Total Teacher #1
Over the next few months we will be looking at the ‘Whole Picture’ of who we are. How do we see things, hear things, communicate things. Piece by piece you will begin to discover the ‘Total You’ so that you can relate to your ‘Total Student’.
Let’s start with this piece of insight.
Did you know that you go through zig zag stages in your development no matter how old you are?
|Self – defeating, troubled|
|behavioral interruption, distraction|
|internalizing introvertish behavior|
|Vigorous, expansive growth,|
When you arrived here on earth you were in a “troubled stage”
That lead to a comfortable and organized time of life
Which then lead to a time of interruption, or distraction.
Next, you again became well-rounded, but only for a short time.
Soon to be introverted, with an internalizing tendency.
And finally, you began a period of vigorous and expansive growth.
Only to start all over again by becoming self-defeating, with a troubled spirit.
Sound Familiar? So how does this help you as a teacher? First, look at yourself. Slow down and think about your life. Where do you fit in at this point? Track yourself. Don’t just think, write it down. By establishing your present point, you have direction as to where you are headed?
Each of these stages are simply guidelines. The stages change quickly in youth and gradually slow down to a period of years as an adult. They don’t have to devastate us. A troubled time can also be a time of gathering information due to an unsettled mind. When we add this nugget of insight to the way we learn, and layer it, you will be amazed how it all works together to create an amazingly complex experience, like a tapestry of color. Without the troubled years, the dark times, our
tapestry would be quite shallow.
Your students are traveling this zig zag path as well. Those students whom you enjoyed so much last year will shortly change, possible internalizing their thoughts and appearing to be ‘teenagers’. Accept them and help them through the maze.
A test for teachers: My Life as of today
These are rhetorical questions. I don’t need an answer, but you do.
Do I cut my legs off at the knees to prove some illusive ‘truth’ that I haven’t really defined? Y___ N___
Even though life is racing past, do I feel a sense of contentment when I look around? Y__N__
Do I feel I’m running in circles much of the time; having a full plate but never clearing anything off? Y___ N___
Is life flowing fairly smoothly? Do you feel that the puzzle is basically together and you aren’t having trouble fitting in the pieces that are left? Y__ N__
Do you think too much? Are you refusing fun times because they take too much energy, and after you have gone to some ‘get-together’ do you kick yourself when you review your comments or ‘hate’ the way you carelessly did something? Y__N__
Are you finding it hard to keep up with yourself? You don’t mind staying up late or getting up early to complete a task. You almost fear you are going through a ‘manic’ experience. Y__N__
Answers: The questions follow the zig zag path. As we age we can see carry-over from one stage to the next. This is something that is often seasonal, or on a lesser degree even daily. We can discuss this further later, but generally, if it depended on you and not external pressures, where would you find yourself? Knowledge is powerful. If you can prepare for the zag after the zig you are in, it might, first of all make sense and not be totally blamed on hormones, and secondly,
help you get through the next stage as yourself and not as a ‘blob being tossed around by the waves of life’.
It is important to receive proper counseling from a qualified counselor, if the stage is too overwhelming. There is no shame in seeking help. We all need a listening ear from someone who will listen unconditionally. Even a friend, over coffee, might just be the thing. Your students are not on this level. They are separate. You are the listening ear for them. It doesn’t go both ways. Let’s talk soon, in Unit 2.
How can this apply to the teaching studio or classroom?
Even though, looking at the Big Picture, we see yearly changes, we can also see these changes on a much smaller scale. We can easily fly into one of these conditions if the studio is a mess or your family is putting too much pressure on family time over organizational time. Think through what moves you toward a well-balanced feeling of being prepared and enjoying your teaching, Try to establish that in your studio or classroom.
Streamline the extras so they don’t cause extra stress by creating clutter.
For example: file your music so you can find it when your student is ready for it, not the following week. Keep your teaching items separate, your developmental time at times when the family isn’t available. Plan for it. Have a brief case ready to take to the doctors office to work on while you wait. Have times set aside when you talk to new students and return calls. This could be after the kids are in bed or when your family is busy watching a movie. Decide if you have time for what
is being asked of you and stick to your decision.
You Deserve A Break Today
(if you answer yes to any one of these questions consider why you first chose to teach, home school etc. and try to recapture that spirit. If you can’t, find a group of supportive friends to help rejuvenate your motives and rekindle the joy.)
- Has anyone commented that you seem a little unenthusiastic lately?
- Is your family putting stress on your teaching time by wanting your presence with them more than usual?
- Do you find you dread the approach of ‘teaching day’?
- Do you feel used and irritated if your students come unprepared for their lessons?
- Are your students, on a whole, looking forward to a break from classes. You can tell this if they say, “Are you going away anytime soon?”
- Is it difficult for you to prepare for your lessons? Do you simply do it the same way you have for the last twenty years, digging up old crumpled copies of music?
- Are you relating to the mind of a child when teaching children, and the mind of an adult when teaching adults?
- Is your passion shifting to another area of interest?
- Have you stopped doing ‘extra’ things for your students, concerts, play in’s, nursing homes, caroling group lessons, an occasional cookie after class, etc?