Updated: Jun 11
I started teaching groups in 1997, when myself and a group of other music tutors arrived into a newly created State Funded Music School in the outskirts of Madrid. It was an exciting project, and I felt in a way prepared to start delivering classes after all the training I had received, including teaching training, and some other shorter term teaching experiences.
I had a choir to lead, different groups of children and teenagers and some individual voice lessons for adults. In spite of all the training and previous experiences, something was not going very well. Students where not many times paying attention, I did not have any tools to manage unruly behaviour both in children and in adults. Or invasive behaviours, or being asked by other colleages to do things I did not really want to do and was not supposed to. Navigating the human side of things was not always easy, and I would feel happier when practicing singing at home or performing in a concert.
Other more senior tutor said to me when I was a begginer:
"You just need to practice, and then every teaching session will become as easy as like drinking a glass of water".
Except that it wasn't like drinking a glass of water. At least not for me. When it came to navigating other people's different personalities, conflict and bad behaviour, it was never getting to be like drinking water. My glass of water was quite splashy, too full, too little water. The water used to overspill. Practising with the same self awareness I had and behaviour patterns was not giving me anything new, and my stress levels where high.
There was one morning where I thought I was not going to be able to teach anymore, as I would wake up with a feeling of stones in my stomach just to think on specific difficult students.
The rest is history. I love teaching. I love observing people and behaviours and finding opportunities for growth. But it was only by learning instrospection and a number of paths that I chose to open, how I managed to relax, watch and learn from my students. And get results, and get the most the process, which turned out to be also a process of receiving and not just from giving to my students.
Since then I have delivered sessions in challenging envinroments, worked for the NHS, for the British Red Cross, taught classroom management to teachers, delivered suicice interventions and I am always learning on how can I be more present and dedicated whilst looking after myself, as I do what I am passionate about.
Be like the water. It seems to be enjoing it's way!