Honest Conversations with Teachers

Our children have a wonderful piano teacher.  Our children are reasonably good piano players.  But they have reached a plateau.  This is not a reflection on either their teacher or our children.  It is a matter of commitment on the part of our family.  To move beyond the plateau they have reached we must make a choice as a family about how much more we are willing to commit to practice time.  It is not simply a matter of imploring our children to spend more time on their own practicing.  Our children do need to practice more to improve.  Some of this practice needs to be on their own.  But, our teacher pointed out, that most piano students do better when they have an audience.  Practice is less of a chore when it is also a performance.  Our teacher told us that when parents sit with their children while they practice progress is much more rapid.  This resonates with the experience we’ve had in our house.

So these are the choices we face as a family.  Are we, as a group, willing to commit the time for our children to improve or are we comfortable with the current plateau?  Are we willing, as parents, to insist that our children practice the piano more and spend less time outside playing?  Are we willing to sit with them when they practice and leave our household chores to a time after our children are asleep?  Do we want to pay for more lesson time so that our children’s teacher can spend time with them? Or, will we just keep going along as is and choose to be satisfied?

These choices became more apparent to us because our children’s piano teacher initiated a conversation.  She said, I can only do so much.  You have to decide what you’re willing to do.

These are the kinds of choices that families face when it comes to piano and to every other academic subject.  The choices don’t always involve time or the need for more time.  Sometimes the choices involve better use of time.  But, we must be intentional about making choices about what we’re committed to doing.

As parents, we need to thank our children’s teachers when they put these types of choices on the table.  We need to thank our children’s teachers when they make us face up to our own commitments.

Today, I want to say thanks to our children’s piano teacher and to all our children’s teachers who have raised similar issues of commitment.

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One Response to “Honest Conversations with Teachers”

  1. Brad Jolly Says:

    Very nice, John. I completely agree – only a small percentage of these very necessary conversations ever take place.
    When I taught, my experience was that the kids who were doing the best were the ones with parents who actually showed up for conferences. The parents of the kid who was doing poorly never seemed to show up.

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