Look in the Mirror

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Today, within the news, I was reading about a case in southern Italy: a parent had shot a violin teacher in a conservatory. It seems that this teacher had a romantic relationship with the young daughter of the lady who shot him. In particular, this mom did not like the age difference between the two lovers. At this time, the Conservatory Professor is hovering between life and death, while the mother was granted house arrest. I think that considering a 26 year old girl still a child is only possible in the more remote corners of Italy. I would have understood the anger (but not the crime) if the professor had molested an underage girl, but a 26 year old woman should be able to decide for herself and without parental consent if, how and with whom she should fall in love.

I put myself in this girl’s shoes: I am a student of a small Conservatory, maybe I am not a very good student, given my age; I am attracted by the teacher, by his knowledge, because this is something that I miss. I may have problems in my family, a family that controls me and doesn’t allow me to move as I’d like. Maybe I dress in a way before I leave the house, I put the more provocative clothes in my bag and I wear them only when I am out of my parents’ sight. For them I am their little and young daughter, who should be protected from the ugliness of the world. Then I fell in love with this teacher, who is always available for me, who is divorced and already has children. I don’t care that I live in a society that sees a divorce as a work of the devil. I do not care. I’m interested in finding pleasure and especially in escaping my gilded cage. I do everything to get in the teacher’s graces, I ask him for help, I have trouble for the most trivial problems: trust me, I cry, I’ll move him to compassion until I’ll get him.

Now he is mine. I do not care that my mother will not agree with this relationship: this man is more than twenty years older than me. I do not care: I just want him to take me away from my cage, to free me from the shackles of a dull and retrograde society, to make me feel part of a modern civilization. Once free, my parents will not touch me anymore.

This perhaps is what this young lady thought prior to the crime committed by her mother. I dare not imagine how she feels after the assault.

Beyond the incident, this fact let me think about the role that teachers play in the society. While many teachers in other subjects are fully conscious of representing a role model for their students and about their influence on the young minds that are entrusted to them, for the instrumental teachers this is not so clear. They often lack on pedagogical basic training, which would also allow them to maintain an ethical behavior towards their students. Many teachers lack on psychological training, they miss the tools to recognize red flags, they don’t know how to behave whenever a student is in difficulty or the intuition suggests that there is something wrong.

Instrumental teachers should understand that it is not only necessary to know how to play an instrument to be a good teacher. It’s not only that. Teachers should develop the ability to guide the student, acting as a silent companion and as an always present ghost. And the student should only want to imitate the master, who will have to stand out as a model for future generations. Fellow teachers, our responsibilities are really huge. The work to do on yourself is immense. Let us ask ourselves in front of a mirror: are we facing someone who we would like to imitate and who is an inspiration to others?

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