Monday, 30 August 2010

Time Management

.....23 minutes left.....

Another day, another dollar! Well, a £ anyway! Somehow over the last year I have managed to whittle my teaching down to around 26 regular pupils each week. I have one or two who come every other week, but in general my numbers are reducing as I get older ! It is so much better, and such a luxury to be able to reduce numbers. I can give more attention to each person, and I am not working on the edge of exhaustion 6 days a week.

The trouble is, as a young teacher, with a mortgage to pay, and equally as important, a reputation to build having pupil numbers in the upper 40's each week is the only way to keep body and soul together!

It has taken me 25 years of gruellingly long days, endless commuting at the top and toe of each day, and a voice of steel to arrive at this wondrous moment of 'my time' teaching. The irony being, that now when I am more easily tired I have that precious time available to give to my pupils ! Such is life !

I can now overrun in a lesson if I want, and even more amazingly, I have short breaks between teaching, and can make a cup of tea!! All my teaching life I have been disciplined by bells or the clock on the wall ! Now the clock does not have such a sinister hold over me, and bells are non existent in this house so I can adjust my time management as and how I choose! What a feeling of personal power that is.

My timetable looks very sparse on paper, but what I can do within the lesson is more flexible, and more importantly for us both, infinitely more relaxed. For the first time I can chat to my student without having a little voice in the back of my head counting down the minutes, and sometimes it is so important to be able to chat and coax from the person why things are not going well, or why one approach is not working etc........without knowing that the lesson time bomb is ticking.

Talking is sometimes as vital as singing. A teenager will often open out to me, or sound off to me when they will not to their parents, and a husband or wife will feel able to let go and talk about matters private. There are times when a music room is just the same as a Doctor's surgery, without the needles. A place of confidence and upset, as well as a place of fun and positive emotion.

Sometimes the chat is a ticking off! Most of my older /ex pupils would undoubtedly tell you that when a sentence opens with ' I think it is time we had a chat ', they need to prepare themselves, but they also know it is ' just because I care ' ! Which, I must say is usually the truth. Spending time on a ' row ' as they say in Paradise is exhausting and does not make me feel good, but if it is warranted or needed, then someone has to do it (musically speaking of course!) and that someone is invariably me!

The sun is shining, and the lawns are being mowed as we speak, and I cannot think of a SINGLE pupil whom I will need to tick off this week - in all honesty it hardly happens these days thank the Lord - so 'On with the Motley ' as we say in Operaland!

What songs are on the timetable today -

Si le Bonheur - Faust - Gounod
Never Smile at a Crocodile !
Phoebe in her Petticoat
Weep no More - Handel

and many more...........................

What a nice day!

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