To my favorite teachers,
Thank you for your wisdom, countless hours, and belief that I could be more than I ever realized. Thank you for persisting against increasingly difficult conditions in our schools. Thank you for the tough love too, for telling me what I didn’t want to hear but needed to. Thank you for having high expectations and not settling for less.
I distinctly remember a flute lesson that I had during my sophomore year of college. I decided to be a music major the year prior despite not planning to do that in my high school years. I felt behind compared to my peers who had already done numerous recitals and competitions. Still, I had an experience teaching volunteer lessons to a 10-year-old and I fell in love with that light bulb moment on my student’s face when something clicked. So I became a music education major and found myself struggling to keep up with my high caliber flute lessons.
On one particular day, I was on the verge of tears in my lesson and when my professor asked me to play the next section, I said, “I can’t.”
He took this very well and calmly responded with three words that changed my life,
“You can’t yet.”
It seems so simple, but you have a completely new mindset when you add one little word – yet. Since that day, I have used that moment to center myself in times of frustration and despair. When I have lost hope, I find peace in remembering that everything doesn’t have to be perfect today. I am still learning and I always will be.
This is something I’ve been able to pass on to my students today. I believe this is one of the most powerful lessons we can teach our youth. Whether we are talking about a tricky musical passage, starting your own company, or having a difficult conversation with a loved one; you may not be able to do that yet, but you will.
Thank you for impacting your students in ways you may never fully realize.