Look, I’m back! So soon! It’s a late-February miracle.
I’ll admit, I feel bad for not blogging. Every time I ask myself why I’m no longer a frequent and exciting blogger, my immediate thought is “because my life is BORING” which is…not true, exactly! Perhaps my life is not so academically challenging OR performance intensive as it has been for the past however-many years, but there are still things in it worth sharing — in fact, I have a short mental list of subjects worth blabbing about, even if some part of me brain keeps telling me they’re all extremely unexciting. I mean, come on. Shouldn’t I consider the possibility that maybe my life was never all that exciting to begin with?
Anyway, let’s start here: I have twelve cello students and between that and regular gigs my schedule is a total CLUSTERFUCK.
It’s not like teaching twelve students takes up all that much time when you add them all up, especially compared to regular 9-5 weekday jobs. It’s not like I have school or another job to work my students around, the way I know lots of other teachers of music do. It’s not like I don’t get decent money for those twelve students or that I don’t enjoy the teaching. And I assure you, it’s definitely not that I’m UNGRATEFUL for this work when I know that times are tough and that other young musicians are struggling for teaching and gigging work. Truly, I am one lucky bastard. It’s more like…the hours are crazy irregular and scattered at idiotically random times throughout the week, not to mention all but one of my lessons occurs after 3pm on any given day of teaching, and all of this makes for a schedule that is just STUPID, and one in which I don’t get a whole lot of anything else done, especially not cello practicing. Right now I’m teaching at least one student every day of the week except for Thursday (and Saturday, though I’ve had to squeeze make-up lessons into that day for the past few weeks). I’m also teaching from two different locations — my home and a music store, which has been more frustrating in coordinating same-day lesson times than I care to describe.
I’ll fess up: this crap is nearly entirely my fault. I’m the one in control of my schedule, so how is it possible for me to let things to get so stupid and out of control? Well, okay, two reasons: 1) I started off with five students who all came to my home. I taught their lessons one right after the other, three on Tuesday and two on Wednesday, and this was EAAASY and a wonderful arrangement that was never really interrupted gigs or other life-happenings. Then, at the beginning of last month 10 new students basically threw themselves in front of me as if I was a moving cello-teaching train, all in the span of about a week. I never, ever expected that I’d have students more than trickling in one-at-a-time, and so I wasn’t prepared for the massive week-long scheduling party and subsequent hangover that took place. Trying to figure out where to put all these lessons was complete madness, especially while attempting to keep in mind which days and times I should avoid in order to be able to teach AND make all gigs without having to cancel most lessons every week. I actually thank god or whatever that three of the 10 students I should have started teaching decided that a transition period between teachers was actually the perfect time to quit cello entirely. The downside, however, is that those people who scheduled lessons and then quit left gaping holes in my teaching schedule, and those gaping holes are…annoying! As hell!
Then we come to reason Talia is stupid at scheduling No. 2) I am accommodating to a fault. I started off all “YES I would love to teach ANY TIME YOU ARE FREE TELL ME WHEN I CAN TEACH YOU PAID WORK OMGGGG,” which was a big mistake. Biiiig mistake. I couldn’t help it. I wanted to accommodate the hell out of everyone. I wanted to be helpful and make things work for every schedule. Unfortunately, with an attitude like this it’s possible to be a little bit walked all over by parents and students who are busy or even just picky about when they wish to have cello lessons. I guess I got to learn this the hard way. It’s as though I was simply asking for people to walk all over me, in fact, and it resulted in such a stupid, stupid weekly schedule. It’s taken a little while, but I think I’m figuring out how to be a defensive scheduler and not compromise hours of non-teaching, which unfortunately is probably going to result in me not being able to give lessons to new-comers who might only be available at certain times, but MAYBE THAT’S NOT A BAD THING. I’m also trying to bunch all lesson together so I don’t have ridiculous, idiotic slots of time between lessons in which I don’t have time to do much of anything except twiddle my thumbs and worry about what I might do or say in said upcoming lesson. It would be my dream to teach for a certain number of hours each day with no gaps in between students unless it’s for something like…eating. If my ultimate scheduling plan works, I’ll be able to move all lessons to Sundays (for some reason Sundays are absolutely the best teaching days), Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so that then I’ll have some days in a ROW in which I don’t teach at all. So I can get other things done. So I can get the hell out of Normal, IL for a day or two.
So there you have it. Blog entry about lesson scheduling. Why, Talia? Why?
Teaching itself is another story! For another time!