Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Question of the Week: April 25, 2011: Pros and Cons of Teacher Breaks

As you may already know, last week was spring break week at my studio- YAY! Let's hear it for a week (well...three days at least since I ended up doing two days of make-ups) of no lessons and time to recharge and let my creative juices flow. A week to enjoy other pursuits and enjoy the 'un-teacher' side of my life a bit more.

And I did enjoy it...until I started lessons back up this week and remembered why I really, really have a love-hate relationship with teacher breaks. Here's why: give your studio even one week off and it starts falling apart! Students don't practice and end up coming back having regressed rather than progressed. Books are forgotten, assignments are uncompleted, and I feel like I'm starting over at square 1 with 90% of my studio- UGH!

So here's my question to all of you:
How do you approach scheduled breaks to avoid the negative consequences? Do you have any tips and tricks to help your students actually make progress over a break?

I enjoyed my week off so much- I want to be able to enjoy my well-earned vacations rather than dreading the following week when I have to reap the consequences!


  1. As a teacher, I haven't had much experience with this yet. But as a student, this is what I thought: I never had many breaks from piano growing up, as I was homeschooled, and didn't have breaks from school. When I was in college, for the first 3 years I had a set amount of hours required each week in practice, and that didn't change over breaks. I usually fell behind on practice time during breaks because I traveled in music groups for the school and didn't have much time to practice. Then my senior year, I had a different teacher that just completely gave me the week of break off. It was wonderful. I didn't have the huge cloud of "piano" looming over my head, knowing that I couldn't meet the requirements. I just could completely relax and when I did have a chance to get to a piano, I could play "for fun." After the break I felt extremely refreshed and ready to tackle piano again!

    I think this could be the same for younger students. If their family travels over break, it is more discouraging for them knowing that their teacher has expectations for them when they get back that they can not fulfill. Even if they don't go anywhere, they probably want to do more with their family and friends than they usually get to during school. I think they need the break!

    Those are just my thoughts about it, but like I said, I don't have too much experience with this. Hope it is a help!

  2. Thanks for your opinions Nicole. You are right! I remember how much I appreciated breaks from lessons when I was a kid- we all need time off once in a while. Thanks for reminding me :) I'm feeling much more positive this week!