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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quick Teaching Tip: Appreciate Your Partners!

I am a choleric personality style. If you want to understand what this means, check out my previous articles about this topic:

If you understand the choleric personality, you will know that we do not need much praise and encouragement. We do just fine by ourselves. I have learned, however, that my personality style needs differ than those of other personality styles. For example, a sanguine style needs appreciation and attention! The melancholic is self-sacrificing, but a little appreciation goes a long way. The phlegmatic will accept appreciation if offered but not if it involves work.

Since I personally do not need much attention and appreciation, I am lax as a teacher when it comes to expressing appropriate praise and acknowledgment for accomplishment. Not towards my students, but to my parent partners. I know that I need to improve this area. So here is what I propose.

Once a month I will go through my parent list, and I will write an email to that parent and express my appreciation. I will have to be careful to limit myself to appreciation, because I know my tendency towards improvement. I want my words to encourage and not discourage my parent partners. This process may take more time than just a week. I hope to go through my list every week, send emails to parents now and then, and hopefully send something to each parent in my studio at least once a month. As lessons occur, my opportunities to share my enthusiasm will present themselves. I can tailor my comments to fit the things that happen in lessons.

One of my studio parents has a plan to have her children write one letter a week, usually on a Monday. Following this plan, i think I will try and devote my Mondays to thinking about writing an email to my studio parents, a few at a time per week, maybe doing it on Mondays as the new week starts.

As Suzuki teachers, we are in a partnership with our studio parents and students. We should think of ways to encourage each other in our respective roles. I think that expressing appreciation for the work that we do will go a long way toward strengthening our partnership. Sometimes our partners are fellow students, professional colleagues, or the parents who entrust their children to us teachers. Let us rise up and live up to the responsibility that parents give us teachers!

Let us work together! Send a note or word of encouragement to your partners on this musical journey!

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