January 2012

A normal teacher's day

January 3, 2012 06:49

Because of the New Year celebrations and a holiday break in Thai school some of my students have been moved to today. 

I arrive at the school and sink into the familiar routine. The boy with the hanging lower lip and the eternal bored look imprinted on his otherwise handsome face who never says 'hi' to me (I'm not even sure he understands English) and the friendly girl with smart eyes who is struggling to read the first few bars of the O.Rieding Concerto and is not yet familiar with the concept of whole and half steps...

I've inherited both of them from a Thai teacher in a private music school and to be honest, I'm not sure he knew about the half steps either. Once I've got a chance to see his lessons from a closed door: the guy sat cross-legged (more precisely, his right foot resting on his left knee), his violin somewhere halfway between his chest and his belly, played a note of indecipherable tune and then urged the student to do the same. Unfortunately, needless to say, one could not hear any difference between him and the student.

Why do I mention this now? Do I enjoy bashing the education of the uneducated and playing a role of a Big Mean Kitty? Or am I just annoyed to my core about the lack of any professionalism in Thailand's music scene? Or maybe my astonishment is just another side of the immense pity I feel for these kids who were taught by another one who in return never had any proper instruction himself? This is a violin, this is a bow, 4 strings, remember their names? Ok, ready to go teach others now...

I take a deep breath. The boy who never says 'hi' (it is highly impolite anywhere in the world but here in Thailand it must be downright offensive) surprisingly tries to change his bow hold to the way I showed him during our last lesson and shakes his head when he accidentally hits C# in G-major. (Granted, he accidentally hit C# 10 times over but at least he knew it was wrong.)

The girl looks generally excited by the concept of whole and half steps and 5 minutes later she is seemingly thrilled by the simple beautiful melody of the Rieding's Concerto which she can not easily read, just copy my sounds.

And then I find my peace. Then I remember things I should not forget. I smile seeing how after the lesson she carefully cleans her cheap ugly violin with a piece of cloth and puts it away with a clear look of accomplishment on her pretty face. 

All in all, I must say, I had a nice day.

What about you?

4 replies


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