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What Teachers Wish Parents Knew

What EVERY teacher wants to say but usually can't afford to say...

"It is the teacher's responsibility to make their kid practice."
  Nope!  That's the student's job!  And even if the parent took to that task, they will find that not even they can "make" their kid practice. The short of it is this - and it's really a simple fix: If your child won't make time to practice, stop paying for their lessons.  The end.  And you thought Dr. Phil was going to have to get involved...

  As a drum instructor it is my job to provide to your child the method, knowledge, techniques, perspective and example of how to drum - or "percuss".  It is your child's job to show up with a hydrated frontal lobe and a modicum of enthusiasm &/or curiosity.  Sidenote: If a child is lucky, the parent's may be able to support their child's interests by paying for lessons which is a privilege - not an entitlement; and if they are dismissive of that privilege by not involving themselves with practice - then pull the plug! There is nothing I as the teacher can do to workaround this.

  There's also an acceepted factor of distraction. Most students are so inexplicably distracted they don't have the wherewithal to be embarrassed for their lack of attention.  Most do not review their lesson material or even listen to the songs we reference in lessons. They can't even be bothered to bring their own sticks and notebook but they sure as hell will have their cell phone (replete with cracked screen).  This sadly is a reflection of the culture.  And if teachers fired every student that came in with the attention span of a heroin addict freshly out of rehab - well - now were talking about not being able to eat.  So effectively, culture places educational discipline and accountability as a mere formality.  Otherwise many parents have their kids so over-booked with sports, by the time they come to a lesson they don't even know where they came from.  (I actually had a lesson once bumped for a kid's involvement in a chess club meeting.  Checkmate!)  Sports is a hard nut to crack because it touches on the social viability and relevance factor for the student and parent.  However in contrast, music lessons is all about the individual.  There's no "reward" save for what one gets out of their effort.  But if personal motivation is that weak that it needs "rewards" based on being noticed at every step maybe Abraham Maslow had it all wrong?  Except he didn't.  Discipline is a righteous and uncomplicated litmus.  The rewards from that are great but it doesn't require accomplishments to be posted for all to see.

  Too many think knowledge is microwavable in direct correlation with the speed in which they can look up something on youtube.  An offended parent by this point of view once told me, "Sorry my child isn't perfect."  And so was I....so was I.  If discipline makes you wince; If the smell of accountability makes you feel lethargic, that's okay, but you don't get to have a say in what constitutes educational standards.

Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms? I'm open to read your thoughts!