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How do I Say Goodbye?

Recently, I had 2 students that are now in high-school and very busy stop lessons. I had taught each of them for about 7 years. I was reflecting on this and thinking about how much time we had spent together over the years. It ends up being about 40,000 minutes. That's a lot of time spent with a student. One of the best parts of teaching is building relationships with students.

When you have been teaching someone for so many years, you get to know a lot about them. You end up knowing their likes and interests and a lot of details about their lives. It is hard to wrap my mind around that all of the sudden, they have their last lesson and then I won't see them on a regular basis anymore. How do you say good bye to them in a way that is meaningful?

One of the things I try to do is always tell the student how much I have enjoyed watching them progress and grow. I also write them a card telling them how proud I am of them and all they have accomplished. This is one of the most bittersweet parts of teaching. Saying goodbye is hard but building meaningful relationships with students is one of the best parts of teaching. In the end, we are both better off for having known each other.

Sarah Beckelheimer is a piano instructor and co-owner at Dynamic Music Studios in Coralville, IA. Photo with her student Jayce Norple.

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