The great heroes of life and literature have always been defined as much by their nemesis as the battles they engage in. In sports and in life, it's hard to find a hero without an equal and opposite counterpart who is willing to stop at nothing to make their life more difficult.
Think about it...
- Thomas Edison had Nikola Tesla
- Larry Bird had Magic Johnson
- Bobby Fisher had Garry Kasparov
- Steve Jobs had Bill Gates
- The Beatles had Yoko Ono
Which one of the above figures struck the strongest chord with you? Chances are it's Yoko Ono, one of the most maligned villains of our time.
Yes, with every hero comes a villain. They are as much interdependent as they are intertwined. Without the other, each individual is simply a master of their craft... nothing more, nothing less. A single superhero stands waiting for a counterpart to challenge them and elevate their game. They are bonded as much by love as they are loathing. Love for each other? No, love of the battle. Love of the challenge. Love of someone who helps to elevate their "skills" to another level. So it was with the Beatles, and so it is with you!
With most students teaching is a joy. An effortless act of service that is a daily reminder of how lucky we are to call music education our profession. But if you teach long enough, you WILL encounter your "Yoko," a student or class so maddening and frustrating that it causes you to rethink your place in the entire profession. Trust me, I've been there on more than one occasion. You never read about THESE kids in Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul!
Dealing with difficult students is soul-draining, life sucking hard work. But in the end, these students will not only force you to become a better teacher, while simultaneously making the student a better person.
Through these epic battles for good, bad and classroom control, try to remember that while your student nemesis may be at fault, he is a child and you are the adult. And while you see him as the villain, to others he is the hero.
Remember that Yoko was responsible for some good. Without her, we wouldn't have had Imagine, or Baby I'm Amazed.
Let me be among the first and the few to thank Yoko for being our villain.