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Triangle Communication Lines

Sally Gross

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I think Suzuki teachers have the best jobs in the world! We work one on one with committed students and parents and can teach to the individual child and not the repertoire. We work with extremely talented, experienced colleagues who take the time to listen and bounce ideas off each other. Every day is different; every child is different at each lesson and family commitments often change. It is this variety that keeps us energized, and I for one, am never bored.


As Suzuki teachers, we are probably the only other adults who are a constant in your

child’s life, other than the adult members of your family. School teachers come and go as do religious education teachers or sports coaches, but we see your child weekly in a

one on one situation for years. It is exciting to see them grow up and become young adults, and it is also humbling to acknowledge the amount of influence we have in their development.

I try very hard to maintain continuous communication among the three corners of the triangle: the student, the parent and the teacher. A student walks into a room and I ask, “ How was your week” or “how did your xyz event go”. This isn’t just polite chitchat; I do sincerely care about what is going on the student’s lives and ultimately their practice intentions for the week.


I encourage all my parents to contact me outside of the earshot of the student if something needs to be shared privately. This can occur briefly when the child leaves the room for a few moments, or perhaps via email or preferably by phone at a mutually convenient time. With an older student, I feel that the best approach is for the three of us to talk together during a lesson time.


So what kind of things should the three of us be in communication about?


Situations that have to do with the progress of the student

  • Rate of learning new repertoire

  • Performance opportunities inside and outside of the Suzuki school

  • Pros and cons of youth orchestra commitment

  • Competition opportunities


Practicing issues

  • Work ethic modification

  • Did something like illness, travel or homework interfere with the amount of practicing that got done that week?

  • Time management

  • Productive use of time with a positive approach

  • The practice battle – teachers need to validate the parent as the home teacher

  • Creative practice tools

  • Did the child experience pain or fatigue?


Listening

  • Passive or Active?

  • Consistent or sporadic?

  • Do the child and parent listen together?


Teacher change

  • This is a fact of life and should be done in a timely and ethical fashion. If this issue is well handled, nobody will feel hurt.

  • The current teacher can help to make a smooth transition to the new one, and will probably be happy to do this for their student.


The parent has an incredibly important role in Suzuki education. We cannot work efficiently without you and we truly admire your dedication. You may hear remarks that they find difficult to say to us. If you think it is appropriate and have your child’s permission to speak to us, you may occasionally have to be their voice. Please let’s all keep the communication lines open.

THE WESTERN SPRINGS SCHOOL OF TALENT EDUCATION

and NAPERVILLE SUZUKI SCHOOL

THE SUZUKI TRIANGLE

THE WESTERN SPRINGS SCHOOL OF TALENT EDUCATION

1106 Chestnut Street, Western Springs, IL 60558

​708.246.9309

THE NAPERVILLE SUZUKI SCHOOL

​1313 N. Mill Street, Naperville, IL 60563

708.246.9309

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students

West Suburban Suzuki Foundation, Inc. and WSSTE, Inc admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.  It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and other school-administered programs.