The time I decided to become a guitar teacher.

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Hello, my dear readers! If you would have told me two or three years ago that I will try working as a teacher, I would have laughed in your face. Honestly. I knew that I was going to have a job in my last year of high school but becoming a teacher was the very last option on a list. Why, you may ask? For example, I was pretty sure that I won’t get a long with the kids. Maybe because I was bullied in my childhood or maybe just because I’m not a very social being in general. However, times have passed, things have changed and I have improved myself, too. I’m no longer that quiet person, hiding behind all others and hoping that no one will ever ask me anything. I’m no longer so secretive and I enjoy meeting new people (as long as there aren’t too many of them at once and they aren’t too loud). Now back to my story of how I even got there. No secrets here – I was quite often visitor of job boards on some sites and was trying to find ways to get a job since I was about 17 years old. And no, not any job! I would lack patience to pick strawberries on a field, so I wanted to find something more serious and at the end of this summer I did. I came across advertisement about school that was looking for a guitar teacher. Somehow I got the job pretty quickly despite the lack of my middle school diploma, not even talking about diploma that would prove I have higher education in music or pedagogy. But at these times my friends from school got their guitar teaching jobs, too because there are so many schools in Latvia where guitar teachers are needed but there aren’t just so many of us. Also, not all of those, who teach guitar have proper experience and knowledge. But the story doesn’t end here – with me getting a job and 10 students to teach. Few days later I got a phone call from another school that also needed a guitar teacher and the offered me 5 to 7 students. What do you think I did? As a maximalist I am, I agreed to that job, too. Somehow I just love to agree too many or too hard tasks and then, even if it’s through pain and tears, prove myself that I can do them. I guess, the inner me just has a strong belief that I am a super woman and can do anything. Who knows – maybe it’s not that far from the truth.

Now let’s jump forward to the time school starts. I thought I was able to manage everything pretty smoothly but the time I saw my school schedule and what kind of homework I had to do, I was close to freaking out. No one told me that last year will be this hard. I kind of thought that just because Math, English, History and Latvian exams are in the past, my life will get easier. It did not. In fact I’d rather take English, History and Latvian lessons again, if I could just get rid of Music history, Form and Polyphony. Anyways, I managed to pack most of the lessons in my school days and put last four on Saturday. You might think that working on a Saturday is a complete torture but it’s not. I wake up early, have a cup of coffee, get some things done around the home and then go to work which starts at 1 p.m. My schedule is more packed than ever but as a maximalist I am, I feel like I can do more stuff done when I actually have more stuff to do. Pro tip – keeping a bullet journal makes doing a lot of tasks way easier and you will not forget them, if you write them down. It is an exciting challenge for me every day – let’s see, how much of these I can do. And sometimes I manage to do everything I have on the list. But enough about organizing process of it. I’ll dive in more details on how things are going in the job itself.

I have been teaching almost for two weeks and there are few things I have already realized. Teaching is definitely not an easy job but it is more interesting (and sometimes even fun!) than I would have thought. Sometimes it seems kind of monotone when I have to repeat notes and fingers of a scale to a kid for 20 minutes until my brain gives up and I start messing them up myself. But sometimes it’s fun when I try to explain something him with a pinch of humor and the kid not only laughs but also understands what I am trying to teach him. At least for now I feel like I’m doing pretty well and still studying myself while teaching gives me some kind of advantage because I can relate so well to kids, who try to do their best but things don’t work out right away. And still having my inner child is great  because I can easily joke around and explain them things as simple as possible, and slowly gain the trust of my students. For now I’m kind of “winging” the whole teaching process and trying out different things because it’s something new for me but I’m definetly happy that I’m gaining this kind of experience. Nothing compares to the feeling when I had a good lesson with a kid, he was open and thirsty for some knowledge and at the end I am able to give him a good grade.

Maybe following my gut is the best thing to do in this job for now. All the talks about being understanding yet strict and “doing things the right way” can really mess up head of a young teacher, so I’m not thinking too hard and doing everything my own way. In some way I could consider the way I teach as a creative expression. Even though I need to know the main tasks, it is one big improvisation. When a kid comes to my lesson, I don’t know what to expect. Maybe he will have done his homework, maybe not. Maybe he will work in a lesson, maybe he won’t but I have to be prepared for everything, stay open-minded, be understanding yet separate their bullshit from the truth. It sounds like a hard task but maybe it’s not for me. Let’s be honest – I’ve been telling lies to my teachers many times, too and sometimes I still do. It’s pretty easy to smell someone else’s bullshit a mile away. And when I do, there are two choices to make – honest talk or bad grade. No matter, how the kid is doing, I need to see that he’s trying to improve and be his best. If he’s doing that, I will highly appreciate not wasting my time and give him a good grade. So simple.

So that’s about it about my adventures of becoming a teacher and working as one. I have to do a morning workout now and go to work later but I will definitely return next week with new and exciting blog post. Have a lovely and productive day, and do what you love!

Love, Porcelain Doll.