Written by: Kristin Phillips
While talking with a friend this weekend, I was asked to give my job description. Hmmm… where to start?
We as teachers and business owners not only manage, promote, and create our studios… we fulfill a job description so extensive, anyone would be amazed.
Are you a planner? Then you are the events, lesson, & class schedule coordinator.
Are you a teacher? Then you are probably the one instructing – the main face of your studio.
Are you skilled in math? Well, even if you aren’t, you are probably the billing department.
Are you good with computers? Then you are likely the reason your website is kept up-to-date & people are always impressed with your professional documents.
Are you personable, friendly, and quick to respond to your customer’s and student’s concerns and questions? Then you are the human resources (HR) department.
Are you a person your students can trust, talk with, and relate to while in the studio? Then you are a mentor, a counselor, a friend.
Have you taken years and years of lessons in your field & do you continue to learn every feasible opportunity? Then you are a professional.
The list could continue, but you get the idea. Never underestimate the immense shoes you fill.
Now, throw in the extras…
Recitals, computer lab, concerts, contests, festivals, competitions, incentive programs, lesson planning, book searching, research, lists (I love those!), and so much more – are all likely part of your week, even a daily task considered vital in your studio. I often ask myself, “What am I offering that other studios do not?” I am not seeking to be in competition with other studios, just to always be the one offering the very best to my students. With that, comes the need for help.
In our western culture, we avoid the appearance of neediness. When was the last time you asked someone else for help? No matter what tasks I can add to my “to-do” list, and no matter what new project I can dream up, if the actual face-to-face time does not take precedence, then I have failed at my job.
This weekend, I developed terrible stabbing, aching pain in my arms, from the fingertips to my shoulders – pain that won’t subside. The pain has only gotten worse, and with that, has come the need to remember… I don’t need to type that project and I don’t need to lift that box (it can stay there). I only need to communicate with my amazing students, be the best teacher I can, and ask those around me for help when I need it. The very thought is humbling… I want to be able to do everything. But if I were to push myself any farther, I would only be able to quit. Ask for help, Kristin, ask for help.
My students proceeded to blow me away. With more than 3 weeks off, they still faithfully practiced, came eager and ready, and didn’t mind that I was unable to focus or reach as well as I usually can. My expectations for myself far exceeded their expectations… and far exceeded reality. But I am glad… that all these years, I have been preparing… and now if I am not perfectly prepared for every moment, it is okay.
If only one thing you take from my jumbled, painful thoughts… let it be that you are a talented, devoted teacher – and you don’t have to be self-sufficient Superman to have a great, positive influence – even through pain.
On a side note, for music teachers out there, I HIGHLY recommend www.tonictutor.com for your students. It has done wonders here in Oregon. The customer service is amazing, the games are a blast for students, and it perfectly complements any music teacher’s account with StudioHelper.com. Use both! During the month of September, TonicTutor has a promotion for free access (trial) for all of their music games – I believe there are 34 of them now? It’s amazing!
Have a blessed September. Welcome back to the school year!