Maintaining Mindfulness as a Teacher during Online Learning

Due to the needs to adjust our lifestyles during quarantine times, many music instructors have found themselves having to adjust to the challenges of online learning. As a result, many have noticed within themselves a shorter fuse and a greater need for mindfulness.

Through my own experience maintaining a 30+ student studio throughout quarantine, the greatest struggle for me has been learning to verbally communicate step-by-step things which used to easily be shown with the demonstration of a quick motion or two. This, in addition to a few students' natural aversion to screen time and preference for live interactions and tools, has at times made teaching crucial fundamentals and core techniques a much more painstaking process. The natural deliberateness of having to then cautiously craft clear procedures without much tactile guidance and live has, I've noticed, altered the attitude and teaching persona I typically present to my students, which in turn has contributed in altering their response as well. While the challenges of remote teaching will likely remain to some extent, and beyond more deliberate class preparations, I have learned to be more frequently checking into my own mindfulness and physical/mental perspectives and states as I teach during this time. I have to check in with myself and ask, "Am I coming across the way I mean to, or is there any slight edge?", "Am I slowing my speech pace to be clearer while still delivering the energy and excitement I want students to have?", "Is my posture matching the energy I want to portray and I want students to reciprocate?", etc. I certainly don't want students to mistake my raised voice and large motions from internet glitches as wild agitation toward them!

Through these past few months, (like any kind of practice), I've noticed more comfort from both my and my students' ends on our physical and verbal communications during online lessons. I'd love to ask though, are there any other remote teachers out there who've experienced similar adjustments, and if so how did you handle them?

Best wishes to you all,

Celia