improving as a teacher

The June Forum: Making your Vocation a Vacation

As mentioned yesterday, a new series is being introduced here at Color In My Piano: a monthly forum of sorts, where readers put their heads together a discuss various topics.  The success of this series depends on YOU, so please, type away!

Without further ado, allow me to introduce the topic for the June forum:

The June Forum: Making your Vocation a Vacation

The June forum is inspired by a couple of quotes I encountered a couple of days ago that really got me thinking about my piano teaching:

“Instead of wondering where your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”  – Godin

“Make your vocation your vacation.”   – Old adage

So the idea is to make your vocation as a piano teacher enjoyable for yourself, so that you aren’t living most of your life just getting by until the next vacation.  =)

Now that summer vacation is here, ironically enough, I think this is a fitting topic to consider.  I’m sure that some of you are probably taking summer vacation from teaching and others of you are probably going to be teaching as normal through the summer (personally, I’m somewhere in the middle – some students have stayed on and others are taking a summer break).  Nevertheless, I’m sure we are all thinking ahead to the next year of teaching and maybe even already doing some planning.  Well, now you can add this thought to your list! — How can I make the next year of teaching be more like a vacation than a vocation?

Thoughts?  What do YOU do to make your vocation more like your vacation?  How do you deal with discouragement and disappointments as a teacher when they come along?  How do you keep your teaching fresh and fun?  What are some practical ways that you can do differently to make your vocation as a piano teacher more like a vacation all year long?

Photo credit: jonycunha | CC 2.0

Don't miss a thing!

Sign up to get blog updates delivered to your email inbox.

5 thoughts on “The June Forum: Making your Vocation a Vacation”

  1. The key to making my year a “vacation” or rather a time I look forward to I do two things.

    1. Make sure I only teach who I want to teach when I want to teach.

    2. Make sure I never book anything on my day off. (and I make sure I HAVE a day off or two). This includes phone calls, business catch up tasks, heavy practicing (yes we all do this, “I’ll learn that new piece this weekend on my day off.”)

  2. I so agree with Ellen – when I love my students (and have wonderful, hard-working students), that is when it is truly a joy to teach. When my students are lazy or don’t want to be there or don’t practice, that is when it is an absolute chore, and I would MUCH rather be spending time with my husband and son.

    I love it when my students love coming to lessons, when they progress and truly enjoy making music. I love it when I have a particularly good lesson with a student, when I discover a certain way to teach them something that REALLY helps them understand a concept. So I guess my vocation becomes a vacation when I succeed at being a good teacher, when I am prepared and when my students are prepared and we get to make great music!

  3. I agree with Ellen and Jenny. Being able to “choose” who I want to teach allows me to make sure that each student I take into my studio will be one who I will enjoy working with. Having great students helps me become a better teacher.

    I think one way I try to view my vocation as a “vacation” is to make sure that I treat each student individually and vary my methods of explaining concepts or repertoire. This job doesn’t have to be a “cookie-cutter” job, I can make it as fun, not-fun, easy-going, or stressful as I choose to make it. So rather than following the same pattern each lesson (i.e. play scales, play pieces, comment on them, the end), I strive to create variety patterned toward each student, thus making the lesson fun for them and me!

  4. I have been teaching piano lessons full time for 7 years.(part-time for much longer…)
    I LOVE teaching and working with students. I struggle with being firm and following through with parents not paying. This steals the joy right out of my work.
    When I have accounts that are behind and parents bouncing checks to me- this truly causes great strain and stress in my life.
    I have decided that this next school year is going to be my year to put the hammer down!
    I will meet with each parent at the beginning of the new season and go over IN PERSON the obligation for payment ON TIME and arriving ON TIME for lessons with MUSIC. If these issues are resolved I will begin to see a new excitement in my work.
    I have put up with the stress far too long and allowed people to side step me, but I am not doing it any longer.

    I know what learning piano and music meant to my life- and I want more than anything to pass that passion on to my students.
    I can’t be my best when I am bogged down with financial stress from my business.

    1. Angie, Good for you!!!

      Stay strong. Some will leave because they have grown accustomed to taking advantage of you. But don’t worry. The better parents are just around the corner. I speak from personal experience.

      Since you posted your comment, a new school year has started. How is it going so far?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.