Over the years I have had the opportunity of teaching many students varying in age from 5 years old on up to 72. Regardless of the age of the student I have found one important element in the equation of educating each individual… having patience. Giving the student time to absorb the material and understanding that it doesn’t have to happen “Right This Very Second”.
The other day I had a student that was having the hardest time getting a groove down that I had written out. They were getting the pattern right but not executing it cleanly, or playing it in proper time. As I kept counting out the pattern while they made numerous attempts I became anxious. I wanted them to get it and understand it so that we could have more time to work on other material. At that point the attention was set on the student just “getting it out of the way” so we could move on. How selfish of me to think that way. This student was trying hard and getting frustrated and all I could think about was moving past it for my own reasons.. I caught myself in that moment and realized that I wasn’t doing my part in handling the situation the right way. I wasn’t showing frustration in the moment but more so a lack of enthusiasm. I took in a breath and asked the student to stop playing and just relax a moment. We then took a slower approach to the pattern, breaking it down into 2 or three sections. I asked “How do you eat an elephant”? The student replied with laughter and said what!? I answered “One bite at a time”. Just a few minutes later we had the pattern down right before our 30 minute session was over. They were ecstatic that they could finally play the groove that they had been working on for most of the lesson. Did it matter that it took longer than expected? No. I thought it did in the moment but what really mattered was the final result and the look on their face when it was executed properly. A sense of pride and accomplishment.
I tell this story because we as educators get caught up sometimes in how we feel during these growing periods for our students and it can hinder the learning experience for them. Just think if someone would have gave you more time when you were learning a new craft… think about not feeling rushed, not having that pressure on your shoulders. It makes the experience more enjoyable for the student and it gives them the sense that it’s ok to take a moment to absorb what is being taught. Of course there are exceptions if the student isn’t practicing or trying but in this case I’m talking about building patience as the educator.
“It’s ok to make mistakes. You’re not going to get in trouble in here. We just need to make sure that we learn from them and work hard to improve so that we do not continue to make them over and over again”.
I tell this to all of my students. This will actually make for another cool blog post… stay tuned…
So again I say take your time in educating those that are coming up. Give them your full attention and time. In their time of frustration we could be what determines if they stick with the task at hand or we could ultimately be the reason that they give up. Sometimes patience is all that we need.