Sitting through hours of teacher training at the Chicago Suzuki Institute brings to light a few important things: I am a good teacher > I don’t know everything > my studio families are amazing > and I can help them more.
My incredible teacher trainer Carey Cheney had us do something very inspirational: she asked us to write ourselves a letter of the things we want to do when we get home to improve our teaching and studios, and in 6 months she will mail it to us. That is called accountability, my friends. So here are a few things I included in my letter to inspire myself.
- Help parents more. I think my studio parents have a good understanding of what their child is asked to show me for the next lesson, but I think I can help more with the structure of practicing at home with their child. Parents, this family activity is not easy, and I want to help make it simpler.
- Expect more. There are moments where I don’t want to push a student too hard to discourage them, but you do not grow unless you find limits you must push past. Humans are capable of incredible things, but great skill only comes after being asked/encouraged/demanded to get there.
- Preview more. I can honestly say I am not a teacher that expects students to perfect everything about a piece before starting to work on another when they are in the beginning stages, but require review to get us there eventually. However, I want to be more strategic about what review is assigned and how to do it, as well as preview very small parts of upcoming songs to make them easier. I do this, but I want to look even further ahead to make skills feel more natural.
So, there is what is essentially my “cello teaching resolutions” for the year. Perhaps I should put them up in some kind of beautiful way in my studio to keep me on course…
[photo below: Carey Cheney teaching a master class to a 5 year-old student playing the Breval Rondo from book 6. She rocks that 1/10th size cello!]