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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Wilson

Does disappointment ever cloud your judgement?

This week I decided to walk a couple of miles to a local village duck pond.  I hadn’t been for a while and I was excited at the wildlife I may see.

Previously I’d seen Canadian geese, swans, herons, mallards, coots, and moorhens all happily coexisting together and was hopeful I’d see them all again.

The walk took me down country lanes where sparrows were flitting about in the hedgerows, swallows were darting around and I could hear the song of skylarks in the adjacent fields.

I was filled with the joy of being surrounded by nature.

At last I turned the bend where I knew I would be rewarded with the first view of the duck pond.

That’s when my heart sank.

Since I had last visited nature had well and truly worked her wonders and I was met with an abundance of greenery.  And very limited views of the water.

My heart sank and I was filled with disappointment.  Had I made a mistake coming here - should I have known what it would be like?  

Then something magical happened.

I was just about to begin my journey back home when I felt a sudden instinct to look back.  Thank goodness I did, as in that moment, the previously empty pond was full of baby coots all swimming excitedly towards me!  

Now, I know they probably just thought I was going to feed them, but still!   

And in that moment I saw a comparison.  As piano teachers, we often build expectations regarding our students and their musical journeys.  One hope we may have is that our students will stay with us until we’ve taught them everything we have to share with them.

This means that when a student ends lessons completely out of the blue, it can be incredibly disappointing.

You wonder whether it was something you did or didn’t do and, if you’re not careful, you can end up taking it personally.  You wonder why you invested so much time and effort into the student and may even consider whether you should continue teaching!

The truth is, it’s far more likely that the reason the student stopped lessons was due to circumstances way beyond your control.  There’s a good chance there was nothing you could have done differently. 

People, like nature, grow and evolve in often unexpected ways and act in ways that, if we’re not careful, we can find disappointing.  Even to the point where we question ourselves and our own abilities.

When a student moves on from us, it’s important to remember that there will most likely be new teaching opportunities just waiting (like the baby coots) round the corner for us!

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