Teaching Your Own Children…or Not?!
So it turns out, I’m a pretty natural teacher. Had I not gone into the music industry I am sure I would have been a full-time teacher. At one point I even left the music industry on the worker bee day job side to teach music for LA Unified…(I was probably one of the last emergency credential recipients before they stopped issuing them).
I am super glad I got that experience and saw that I can do all the things I did that year. I had five different schools, a different school every day. I taught music theory, choral performance and rhythm instruments to hundreds of elementary school kids across Los Angeles. And then….
Boom! I got pregnant with my first child Karissa! Needless to say teaching music for LA unified didn’t go beyond that one school year almost 14 years ago. Karissa was a little whippersnapper and curious about everything and we could tell pretty early on had the music genes. If you are like us, you’ve chosen for the mom to try and work part time wherever she can and stay home with the kids, (since truthfully in my opinion, working a full-time job would only serve to pay for the very expensive childcare that’s out there and then the kids don’t even have the benefit of having the mom around). This being our case, another way I chose to try and save money was to teach my own kids piano lessons.
It worked for a little while, but my oldest child is determined and naturally competitive! She would see me playing all my fast little classical Bach pieces when I would actually sit down, take a break and do it, and then would not really have the patience to let me teach her very beginning piano. She didn’t understand that you couldn’t start at the level I was at. There was heavy sighing and a lot of compromised listening. A lot of body language messages that said loud and clear “I don’t really want you teaching me piano since you already are teaching me other things in life and I’m always with you!”. Perhaps it was as simple as her just being tired of hearing the same voice all the time.
This is where “Mrs. Klavierstuuck” (German for “piano play”) came in. I even tried to teach Karissa and then three-year-old Micah piano by putting on a disguise, going outside the house, ringing the doorbell and having them answer. I whipped out my fake, bad Eastern European accent, and acted as their piano teacher “Mrs. Klavierstuuck”. It worked for about three weeks, one lesson a week. Karissa thought it was fun to play pretend while getting a lesson but was pretty distracted. Micah was just freaked out the whole time, looked at me like I was crazy and seemed slightly fearful of this weird lady (completely understandable for a 3 year old).
Next plan was to skype in my little sister Rebekah from New York who taught them this way for a year. She had just had a baby, so it was a win win for us both. That was a really fun piano teaching season! The kids even participated in a little recital over Skype with Rebekah’s New York piano students!
In the end, I decided getting piano (guitar, voice) teachers for them and it has been well worth the money. I taught them and still teach them what I can from the sidelines…more to compliment and reinforce what their main teachers are passing on. The kids seem to like this better. Keeping the all important family peace and harmony alive in our home outweighs my pride of wanting to be their teacher just because “I can”. If teaching your own kids works for you…you GO! This has just been our family’s personal journey!
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from Every Mom’s Story Contributor, Monica Lee. I am so appreciative she was willing to share HER story! For July, I’ll be posting a bit with you from my life on the road. Let the Annual Summer Family Road Trip Adventure Commence!
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