Categories

Tag Cloud Block
This is an example. Double-click here and select a page to create a cloud of its tags or categories. Learn more.
Ten Tips for Tired Teachers

Ten Tips for Tired Teachers

Why is Annie yawning? Can't she tell I only got three hours of sleep last night?

No matter how hard we try, the late afternoon hours are challenging for students and teachers alike.

Here are my favorite ways to combat fatigue, exhaustion, boredom and just plain weariness in myself or my student or both of us.

1. Talk Funny.

I'm serious. If you want to get a student's attention, nothing works quite as well as sounding like someone else. I've written about using a southern (American) accent in Try A Drawl. If you have trouble doing accents, just talk like someone you know who has a funny voice. It doesn't have to be consistent. Just change the way you sound. 

2. Reverse the Roles

If you want to spice up a lesson, kick your student off the bench and put her in the teaching chair. Play something and see how she reacts. For example:

Eloise was having trouble playing the accompaniment quietly enough. I played the accompaniment SO LOUDLY that the melody was inaudible. "How was THAT?" I asked eagerly, grinning from ear-to-ear.

"Um, well...I think that you need to play the left hand a little softer."

So I'd play it a tiny bit softer. Still far too loud.

You've got the idea.

Here's a video showing another way to reverse the roles:

The piece is Cool Ghouls by Melody Bober.

3. Stop talking. Use your hands. Use THEIR hands.

Is there a way to teach what you're trying without saying anything? Could you demonstrate the concept with manipulatives?

Here are some examples of manipulatives

4. Japanese Puzzle Erasers

A must-have for any teacher of young children, Japanese Puzzle Erasers come in almost every kind of animal.

A must-have for any teacher of young children, Japanese Puzzle Erasers come in almost every kind of animal.

Posts about using Puzzle Erasers to teach:

5. Stickers

It may sound odd to bring out the stickers when you and your student are floundering, but it's one of the best times to use them. Here are two posts with specific methods for using stickers other than as rewards.

6. Thumb Puppets

Getting the focus off me and onto something whimsical is always a plus. Read more here...

7. Stand Up.

Get both you and the student up and off the bench. Even a 30-second walk around the room can help. Ask for help putting away some music. Kids love to help. Whatever you do, don't give in to the fatigue. and let their flagging energy weigh you down. Pull up your energy AND theirs.

8. Try an energizing hand lotion or essential oil.

My favorite hand lotion. It always perks me up when I'm sleepy.

My favorite hand lotion. It always perks me up when I'm sleepy.

This is the blend that I like the best. I know it sounds kind of hokey, but it really does wake me when I'm feeling sleepy.

This is the blend that I like the best. I know it sounds kind of hokey, but it really does wake me when I'm feeling sleepy.

Activating your sense of smell can bring you back to your body, space and time. Here are the two I use almost every day. Also works well to cover any unintended smells emitted by anyone in the room.

9. Break it down into teensy fragments and use incentives.

Miniature Incentive Charts like this Owl Chart can turn miniature goals into games.

Miniature Incentive Charts like this Owl Chart can turn miniature goals into games.

Too often we forget that kids' sense of time is completely different than ours. Miniature incentives can work wonders. Read more about using mini-incentives for mini-tasks here...

10. Play a recording for your student.

Listening to a recording can offer a much-needed break for both of you. Listening while following the score can give you an opportunity to discuss the music without it being specifically about the student's performances. There are scads of recordings I've made of standard teaching literature available as single tracks and in albums. Most single tracks are only 99 cents and it's worth more than that if it saves a failing lesson.

Here's to staying a little more alert on the long winter afternoons!

Ten Tips for Teaching Teens

Ten Tips for Teaching Teens

Cole "Cleans Up His Hand"

Cole "Cleans Up His Hand"

0