It has been over a year since I last taught. Life happened and I never intended to “disappear”, but I did. What has this break taught me? It taught me that I was wrong. Let me explain.
When I quit teaching in 2015, it was not the first time I had quit. I had quit several years earlier in 2005, only to pick it up again in 2007. That time was not so much about quitting and more so related to having to do other things to pay bills and just trying to do music.
When I moved to Hong Kong in 2007, I had no choice, but to figure out how to make a living and not having to learn Cantonese. Luckily, I was able to make a living teaching my craft to people. I enjoyed it for the most part. Actually, I really enjoyed teaching, but I disliked the pressure of working for myself. Yes, I loved the freedom of working for myself. Setting my own hours. Taking on the students I wanted to. On the flip side, there is a tremendous amount of pressure when one works for themselves. Sick days are really to be avoided. The summer breaks were tough to get through when clients were gone on vacations. I learned so much about what I prefer and would do differently. All this led a total breakdown and burnout, which I have written about previously.
Then I took up teaching again in 2017. This time as an employee at a music shop. What started out as a dream job eventually spiralled into an unfathomable situation in terms of a workplace. Now, having had time to put space between me and the events that led to me quitting in 2019, I can honestly say that it was not about the teaching. I realise now that I still love to teach. The general unkemptness of the business I was working at and the growing interpersonal barriers at the workplace were just too much for me to put up with.
I must admit, all the frustration that I was having with the workplace came through me and affected my ability to be an effective teacher. For that, I am incredibly sorry to all my students who studied with me at the time.
Now, I have been bitten by the bug to teach again, but this time I will try to do things differently. I will not be setting up my own thing again like RiffCentre and TWR. I also do not want to work in retail again. How will I reinvent myself as a music educator? Time will tell.
As winter turns in to spring, I have my hopes up again after laying low for over a year. I have learned a lot during these days of COVID as I have been working at a hospital and have seen what this virus does to those who get it, the families that are affected, the staff that try their best, the deniers who aren’t doing their part in helping to ease things, etc.
For now, stay safe and healthy. Do your part in keeping yourself and others safe.
Cheers and a virtual hug to you all,