australasia, or the Art of Piano Pedagogy for international teachers. You can also join your local Music Teachers’ Association.
- See a concert. There is something magical about live music. Seeing other people make music makes me want to make music and when I’m excited about making music my enthusiasm is taken into lessons.
Hopefully one or two of these ideas reignite your passion for teaching and get you engaged with your lessons again. In order for our students to be engaged in lessons, we need to be too.
Is there something that you find re-engages you when you start to lose focus?