Taking care to prepare new teachers for all aspects of teaching, not just the ideal ones, Scott and Watkins discuss a variety of teaching situations and troubling scenarios that might (probably will) occur in the course of a career. A masterful teacher is prepared to teach not just private lessons, but lead sectionals, technique classes, workshops, and master classes. Teachers will be required to draft important documents, speak articulately, and remain organized. As Watkins and Scott put it, “The energy and effort you devote to formulating your thoughts as a professional are likely to be second only to the energy and effort you devote to your practicing and performing.”
The reminders from Scott and Watkins I found most useful were not just the different types of teaching environments I might find myself in, but the types of people I might find myself teaching. In my Jr. Cadet (beginners) class in String Project I work for an hour every Saturday with eight four year olds. Now twelve weeks into the semester each student is in a uniquely different place on their instrument. One child hardly participates in class. He clings to his mother’s lap, rarely speaks, and has only stood with his violin in play position once. I am not sure to what extent, if any, this child has special needs. However, the words of Dr. Jellison and encouragement to take students as they are and to work with them with optimism and respect give me a few ideas for how to tailor my classroom to accommodate every child’s needs.
This post is one in a series of concise reflections on Laurie Scott and Cornelia Watkins’ From the Stage to the Studio: How Fine Musicians Become Great Teachers. Find other reflections here.