I've been teaching a lot of voice lessons lately. I have those ten students in St. George, five at SUU, and three that come to me privately, with a couple more wanting to start up. On top of that, I've been vocal coaching the kids in the musical at Joel's high school. Not that I'm complaining...I'm really only spending about 10 hours a week teaching, and I know I couldn't make that kind of moolah at any other part time job. We definitely need the money and I am always amazed at how I seem to have lessons just fall into my lap whenever we're hurting financially. I feel so blessed to have this talent and skill so that I am able to help our little family make ends meet.
That's just it though. I often feel like a great big fraud while I am teaching. Sure, I can sing. And yeah, I have a piece of paper that says I spent a lot of time and money earning a degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. That pedagogy part says I can teach and that I know what the heck I am doing. And yet, sometimes I just feel like I don't have any idea. Like I'm grasping at straws. Like I'm making everything up as I go along. Like I don't know why on earth people are paying me to teach them to sing because I'm not really sure if I can do it!
Of course, I would never let on to anyone that I feel this way. I act like I know exactly what I'm doing at all times. Like the vocalises I'm coming up with off the cuff were carefully planned out to fix the exact problem that the student has. Like I know just which song I would like them to sing as I look over their anthologies. Like I know the answer to any question posed to me (except "why does my hard palate hurt when I'm singing?" If you know the answer to that one let me know, because I've done a ton of research on it and I can't come up with an answer for her to save my life. And yes, I admitted I didn't know, don't worry.)
I'm not really sure why I feel this way, because I really do find teaching to be something I'm pretty good at. My students have been fairly successful and nobody is happier than I am when they get a concept. I had a girl at SUU last semester that has never sung, just wanted to try it out. She had no range. It was maybe a fifth, if not less. This very same girl, because I taught her how, now has almost a 3 octave range. I have seen huge improvement in the students that are teachable (we won't talk about the ones that aren't, and I have decided not to take responsibility for their lack of progress).
I guess sometimes I just can't believe that I'm not the student anymore. I always feel like there is so much that I don't know that I couldn't possibly be qualified to teach the things I do know. I guess I'll just have to continue walking into each lesson and pretending I know everything. You know, instead of walking into each lesson ready to learn something. The thing is, I do learn something. In every single lesson.