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[...] travel to new cities, exploration of new restaurants and renewal of old friendships can be enjoyable fringe benefits of attending conferences, but usually those perks are not the primary reasons justifying a teacher's decision to spend valuable time and money for a few days away from the studio. [...] parents usually respect teachers even more when they realize that the decision to block out several days for professional development reflects the teacher's strong commitment to her own professional growth and demonstrates a desire to become an even better musician and teacher.
Planning For The Next MTNA Conference Make A Commitment To Your Professional Growth By Barbara English Maris Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the insurance policy for those of us who are committed to our October/November 1994 AMT. It has been changed to own continued growth. It challenges and helps us remain make it current. fresh and vitally interested in our work. It provides opportu- nities to share successes and discover teaching strategies that have worked well for other teachers. Attending the I t’s not too early to start making plans to attend the 2010 MTNA conference is one of the best ways to prevent pro- MTNA National Conference in Albuquerque, New fessional burnout. Mexico. Many independent music teachers have built the conference into their regular schedules, and students know ARRANGING FOR YOUR ABSENCE that their teachers will not be in the studio during this If your studio policy has made it clear that students enroll week. Long-time students also know that at their lessons in for a semester or entire year of study, parents usually under- the weeks immediately after the conference, their teacher stand the importance of making adjustments in your sched- will be energized with lots of new ideas, strategies and ule during the week of the annual MTNA national materials. For music teachers, as well as other highly trained conference. In fact, parents usually respect teachers even professionals—doctors, clergy, accountants and attorneys— more when they realize that the decision to block out sever- ongoing professional development is essential in order to al days for professional development reflects the teacher’s remain on top of new ideas and to stay in contact with strong commitment to her own professional growth and respected colleagues. Many people consider attendance at demonstrates a desire to become an even better musician their profession’s national conference a necessity, not simply and teacher. an excuse for a short mid-year vacation. Of course, travel to Occasionally, however, some parents do need to be edu- new cities, exploration of new restaurants and renewal of cated about the concept that you are not merely “giving” old friendships can be enjoyable fringe benefits of attending their children a certain number of lessons each month and conferences, but usually those perks are not the primary that they are not merely “paying for a specific number of reasons justifying a teacher’s decision to spend valuable teacher contact minutes.” If parents are not used to having time and money for a few days away from the studio. children study with teachers who participate in professional Because independent music teaching is often an isolated meetings, they may need help in learning to respect the activity, many teachers find it essential to invest in periodic fact that their child is studying with a professional teacher interactions with professional colleagues. Th
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