|My sentiments EXACTLY, Thomas!|
Doug and I finished up piano lessons this week. This was his first year teaching in our studio so he was a bit surprised at the teacher's view of the end of the year.
Junah came in for his last lesson with his usual smile. I greeted him, "Well, today's the last lesson. Aren't you happy not to see me again after this?" His smile broadened and he started to nod and say yes, then caught himself. Big brown eyes looked at me, not wanting to hurt my feelings. "It's OK, Honey, I'm glad not to see you again too. . .even though I love you. Teachers love summer too!" It was news to him as well.
We end with a music party. It includes my own version of some old games. We play Pin-the-Flag-on-the-Eighth-Note and kids play the piano fast for musical chairs. I promise the parents that I will spoil their kids' appetites for supper. No apologies for sugar.
Once outside, I handed off my camera to an older student. Here's what Jeremy captured.
One distinct advantage to teaching piano is that we retain the same students, sometimes for years. Usually during high school we lose them to sports or college. Seeing them begin at age 8 or 9, feet dangling above the floor beneath the piano bench, we introduce them to a new language. When they leave us, often they continue to grow musically. Our hearts and lives are bonded for life.
I recently asked an intermediate student, "Do you remember your fist lesson, how strange those black dots on the staff looked?" A knowing smile beamed across her face.
I love what I do, love the kids and the music. We share a closeness because of the one-on-one weekly time. We see them right after a full day at school, full of whatever the day held. It's an honor to go beyond the role of teacher, sometimes co-parenting. These are a sampling of what I hear from the piano bench:
"I'm sick and tired of the bullies calling me a nerd."
"I cheated on a Bible test today. My mom just yelled at me in the car."
"My teacher's husband died yesterday."
So we keep tissues and a soft shoulder ready too. If they stay through the years, we hear:
"The girls think I'm cool now when I play piano."
"My youth group wants me to play with the praise band. Can you help me with these songs?"
|This is Courtney with her little sister, Callie. I taught big sis and now little. Callie is not so little though. The lovely teen is the one who played last week for her youth band and asked for my help with the lead sheets. Blessed!|
Parents probably feel this exhilaration both at the beginning and the end of summer. This is a funny, but accurate, snapshot of how parents begin and end the school year.
It's not that we don't love our kids, speaking for the parent and the teacher in me. We're just all ready for a break. By the end of summer parents are thrilled to send them back to us. We're equally excited to see them.
Enjoy your summer off! We will too.