Most of my music lessons I plan – and also can pretty much tell you the outcome of what will happen (unless there’s something really odd happening, and the kids are really hard work). I’ll be able to tell you which kids will struggle, which of them will be able to do most of the lesson etc. I make it my business to watch things very carefully, although it might look like I’m just horsing around up the front (someone once said to me after a day teaching Early Childhood Lessons ‘Rachel, I don’t know why you are so tired. You’re really just rolling around on the floor with children….’. I’m not sure whether to take this as a total insult (you are doing nothing with these kids), or a compliment (you make this look so easy) – who knows.).
But every so often, I’ll plan something for a class that is actually really hard. I’m not sure how most of the kids will cope. And these lessons start like this….
“So….. year four. I’m going to teach you something I don’t think you’ll be able to do.” Children start grinning.
“I think I’ve chosen the wrong thing. I think this is too hard for you. If you are sitting next to someone you are going to be distracted by, could you move now.” Children continue to grin. A few kids will get up and move, and nearly always make good choices about where they will sit.
“OK. Here we go….. this will probably be too difficult, but let’s give it a try.”
And do you know what? These lessons have always worked. Kids try their damnedest. They all concentrate. They all achieve. And they all go out of the music lesson feeling really good about what they’ve done.
Would adults do that, I wonder? If you were told that something was too hard for you, would you throw yourself into it? I think most of us would say no. We’d walk away. So when does this change? When do we stop grinning at a challenge, and when do we start only staying in our comfort zone?