Walking a mile in their shoes

Weekly Teaching Tip – Oct. 27, 2014
by Aimee Geddes

A good friend of mine with whom I went to college and now work with in the musical theater department at a high school has often said to me, “I wish I could go back and do college again and redo voice lessons again. I would be such a better student now than I was then.” So why don’t we?
I have often felt this same way as well from time to time and feel that as Teachers, we also need to remain Students.

Three benefits of remaining a student while teaching:
1. Humility. Sometimes, as teachers, it is easy to feel like we have “arrived” simply because we are teaching other people how to do what we have already learned how to do. I have found that the teachers I have learned the most from, are those who don’t believe they “know it ALL” but are those who are very willing to admit that while they have acquired a vast amount of knowledge up to this point, there is also more for them to learn. When we remain a student, we allow ourselves to gain this knowledge and then pass it onto our students. Making them better singers and musicians.

2. Growth. When you are a student, you may be taking more than just voice lessons. What about showmanship or stage presence seminars, acting classes. How are your piano skills? If they are not up to par, consider taking piano lessons or guitar lessons. The point is to GROW as much as you can in your own talents. If you are humble, growth is easy although it does take a LOT of work!

3. Connection. Once your students realize you are on their side and know exactly what it feels like to be where they are, they will respect you more. It is hard to learn from someone who has never had to struggle. But they will trust your methods if you explain to them that you had to go through the same thing they are experiencing and you know how to help them overcome it.

So, if you are not a student as well as a teacher, I encourage you to choose one area that you would like to improve upon and study. Study as though you can’t get enough. You will reap the rewards and grow not only as a student, but also as a teacher.

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