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Private Teacher/Public Teacher Hostility

Sorry for the lack of more academic writing this week.  I am in a workshop all week and am getting in late every night.  So I just don’t have the time for the article reviews this week, but definitely will be back with that next week!

This week, I am fascinated by the public teacher vs. private teacher relationship.  I have had some very interesting experiences this week and in the past.  There are so many varieties, as will all things, but there are certain attitudes between the two different teachers that need to be examined.

Before I jump into all of this in greater detail, let me say how much I love the private teachers in my area.  I think that there is a great mutual respect in Northern Virginia between both and we are able to easily see the ways in which we help each other out.  I also think that there are many private teachers in this area who genuinely love teaching and make huge difference.

This week, I have experienced an extremely negative attitude towards public music teachers within the workshop I am attending.  And let me be clear that it is not the workshop team but the participants.  In fact, the faculty members for the workshop have tried to address some of the hostility which I greatly appreciate.

During introductions yesterday, it was clear that there was a wide variety within our workshop of private teachers, public teachers, and professional violinists and violists.  I was really excited about this combination and hoping that we could all learn from each other.  Unfortunately, many of the private teachers at the very beginning of the workshop made mention of the “remediation” necessary with public school teaching.   And I truly wish I could convey the tone with which this was spoken because I feel that the words don’t even come close to the accusation which was thrown at myself and my dear music educators.  One of the participants even said “Well, I am, like many of you, in that, performance didn’t really work out for me, so now I’m teaching,” as she rolls her eyes…

Eye Roll

I nearly said something right then and there but I stopped myself.  But then….  Today, one of the teachers commented on the members of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA ❤ ) and how members range all the way from violin professors, to private teachers, all the way down to even public school teachers…. “All the way down to….” As if we are the bottom of the barrel, no further down than us… I was so grateful to our coordinator for speaking up for us at that moment!  She immediately said, “Let’s not say down… We are grateful to have members across a wide variety.”

But seriously!  I kept thinking in my mind that we should have a lesson within this workshop of how we can help one another.  Because the relationship that I have with so many private teachers in this area is immensely beneficial to both of us.  I teach hundreds of students and then I encourage all of them to take private lessons.  Some will, most won’t, but I still encourage it.  Then, my students take private lessons with these wonderful teachers in this area and they do become more refined players and they advance much faster with a private teacher.  Then, they come back and rub off a little bit each time on my own students.  It is really a beautiful process when there is respect between all parties.

Also, when I get together with my private teacher friends, we often share teaching techniques and learn so much from one another.

So… to sum up my rather whiny post… We must all be open to learning from one another, to experiencing that of a friend, and to welcoming new ideas.  We must be aware of a negative attitude we might sometimes portray, for this negativity gives an impression of hostility and a mind trapped in a cage.

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