Chat – Sticking To The Program
Kerry V (Aus) When I started with SM I found that I had to go through a lot of sorting out such as, how to teach clearly, how to have conversations, how to study, etc. Sometimes Neil would have some advice as to how to do something, and most times I followed it. However there were times I felt I wanted go it alone – that is when I realized that going it alone, or my way, was not the way after all.
I would change the conversation around a little or not have conversations with people and found that, of course, I didn’t get anywhere except for being frustrated with, firstly, the fact that not enough students were coming through the door. Secondly, I had to realize that what caused the problem was the fact I ‘strayed’ from the advice, teachings, and training guidelines etc.
Ramona (USA) What do you mean by ‘straying’? Did you change the method of delivery significantly?
Kerry V (Aus) I realized that what Neil had gone through, through trials and errors, resulted in him identifying the right track and to staying there….”straying” meant that I went along to some degree but also did things differently to what was I was being taught.
Kerry V (Aus) I didn’t change the method terribly much. It may have been more rushing into the teaching, expecting students to ‘get it’ sooner than they did….or using different conversations to what has been delivered to us, not just in my own words, but conversation that really were not a part of SM.
I didn’t stray terribly much because I didn’t have any other music background other than SM to compare it to or work with. However it was more my self-confidence, or lack of it, at the beginning, that caused a lot of my wanting to do it ‘my way’.
Ramona (USA) As a former classroom teacher, and a homeschool teacher for the past 16 years, I find that I have a tendency to want to do things my way, too. I find it difficult to totally follow someone else’s curriculum.
Kerry V (Aus) Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that bad, but bad enough though to stop students from coming back. This taught me that what Neil had developed was very exact, and, the more I then stuck to the program, the more my students started to roll through the door and stay with me for much longer.
Yes, so you can understand the want to move away a bit, however I really get it now that it is best to just follow the method. This doesn’t mean we have to use every word of Neil’s as rote….. I do use my own words for my personality and I have found that the more I teach and learn SM the more I am able to make it more from me rather than from, “oh what do I say now?” as if trying to remember Neil’s words If you know what I mean?
Ramona (USA) I do know what you mean.
Kerry V (Aus) After I “saw the light” of Neil’s way, I was interested to notice what was happening with students. The ones who followed my instructions were the ones who benefited the most. The ones who didn’t failed in some area and so therefore, they just assumes that SM was not for them and they left. Really it was because I had misrepresented the Program… they weren’t really doing SM, but more so my version of it.
Whenever a student wrote his own notes be it in the back of the book, on the main page or anywhere else, they all, without fail, progressed poorly and ultimately left as they were not really getting the ‘new way of learning ‘
The students who didn’t the way Neil prescribes, also fail ……
I am finding I am having less and less students stray from the program, because I stick to it, and I get on to them about a particular issues when they don’t. For example, the other day an adult’s Notebook was ‘added’ to, and so this was a great time to have the ‘no adding to the book’ conversation.
Ramona (USA) Do I say the same thing to a mother of a 6 year old, who is taking the notes for him? I noticed this last week that she had added a couple of little notes so that she would remember something.
Kerry V (Aus) Yes, exactly right. People watching more of the video than they should are also spoken to immediately, and the response is usually that of respect for me, shock that they have indeed been ‘reprimanded’ for something (especially adults), and then they go on with doing what I say.
You do not need to ‘tell’ them off, however the sooner you show them who knows what SM is really about, and that taking extra notes is not ideal and that if she continues to do so she is not learning the ‘new way of learning’ and can be hampering her child from learning clearly her/himself. ….
The longer you leave the conversation, the more difficult it is for you to stop the habit. ….
Ramona (USA) I missed a lesson with this same little boy last week (it’s a private lesson). I had to go to a funeral. When he came this week with his mother, they had finished the song we were on (Night Storm), and he played it perfectly. I didn’t say anything, because I felt it was my fault that we had missed the lesson, and he really needed to move on. I perhaps should have given her permission to do so over the phone?
Kerry V (Aus) they will learn soon enough that they can trust you as the employed teacher and the process in which you are teaching.
Ramona (USA) I’m still learning what to do and say the first time I am confronted with a new issue.
Kerry V (Aus) Yes, it is hard in those times when they have just started and full of enthusiasm – however, they must trust you. One of the hardest things is to ‘confront’ people, however done in a manner which is caring, understanding and coming from knowing the program, you will soon learn that it is a matter of conversation, not confrontation that helps them. After you have spoken, you ask if they have any questions or need to say something about the matter. If they don’t, then go on with the class as if nothing has happened; however they know you will be watching them…..
Ramona (USA) I have many friends who are my students or parents. It’s a change in our relationship to be in a teacher/student format, when one of us clearly is “in charge” or in control of the other.
Kerry V (Aus) Remember too that when you see someone writing extra notes, tell them as well as the class that you will be checking them and that it should not be done. If it is done again, you go over the conversation again.
Ramona (USA) So far I have been writing the notes on a little whiteboard, and having the students copy them word for word, children and adults alike. We have kept them very sparse.
Kerry V (Aus) This can be difficult, however, if you went to them to fix your car you would trust them if they told you not to drive over potholes as this is doing the axel damage (or whatever) – so why should it be different with you teaching?
Ramona (USA) Yes, I know . . .
Kerry V (Aus) This comes from you. Your attitude towards the friends/teacher issue.
When you are clear in yourself that although you are still friends, when you are teaching you have your teaching role, you will do your friends no favor if you continue to get the two relationships mixed.
Ramona (USA) I’m trying hard with that one. It’s working easier with some than with others. I am having trouble keeping with all capital letters in the notes book. As a former Kindergarten teacher, I find it hard . . .
Kerry V (Aus) It is a discipline you will have to learn so maybe for a while just write in caps and also include your students, get them to jump on you every time you do lower case.
Ramona (USA) As a former Kindergarten teacher, I know that the little ones are learning at school how to use upper and lower case correctly, and I feel like I’m going against that teaching. Do you know what the logic is in all caps?
Kerry V (Aus) The logic is to make your notes as clear as possible so to make the reading and referring to your books easier and not put it off because you cannot ‘read’ your own notes clearly. Neil has a very deep belief about this, and it is really multi-layered. You should speak to him more about this. I know about the end result though of not doing it his way, and it’s just not as good. Was that clear:)?
Ramona (USA) Yes – do you understand the confusion with the little kids, though? I don’t want them to lose confidence in me because I am going against what their “dear teacher” at school tells them.
Kerry V (Aus) I do, and I joke with them and say ‘wow, that must be confusing for you, go to school and do lower case and come to me and do capitals. Oh well you know where you are then don’t you?”
Ramona (USA) That’s good.
Kerry V (Aus) Adults tend to write in lower case too so it is just a discipline.
Ramona (USA) I have disciplined myself to do so.
Kerry V (Aus) They only go against you if you think they are..
In other words, relax, trust the process, know that everything you have been taught works and the only time it doesn’t is when people do it their way. It takes time to do so however every conversation you have is a new one, and you become more confident and more ‘you’ as you go along. The only two reasons people have left me are because they didn’t follow my instruction and they wrote their own notes…besides moving house, financial problems etc. however the more I have taught the less this has happened.
Ramona (USA) Writing their own notes is that major? Do you mean they should not add a “jot or a tittle” to what you instruct them to write? That’s what I’m expecting so far, but I’m understanding that will always be the case then?
Kerry V (Aus) NO NOTES WHAT SO EVER!!!!! Just handle the conversations gently and with understanding, and check up on them each lesson. Again, the students who follow me every step of the way are not having ANY problems at all. Some of them started writing notes, and as soon as I saw it I talked to them about it and they stopped. The next week they have whited it out and not written any thing since.
Ramona (USA) I have this little rebellious part of me deep inside that finds it hard to accept that ‘the program’ is so perfect, that the student will never come up with anything on his own to write down that will benefit him/her. Do you know what I mean?
Kerry V (Aus) Some keep asking why but after awhile they see I am not going to let up and they actually start to listen to me. Yes, I am rebellious too and that is why I had problems in the beginning. The program works and so therefore, in your words, is perfect enough….. there is always room for improvement, however the way we handle the students at present – well, if it ‘aint broke why fix it?
Ramona (USA) I have an aversion to the pyramid-type sales programs, and have been turned off in the past by the talk that “the product” is the cure all to everything. So when I hear that type of teaching from SM, I have to sort out whether what I’m being taught here is really true and worthy of my trust. I think it’s okay to question and test. I guess if I’m doing that, I can’t be surprised if some students feel that way, too. Overall, I haven’t run into this yet. I’m just sorting out my own thoughts, reactions, etc. I have enjoyed the SM training, and so far, have found everything is working the way Neil and others said it would work. So, I am happy!
Kerry V (Aus) Everything Neil says has turned out to be true. This is a fact, but go into why you joined up in the first place. The conversations had an effect on you then and it seems to me there are lots of thoughts that you possibly could be let go of now as you realize that SM works, and just get on with it….. question things as they come up. I understand the Pyramid selling however this is different as you know.
Ramona (USA) Yes, I do know.
Kerry V (Aus) we are talking on a level of self-growth, and with that, self-gain for teacher and student alike….I still enjoy my teaching SM and hope to be teaching it in other 20, 30 or more years, I am 44 now, and I often wonder what it would be like then, and truly I hope it doesn’t change too much from where the foundation is, as it works…..I have seen it too much to doubt the validity of SM Foundation program being the success it is today.