Sometimes families say goodbye. And, it isn’t necessarily because they don’t like your teaching. They just don’t know if or how their child is progressing because you aren’t sharing student success on a regular basis.
So, they leave thinking that their child hasn’t learnt anything. But, WE know that isn’t true.
What counts as tracking success?
Tracking success comes in two forms, informal & formal.
The purpose of each is different. Informal tracking tends to focus on more regular snapshots of progress that influence how future learning will be done. Formal tracking is a look back at how successful the learning was.
As my kids are going through school I have noticed a change in educational thinking. It used to be about test scores & big unit projects. Now, there’s much more informal assessment. Rather than waiting for a test to see if a student really did learn all the provinces/territories in Canada with their capital cities (just as an example), there are many check-ins throughout the unit so teachers can catch gaps in learning BEFORE a child fails a test.
What do we, as studio teachers, do each week?
Check-in with our students, find gaps in their learning & design lesson time so they continue to progress each week.
We use informal assessment each & every single lesson.
Sharing student success to parents
WE know that we are continually assessing our students so we can best guide & teach them their instruments. We just need to share that.
WHAT do we share?
I include a lot of different things to celebrate with parents.
- Making a breakthrough in lesson …
- “Johnny has spent the last 2 weeks practicing playing this very fast technical section with correct notes AND keeping his shoulders, arms & fingers relaxed. It’s been a challenge, but today all his focused practice really showed!“
- A look back … I especially use this when students have hit a plateau.
- “Remember last year at this time? Wendy would have been so nervous to even attempt this level of music. And, now? Look at how much confidence she has in starting her new pieces! I know that before we know it she is going to find this music easy as well.”
- Going above & beyond … Did your student do something extra?
- “Today Francis shared her graphic notation for Sam’s Walk. I was really impressed with the thought she put into … & she was surprised at how well it helped her remember the patterns! I’m hoping you’ll ask her to show you what she created!”
- How the PARENT encouraged their child during the week … because they need a little love too
- “Samantha was raving about how much she LOVED having you in the room as she practiced this week. Our girl is really social, isn’t she? Thanks for taking the time out of your day to make her practice more enjoyable! I noticed the difference you made with this small gesture in how she played during lesson today.”
5 Ways to share student success
Sharing with parents doesn’t have to be arduous. It can be as simple & quick as:
- A quick conversation at the end of lesson.
- Include a note with practice page (digital or by hand).
- Email a quick update (though parents get a lot of emails so it may not be read).
- Post a picture or video to your studio social media … & let parents know you’ve got their bragging rights covered for this week.
- Be sure you have written permission before posting pictures or videos of students online.
- Text the parent.
Texting is one of my all time favourite methods to share student success since parents tend to respond quicker than other digital methods. It’s the world we live in. And, it’s a method that has allowed me to have closer communication with both my piano parents & students. My students especially feel much more comfortable with texting me during the week if they have questions. And for parents,
Keeping in contact with clients … while still having a personal life
Being available to clients doesn’t mean being available 24/7.
My husband has learnt over time that trying to getting through to me during my office hours is not the easiest. My phone & devices tend to stay on silent & “Do Not Disturb”. Why interrupt my groove, both in work & dancing/singing while I work, if I don’t have to?
But because I love my husband, I did a little experiment. I let my devices talk. Gone was the silent button. Gone was “Do Not Disturb”. Less than 10 minutes later & what felt like a million notifications, I vowed never again. Now my husband calls the business landline if it really is important or waits until I take a break. I like to think it’s a win-win for us.
If a text or call comes in while I am on my phone/iPad & I am busy teaching, I either:
- Leave it if I will go back in a little bit or
- Add it to my Google Keep list to respond to the next day
Repeat after me.
Just because I get a notification does NOT mean I need to respond to it right away.
Remind your piano parents & students that you are more than happy to answer their emails/calls/texts … it just might not be right away. Remind them what they have to say is important and you WILL get back to them.
What if I get messages ALL the time!?!
If you are worried you will be inundated with messages, I can safely say that in all the years I have done this, it has never been an issue. Remember our clients & students are busy with all the million other things in their lives. We are just one small part of that.
Most parents & students just won’t take advantage of contacting you during the week. Sure, you will have a couple that may send you a picture of their hamster’s birthday cake so you can see how the party went or a video clip of a first snowboarding lesson because they want to share student’s success with you. Which I see as relationship building & a perfect way to start lesson the next week. But, most won’t contact you during the week. They will wait until lesson.
How to Text Using Your Email Address
I am not a fan of arriving at my student’s home for lessons only to find out they didn’t practice because they had a question … 6 days ago. Can I get an amen? And, email just seems to get out of control so quickly making it easy to forget to get back to someone.
Once I figured out how to use my email address for texting, I felt a lot more comfortable getting clients & students to text me during the week. Parents find it easy to quickly send me a video of their child eagerly showing off what they are playing. Students find it easy to ask me that quick question that makes the difference between a great week of practice & a week of progress.
If you would like to set up your iOS device so that your students & piano parents can text you … without giving out your cell number, watch the tutorial below.
Keeping Clients & Students in the Know
With all the technology available to us, sharing student success with parents is easy peasy. And, isn’t that what we want? Parents know they love having us teach their family because there is a clear message of progress.
How do you share student success with parents? Share below!