Suzuki Sunday: Why I Love My Job

Once, as happens fairly frequently, I received an e-mail from a parent who was interested in piano lessons for her three-year-old son.  She wanted to know all the usual things: what the lessons entailed, how much they cost, and what she would need to provide.  She requested I call her, which I did, and left a message when she didn't answer.  Worried that she'd call me back and miss me again, because I had such a crazy day ahead of me, I decided to write her too.

I had listed my phone number and address, the lesson fees, necessary materials and the process for getting started (observation, orientation, etc.) when I realized with astonishment that I had left out my most important credential: I love children, and I love to teach them how to make music, one small step at a time.

In this I feel a great kinship with Dr. Suzuki, who once wrote, "I just liked children, that was all . . . I had learned to appreciate how precious [they] were, and wanted to become as one of them.  They have no thought of self-deception.  They trust people and do not doubt at all.  They know only how to love and know not how to hate.  They love justice and scrupulously keep the rules.  They seek joy, live cheerfully, and are full of life."

To this I would add that I am never bored while doing my job; children have the power to surprise and move you, on separate occasions or all at once.  They have unique and fresh perspectives on problems that seem intractable to us.  And working with them makes me strive to be a better teacher and a better person.  This is why I continue to teach and enjoy it, though I know well how many teachers are more qualified and wiser than I can ever hope to be.

So, in my letter, I added one more sentence that I can only hope summed it all up: "I love children and I love to teach."  Even on the most trying days, this continues to be true.

May your week be filled with childlike wonder and fun!