In our Piano Pedagogy Course (Level I), I discuss with student teachers what they think it is to be a “successful piano teacher”. In return they ask me the same question. I have thought about it for a while, and now I think I have the answer.
1. Encourage students to try and do better, and let them understand that failure/mistake/fear is part of process necessary for success/achievement
Being a successful teacher can mean different things to different people. For me, it means helping students to succeed to reach the goals they want to achieve. There are many tools I create to help them do that along the way. Sometimes those are not the processes and hurdles the students expect to do and go through. But I know – with my expertise and experience as a pianist and teacher – that those processes and hurdles are exactly what the students must conquer to get to where they truly want to be.
2. Point out the good things students achieve and help them replicate the same successful result
I personally believe strongly in positive reinforcement and focus on bringing out the best in my students. I point out what they are doing good and and how they are doing to achieve the same result again. I demonstrate more at the piano not only for students to see how I play it and how it should sound (tone wise, not just “correctness”). I want my students and student teachers to trust their own ability, the ability to go far and beyond what they can do right now.
It is the faith and confidence in oneself that one is able to surpass the old and present self that would take oneself the long way, reaching this unconquered territory once unimaginable to even glimpse.
3. Make a detailed plan of students learning path and share it with students /parents and have them involved in the planning as well
A successful teacher is also able to show the students they have the ability to achieve those seemingly unreachable goals by doing careful and detailed planning and sharing it with the students. For instance, I always plan ahead with set goals in both short term (weekly and monthly) and long term (quarterly/monthly/par exam). See here (Chinese post) and here (English post) for my sample plans.
With the above three qualities, I believe one already is a successful teacher.