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#927938 - 01/07/05 10:18 AM editorial on professionalism- input please
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Well, here is my editorial.......let me know what you think. Does it sound condescending?

While at a recent party, I was chatting with an acquaintance who heard that I was a piano teacher. She made an interesting comment that went something like this:
I sure wish I could work from home. It must be great to be able to teach and take care of your family at the same time. Kind of like a home beauty salon! What a great way to make money without much work.
I was disappointed by her comment, but not surprised. I proceeded to share with her my thoughts on my chosen profession, the years of study, the thousands of practice hours, my affiliation and volunteer time with MTNA, and the efforts I make to be as professional as possible. I was saddened that this stereotype is still perpetuated, but I realized that teachers she described do exist.
What can we do to encourage professionalism among our peers? Lets define the word first. Professional: A skilled practitioner; an expert. I would suggest that a professional teacher continues to hone their skills, both in teaching and playing, is punctual, prepared and conducts themselves as if in the business world.
A professional dresses in professional attire. Just as we would be shocked to go into a bank and find the teller in sweats and a t-shirt, our students should have the same reaction if that is how we present ourselves. We should dress for respect, credibility, acceptance and authority. If we dress too casually, our students may assume that we're not taking our lessons seriously...so why should they? If we dress like we respect the encounter, we will get respect back. We are walking, talking advertisements of our profession. Every time we act, we validate who we are. What kind of message are we sending to our students and the community?
If teaching in a home studio, is the environment conducive for learning? Are students able to learn without interruption? Is the studio clean and inviting? Are we intellectually tuned in and give full attention to our students? A professional makes and keeps commitments, is able to separate private time from work time, makes opportunities for the student to develop outside of the lesson and gives the student advice, encouragement, and incentive.
After discussing my thoughts at the party, I believe I was able to offer another perspective of our profession. It is my hope that we can all take stock of our conduct and do whatever possible to promote professionalism among our peers.

(with input from the piano forums at pianoworld.com)

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#927939 - 01/07/05 10:22 AM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I like it!

#927940 - 01/07/05 10:27 AM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13825
Loc: Iowa City, IA
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#927941 - 01/07/05 11:34 AM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
divadeb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 677
nice work, Charlene!
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.


#927942 - 01/07/05 11:39 AM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
markallen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 460
Loc: Stanwood, WA
Sounds Great! I used to run into similar comments when working from home as a wedding photographer. It doesn't take a high rise office to be a professional!

New sig line in the works....

#927943 - 01/07/05 11:45 AM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Very good. What strikes me about such comments regarding working at home is that, for many people, working at home does not allow people to work and "take care of your family at the same time." I work at home twice a week. My two older kids are at school. My youngest is at daycare. I'm expected to be working the same hours, doing the same thing that I do when I'm in the office the other three days each week. There is *no* way I could do this with a toddler around, and it's really not much better if the older kids (5 and 7 years old) are around. Too many interruptions. I'm sure it would be impossible to teach under the same circumstances. At least, if I'm interrupted, I don't have a customer or student who's being inconvenienced.

I've heard about people who work at home and can watch their kids at the same time. These people can often work more flexible hours; maybe they work a little when the kids are napping or otherwise preoccupied, and then do the bulk of their work after the kids are in bed or when the other spouse returns from work and can be on parent duty.
markb--The Count of Casio

#927944 - 01/07/05 12:57 PM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Thanks for all your input.

Don't hesitate to give suggestions if needed.

#927945 - 01/08/05 12:37 AM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
I don't think it's condescending (but then, you're preaching to the choir with me). And I think you have a good mix of firm and gentle. Very good (and short enough so that hopefully a lot of people will read it, unlike my posts!
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:

#927946 - 01/08/05 06:45 AM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
Kentcouncil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 371
Loc: Great Lakes
Good editorial. Couldn't agree more.

#927947 - 02/16/05 11:46 AM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
excellet point!!

the truth is that we have to have repect for ourself and our profession before others can repect us.

I have taught in student's home before, and the impression I got is that I am a 'servant', and I provide my service, but we are expects in music,we offer knowledge....

At last, I start to work for The Dallas School of Music, the school has a very strict dress code (suit and dress), individual offices, phone, computer, and instruments. I have worked there for over 3 years, not a single time I feel I am giving my services, and not one kid or adult had behaved badly.

I think all of us teachers, or musicians, regardless where you work, we need to remember that we ARE professionals.

#927948 - 03/06/05 12:43 PM Re: editorial on professionalism- input please
ljohnson Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/04/05
Posts: 17
Loc: USA
Hi Charlene,

I am new to this forum, so I think I'll jump in and get my feet wet.

It's a great editorial! I have two comments:

1. I have found, from talking to others, that professionals working at home in many fields find these types of comments. Even worse, some people feel that seeing your car outside is a que to interrupt. It is very hard to lay down the law to even friends and family who see you "there". They only learn through your dogged insistance that you have work hours. I don't think this is ever going to change. I can't tell you how many times I have had to listen to theses and other misconceptions.
Thank you for bringing this to light.

2. You are not going to like this, but I am a T-shirt and jeans person. I am down in the trenches working with mostly children and follow the typical dress-to-survive mode. Personally, I don't like working closely with people over a long period of time without shedding pretense. That's just me. I am meticiulous in maintaining a professional studio. I do not have a casual approach at all to my actual teaching. I dress for meetings, recitals, etc. Sorry if this lets you down.

We need more essays of this type.


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