You're not the teacher you could be

Improving as a teacher is a conscious decision that one must doesn't "just happen." It involves moving beyond "why aren't my students trying harder" to "what is it about my teaching that leaves my students uninspired and unable to retain the concepts I am trying to help them learn?"

Tough to look in that mirror? You bet it is.

But one of the problems in our society today is that we have associated self-criticism with "beating ourselves up." That's too bad, because people who are successful know that the most productive way to a healthy and happy career is a regular and honest review of:

What I am doing


The outcome of what I am doing

So, I am doing x,y, and z on a daily basis. Am I seeing evidence of learning based on those approaches, habits, beliefs?

If not, am I willing to change, or will I simply:

bear down on my students

tell them to work harder

guilt them into "learning"

See where I'm going with this?

If we want our students to learn more, enjoy more, take more ownership for their musicianship, then we are the ones who must improve the most, not them. Are your students excited to learn from you each day? If not...who do you suppose in responsible for changing that?

Look, I struggle just like you do. I'm not getting my students to the depth of learning that they deserve to experience in music. But I know this, and I have been able to say it for several years now:

One week from now I will not be the teacher I am today. I will be moving forward, trying new approaches, and digging just a little deeper so my students can understand the joys of music just a little bit better than they do now. If I don't do that, nothing is going to change.

Like me, you are not the teacher you could be. Don't be depressed by that, see it as good news. Get excited about the fact that the better you become, the more your students will learn. It took me far too long to realize that very simple truth.