Seth Godin is an author and marketing guru and the man behind the idea of permission marketing. In his daily blog, he writes with succinct and sometimes painful clarity on marketing, respect, our society and the way ideas spread. I find his writings always give me something to think about and often, as in this post, something to write about.
In a recent blog post called “Those People,” Seth describes his shock and grief in response to an educator’s characterization of some of her students. This woman had written off many of her students as people incapable of achieving greatness and therefore somehow undeserving of the education they sought.
This led me to consider my responsibility as a harp teacher. What am I called on to do for each of my students? What should I require from each of them? And what is the greatest good I can do for each?
I came up with some essential guideposts for my interactions with my students, whether in a lesson, a performance or just in conversation.
It is my duty and privilege to…
…help her find her path.
I will open new experiences to her, giving her a wide range of musical choices. At the same time, I will give her a firm technical foundation, passing on the knowledge my teachers gave to me.
…pull him along his path.
I will help him seek opportunities for stretching toward his goals and dreams, staying focused and purposeful, but flexible.
…inspire her by example, mine and others.
There is an old saying that you can’t push a rope. As a teacher I must lead from the front, showing her the path I take and the paths others take. I will be generous and truthful,
as well as grateful for her trust.
Lastly, I will remind myself and my student, in a paraphrase of Seth Godin, every student is capable of his or her own harp greatness…at least once.
How can you implement these guideposts in your teaching?