Students Missing and Getting Behind
Found in: Uncategorized
David L., North Carolina
This was my first summer teaching groups, and it has been frustrating to say the least. With vacations and such, it just doesn’t work. It’s not even about the money because I can convince the parents to pay no matter what, but then the students/parents who don’t go out of town end up frustrated because they are wasting their time going over old material. I’ve told them over and over to get together or call another student but they just don’t have time or won’t do it. This is also an issue during the school year, but not as much as the summer. Sure I can tell them to watch the DVD on any new songs, but what about everything that is NOT on the DVD (which is at least half of the assignments)? Any suggestions would be very helpful.
Maureen K., California
I totally sympathize about the difficulty of summer groups! My families go off to spend a month in China or India. Others are busy with summer camps and vacations.
I’ve finally settled on making summer a performance and polishing time. My students performed every other week at one or another retirement home. They also came to Refine to Shine classes, kind of like my office hours where they could sign up for any time slot (not restricted to their normal lesson time) and polish up their performance pieces. Students could attend as many performances and RFS classes as their schedules allowed.
I got the summer performance idea from another teacher. There was also a discussion of how to handle summer last spring on the ECL with some other great ideas; not sure if it made it onto the FAQ page on the SM website.
Finally, I also handed out Playlist Challenges, which a teacher posted here on the ECL. I was so grateful for that. I handed it out mid summer but next summer I’ll make sure they have it in the beginning… some of my students’ playlists did get rusty this summer.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
Maureen has some good suggestions. I also did a playlist challenge this summer. Some other ideas are to use optional auxiliary programs in the summer while keeping the playlist strong. You can still progress in foundation/arr/acc but maybe at a slower pace while you do the other projects.
Examples – Songs for Children, Piano Windows, Foundation Duets
Offer a ‘catch up’ session outside of regular class time for those who have been out of town. You can charge extra for this or not. You can offer group or individual ‘catch up’ sessions. It’s your studio; you make the rules according to what works for you. I would recommend that if you decide on this option that you get it in writing in your policies so people know what to expect.
There has been a lot of great input from teachers in the past regarding how they handle summer schedules. You might check the FAQs if you haven’t already.
Brenda D., Colorado
I would use the opportunity to give those students that are attending extra projects like variations, arrangements and also composition assignments. That will continue to help them feel challenged, and their families will feel like they are learning something and not being held back by the absences of others. I have found that groups have their challenges, but I find that I am much more inspired as a teacher while I am teaching groups.