Have you ever lost your temper and raised your voice at a child for not being able to understand what you were teaching or saying?
I have had countless experiences of losing my head. Fortunately, today I am grateful that I have a chance to share with you some of the ideas I discovered that helped me understand the situation and provide myself with peace when handling a child that does not understand what I was teaching.
One of the amazing benefits of teaching is this:
- Children can take home one learning point and still have fun in the classroom.
- Teachers can take home one learning point and still have fun too!
Here’s an experience I would like to share with you.
I made a mistake of harassing a child to get an answer. The more she was at it, the more errors she made. Instead of raising my voice, I took a different tack.
Time for a music nap – this is an intentional break from music work to rest the mind of the student and teacher.
It takes a lot of courage and humility for a perfectionist teacher to say “stop, let’s do something else.”
It requires me to develop a sense of awareness of my own emotions before I could self-regulate them.
I wondered why I could be ‘heartless’ in my teaching – it was creating fear among the students. Here are several reasons I discovered:
- I was stressed for time. “Exam is coming and you still can’t do this?”
- I was insensitive to the child’s state of being – too tired, something happened in school, feeling a lack of self-confidence, etc.
- I was filled with pride and ego – no student of mine will leave the room without learning to do this and that
- I was worried what parents may think if I did not teach this and that
Here’s another learning point I recently discovered why I could get ‘heartless’ in my teaching style:
I had expectations of the child.
I graded myself and gave myself a 3 out of 10 for a music theory lesson I had with Emily. I was thinking ‘how could she not know this?’ My voice was impatient and adamant.
At the end of the class, the girl’s facial expression said it all – she was afraid of me.
Next lesson, she didn’t turn up for class. I decided to change my teaching style. When she turned up for class the following week, I was on charm-offensive mode and I used colors to appeal to her visual learning style.
It worked. When Emily’s mom came into the classroom later, she said to the kid “See? No need to be afraid of the teacher, right?”
The girl smiled and nodded.
Wow… What a feedback for me – I didn’t want my students to be fearful of me.
I seized the chance and spoke to the kid. “I made a mistake in how I taught you last lesson because I did not know your learning style. Thank you for giving me a chance to try out this way of teaching! Is this ok for you?’
Emily nodded and smiled, and today, I notice that her understanding of theory concepts have improved so much!