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New Teacher Tips!

New Teacher Tips!

Are you an ‘up-and-coming’ teacher or tutor? Maybe you’ve just expanded your teaching studio? Or maybe, it’s time to set goals for the new financial year! 

A day in the life of a teacher can be incredibly fulfilling, but it can also be exhausting, stressful, and full of itty-bitty things to steer you in a completely different direction than what you’d planned. All of us at Simply for Strings have taught or tutored during our musical journeys, whether our neighbour’s child or for decades at school! We’ve put together a few tips to help you feel like you’ve got it together as the ‘new blood’ on the block. 

Tip 1: Access all the free stuff (yes, I said free!)

We’ve done all the Google searching for you! There are a bunch of great guides and both online and downloadable resources available for your teaching studio.

Our friends across the Bass Strait, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, have worked incredibly hard to create Online Classroom Resources which feature Australian, Indigenous, and culturally diverse artists as well as the late master Richard Gill AO. These materials are exceptional and flexible - whether you’re assessment planning or looking for some Week 10 classroom activities. 

The crew at Carnegie Hall has also developed a Music Educators Toolbox with some very colourful animations and cartoon characters. This toolbox is especially useful for play-based learning for young active minds, with activities that break down a ‘big scary thing’ into something fun. 

For teachers based in Queensland, head over to Education Queensland for all your curriculum resources! They also have resources in their ‘Related Resources’ sections to help with unit planning and implementing the EQ IM Curriculum. 

If you’re from another state or territory, please let us know if similar resources exist for you!

Tip 2: Know your ‘go-to’ products

‘I need to upsize’ is a question you don’t hear the end of! Here are our recommended models for students. They’re your best value for money, and with our professional on-site setup, these instruments are beautiful to play and listen (keeping the nails on a blackboard noises to a minimum! An Outfit at SfS means you get the instrument, bow, and case, all as one nice little package.
Beginner: Arioso Outfit

The Arioso model is our flagship student instrument and the ‘bread and butter’ of our collection. It features a light, carbon fibre tailpiece with in-built fine tuners, and a lovely semi-gloss varnish that brings out the rose and reds in the spruce and maple. All Ariosos are fitted with D’Addario Prelude strings.
Intermediate: Virtuoso Outfit

Once you’ve got a Handel on how to play (pun intended!), students might be looking for something with more breadth and capacity in their sounds as they move on from the beginner method books and into more refined playing in AMEB, TCL, or ABRSM exams. The Virtuoso model is able to open up a new sound world for the intermediate student, but still hold its own in Australia’s crazy climates. These models are fitted with D’Addario Helicore strings (or Kaplan on 7/8 and 4/4 cellos).  

Tip 3: Update your ABN

Oh yes, that thing! If you do any sort of teaching or performing (including casual weekend gigs) and get paid for it, you must register an Australian Business Number (ABN). Your ABN follows you wherever you go in Australia - so make sure you keep your details up to date, just like your car licence or insurance. If your dominant income is through your personal ABN, you may qualify for a discount with our Education & B2B team for your teaching studio! Flick us an email to find out more!

Tip 4: Be aware of overcommitment 

Just because teaching is not a ‘9-5’ job doesn’t mean that you should let your health and well-being be forgotten. We know that ‘hours of duty’ or ‘duty of care’ are difficult topics, but make sure that you communicate any concerns with higher-ups and back it up with evidence or records, where appropriate. It’s not easy to say ‘no’, but sharing the load means that you may avoid burnout and other severe health complications. If you’re mostly studio-based, remember that a 30 minute lesson usually means about 15-30 minutes of preparation, planning, and follow up per student: and that time is WORK. Your time is valuable and families are generally quite understanding of your chosen rates when this is communicated politely but directly (we know how awkward it is!). It might be worth considering a ‘policy’ or similar if you’ve got quite a large student base of private clients.

Tip 5: Remember, YOU are the professional

Lastly, but importantly, students and their families are coming to you to learn and create music magic! In most cases, you are the expert in the room and students will leave your presence with a piece of information (or advice) that they didn’t have beforehand. For when complications or disagreements arise, express your thoughts clearly, professionally, and rationally. For more nitty-gritty issues like behaviour management, or assistance with finances, consider reaching out to mentors or more experienced colleagues to help you with your individual circumstances. 

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel” – Socrates

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