So, I’m not an Economist or a Virologist, nor a Poet or a Writer. So my thoughts and opinions on Covid-19, such as its impact on Business, Commerce, and Society as a whole are amateur at best and misinformed at worst.
The Global Pandemic changed my job from a Go-to-Work teacher to a Stay-at-Home teacher. It provided some nice problems to solve since I had no studio. No stand for a camera. My Dad fashioned me a wooden monster of an L Stand to give my students a top down view of my Piano. It was made from 3 pieces of Skirting board but it did its job wonderfully.
Off-screen. Where no one could gaze upon it.
There were two other attempts. Brothers to that stand. A small mobile holder that broke after 2 weeks that has elastic bands wrapped around it to my phone to ensure it didn’t fall over. And half a tripod with a bendable metal wire with a large plastic hair clip on top to hold my phone in place.
My point for these paragraphs is making good out of bad situations while stressful at the time can be a source of pride later on.
Before this I saw my students once a week, I wasn’t allowed direct contact via email or phone because of Safeguarding and mostly It’s inappropriate, If students needed anything their parents contacted the Academy and from there the Academy would tell me. Covid kind of ruined that though.
The middleman is appropriate in physicality, But making the jump to online it didn’t make much sense. I’d just like to be clear I’m not advocating softer ruling on Safeguarding, They’re there for a reason but I feel they’re slightly misplaced in the world of private tutoring.
My main point in this article is that because my students had a direct line to me, I saw incredible, noticeable improvements in a few of my students. For those who are truly active (or those whose guardians are active in their progress.) my ability to directly answer questions was a massive time-save.
Now when my students struggled there was no confusion or need to halt for fear of practising it wrong, They didn’t have to wait 4 days until the scheduled 30 minutes of ‘me-time’ to ask questions before I go back to being separated by distance and bureaucracy.
My ability to craft resources to a specific question mid-week, be it in the form of a PDF sheet or video demonstrating a technique was a support system that wasn’t there before, at least not in its current form.
Now while it is true that all they’d have to do is send an email to the academy requiring help, All that does is put more strain on administrative staff. I can handle my 20-odd students requests, mostly because all of them likely don’t ask at once. But for Admin to wade through ALL the students of EVERY teacher to forward requests to us on top of their other priorities is unnecessary and time consuming.
Safeguarding is important and I know why the rules are blanket. So everyone in any form of teaching profession can communicate irregardless of background. A universal set of rules so we can keep the safety of children while also teaching optimally.
However… That is the problem with blanket rules. Music is not only very knowledge heavy, It’s also a technical craft. Demonstrations in music are crucial.
Being able to read the music and understand it through accumulated knowledge and demonstrated it to yourself, before comparing it to either an audio or video resource and making adjustments when necessary is the fundamental loop of learning in music. And a direct feed to my students has caused this loop to be as fluid as ever.
If I could adjust the rules I would, with the added clause of daily or weekly checks through chat logs maybe. If money wasn’t an issue, devices that didn’t leave the building rather than personal devices.
Anyway, this is just a ramble in the end. I’m glad I’m closer to my students and that some of them are taking this advantage to better themselves faster and more efficiently than before.
Also posted on Andrew's site at https://triquetraehub.wixsite.com/andrew/post/teaching-through-corona