Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 43

The flame goes out
A good teacher is like a candle—it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown When he coined the term “burnout” in 1974, little did Herbert Freudenberger know that it was going to move from the world of chemical dependency into the world of the professional workplace with the swiftness of, ironically, burning wood. Today every profession uses the term burnout and the problem seems ubiquitous; however, it may even be more apparent in the high-touch (as opposed to hightech) worlds of teaching, counseling, and health care. Teachers are nurturing individuals—developing relationships, changing lives, doing a “greater good,” and making the world a better place in which to live! But all this greater good may be at a cost greater than we can afford if we are not aware of the stressors, obstacles, unique qualities, and dangerous pitfalls of this endearing and remarkable profession.

subjects struggle with the inherent complexities of teaching: • Unsolvable problems—students who just aren’t going to get better, lack of success by our students, and their slow, uneven pace • Varying abilities—they are not all honors students • Motivational conflicts—when what we want and what they want are different • Projection and “baggage”—issues we take on from students, and sometimes their parents • Emotions as deep and wide as the ocean—in this high-touch field, teachers are expending emotional energy all of the time • Ambiguous professional loss—constant separations and new attachments • Breaches in peer support—lack of peer interaction and support, divisions within the profession.4

Flying in formation
Our professional colleagues’ roles in our life are as important as those of our students. Like geese, whose wing flaps, formation, dependence, care, and support of each other sees them through their journey together, so, too, are the people on a team or department who share a common direction. They arrive where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the trust of one another and buoy each other up along the way. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the pull and struggle of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the power of the rest of the geese. If we have as much insight as a goose, we will stay in formation and share information with those who are headed in the same direction. Geese in the back of the formation honk to encourage those up front to keep their momentum. Words of support and inspiration help energize others—our encouragement helps them in spite of day-to-day issues. When one of us is down, it’s up to the others to stand by us in our time of trouble; we stand together. We will stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. Imagine this same peer support, interest, and respect for each other in our collective journey. Wouldn’t it be great to incorporate these lessons from the geese: • Learn to give and take constructive criticism • Everyone’s time is equally valuable— you are no busier than anyone else! • Follow up and follow through—if you say you are going to do it—do it!
CLAVIER COMPANION

From darkness to light
In The Resilient Practitioner—Burnout Prevention and Self-Care Strategies for Counselors, Therapists, Teachers and Health Professionals, Thomas M. Skovholt offers many challenges and opportunities for teachers who are feeling burned out and frustrated. 2 Here, he clearly defines the characteristics of “high-touch” professions and why it is easy to become emotionally drained or burned out. Good teaching includes more than technique, books, methods, workshops, and lesson plans. Additional qualities are about connections—the very things that set us on fire and then burn us out if we aren’t careful and attentive. As we support and care for our students, we develop relationships that can sometimes be difficult to balance and sustain as we deal with the unique politics of our profession. Of course, a person must be “on fire” to burnout, so it is not suggested that we all sit back and enjoy the restful arms of mediocrity, nor is it suggested that we drop students from our studios, or stop caring about them. It is suggested, in the words of Skovholt, that we figure out when we sprint and when we jog, when and where we apply our energy, and when we conserve.3 We must learn how to recognize when we have control and when we don’t, how to identify projection and transference from others, and how to say “no” and strike a balance. We must develop ways to rekindle our fire, prevent the fire from going out, and stay away from extinguishers. Students at all levels and teachers of all
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012

43



Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Contents
Editor's Page: New discoveries
Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Tech Tips
First Looks: What Music Means To Me
New music reviews
CD & DVD reviews
News & Notes
Pupil Saver
Keyboard Kids' Companion
Advertiser Index
Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Contents
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Editor's Page: New discoveries
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 5
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 7
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 9
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 11
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 12
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 13
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 14
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 15
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 16
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 17
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 19
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 20
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 21
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 22
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 23
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 24
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 25
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 26
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 27
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 28
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 29
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 31
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 32
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 33
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 34
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 35
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 37
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 39
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 40
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 41
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 43
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 44
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 45
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Tech Tips
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 48
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 49
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - New music reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 51
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 52
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 53
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - CD & DVD reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 55
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - News & Notes
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Pupil Saver
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 58
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 59
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Keyboard Kids' Companion
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 61
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Advertiser Index
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 63
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover4
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