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Monday Teaching

Top of the week mental strength

· Practical Pedagogy

Monday's feel a bit like scaling a mountain to me. I actually love mountains, though need help mentally getting ready to climb them, or ski them. It's exciting to me. I look forward to the rush of being at the top and the ability to coast down. I'm also often exhausted in the middle of the climb and have to tap into my inner mental strength and tell myself that I am stronger than I think I am in order to make it up the mountain. Before I know it, I've scaled it, skied it and have a huge sense of accomplishment. Can you relate?

Planning: Sunday nights I plan my week out to the best of my ability with lists and an hour-by-hour day planner that I actually have to use a pen with. I have reviewed what went well the week before, what my goals are for the week ahead, what I need my students to be doing and plan my intentions, actions, workouts, readings and free time accordingly. Here's the thing though, Monday is always bitter sweet for me. I'm usually coming off of 2.5 days where I have dedicated my time to reading, watching some TV, catching up with good friends, taking in an event, cooking, baking, making sure the dog is living her best life, etc...basically living my life freely, with intention like I'm at the beach. So when I come back to teaching a full schedule of afternoon and evening lessons, and a busy week ahead, I am usually excited to see my students, but there is still a mountain ahead of me.

Teaching: When I enjoy my time with each person, really listen to my student and make their lesson about them and their goals, it's surprisingly easy and a time where I gain energy. The mountain that I thought was going to be hard to climb is now just a slight incline. I've got this! I really am stronger than I think. All of my planning really paid off.

Here a few questions and conversation points I find particularly helpful on Monday's (or any day, really):

  • I'm so glad to see you today Nahid! What's going well within your day? 
  • Or for the younger ones: What's good today, Charlotte? 
  • For my older students I ask them, "How can I help you most today?" 
  • For my younger students I say, "Which piece are you most proud of on your progress this week? Show me!" 
  • Just for fun, what was one thing you failed at, or didn't reach your potential on? For me, I thought I knew what I was doing when I was baking this new chocolate chip cookie recipe, but turns out I learned a great lesson: baking soda really IS important in baking cookies. They turned out flat and not very tasty! I know for next time. 
  • Tegan, today you get to be the teacher and choose the pieces we play. Go ahead and pick what you'd like to start with. 
  • If you could wake up and do anything you wanted tomorrow morning, how would you spend your day? 
  • How are you feeling today, Betsy? What about your day has led you to feel this way? 
  • What's the most interesting thing you learned today in school? 
  • If you could go to any concert this coming weekend, who would you want to hear? Of their music, what is your favorite song, and why do you love it? (Could that be a new repertoire piece for them?) 
Enjoy the process! You are stronger than you think you are.