I Owe You a Refund

My beloved teacher, John Perry, told this story:

“Danny, I owe you a refund.”

“What do you mean, Mr. Perry?”

“You were supposed to get 18 lessons this semester and you didn’t.”

“Oh, no, Mr. Perry. I got every single one of my 18 lessons.”

“No, Danny. You didn’t. You had the same lesson – 18 times.”

Teaching involves repetition. A student’s grasp of new skills can be tenuous. There’s often forgetting and remembering in quick succession. When I find the balance between remembering and reminding gets out of whack, I rethink my strategy and ask myself:

  • Why am I saying the same thing again?
  • Is there another way to say it?
  • How can I get this student to experience doing this correctly?
  • Am I talking too much?

If these questions feel right, be brave and ask the most important questions:

  • Does this student want to be here?
  • Do I want to be here with this student?

My red flag is catching myself being sarcastic, “Suzy, do I have to issue an individual invitation to each finger to hold itself up each and every time it plays?” That’s a good sign that I’d better rethink the situation.

Do you feel like you owe someone a refund? What will you do to change that dynamic?