I think today was the worst day teaching I have had yet. And it was uber short because one of my classes was skiing, and I have a prep. The only class I really taught today was terrible, and I couldn't tell if it was because of how I taught it, or because they were being a pain. And I think it was both.
I think I could have taught it a lot better, on reflection, because I basically started them off on the hardest part of the music we are working on, so I didn't really give them much to feel good about, didn't give them any momentum, and at the same time, they were not taking it well, which maybe is because they are young and immature. Anyways, It was brutal. I didn't like it. Though I guess a bad day fishing is better than a good day working in a mine. But the more I think about it, the more it could have been better had I done things differently. I begin to see now how my 2nd practicum really did prepare me well, much better, when it comes to structuring a lesson. Not only how, but why. The first people ranted about the structure being incorrect all the time, without much explanation of why. Terrible. the 2nd practicum people explained and showed me in the rehearsal time, why it mattered to have a consistent and thoughtful structure. Here's how it works (this is partly for a friend who recently TOC'd a band class)
1. warm up 15% approx
-something they can do easily and that is going to get some technical things working, like fingering and embouchre (mouth)
2. Exercises 25-30%
-this might be from a book, or something that they are also successful at, so they can feel good about their ability, and remember things they have worked on recently. Probably both something from a workbook and some pieces that they know well.
3. The New/Hard piece
-work on the sections in the piece that are difficult. Play the whole thing once, if possible, then do smaller bits, and then try to put them together. (this is a very cursory example/explanation)
4. End with something that you all enjoy, so you can end the class on a high note.
This is actually a reminder for me, because I didn't do this at all today. Probably mostly why today sucked. Ah well.
The original question of my post is now moot, because if I do this, I won't need to decide between patience and coddling. I sometimes wonder if I am coddling the students by enabling disrespectful behaviour, but then when I drill them for it, am I being impatient. It's a weird dichotomy, and I think part of it is that teachers have no real power. There's nothing for the students to fear anymore. Some of them anyways.
It's been a day. But as I said, if I had taught better, it might not be a question I would be asking.