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How to Hire Your Right-Fit Teacher
Episode 17910th January 2022 • The Vibrant Music Teaching Podcast | Proven and practical tips, strategies and ideas for music teachers • Nicola Cantan
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When you think about hiring your first teacher, how do you feel? 🤔 Clueless? Scared? Definitely-not-for-me? Perhaps you’re excited and ready to start ASAP.

We all know hiring a great teacher is important, but hiring the right-fit teacher is vital to you and your business’ wellbeing.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting that first, right-fit teacher onboarded.

Find out more about membership at vibrantmusicteaching.com.

Transcripts

Nicola:

You're listening to the vibrant music teaching podcast.

Nicola:

I'm Nicola Canton, and today on the show we're covering how you

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can hire your right fit teacher.

Nicola:

Hello there.

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Beautiful DJs.

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Now, if you're a long-term listener, we're doing something

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a little bit different today.

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So let me explain that right off the bat.

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We are doing a podcast based on an article that I didn't write.

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So normally I write an article or thus far, I guess, on the blog, I

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wrote an article and did a podcast together for the whole of 2021.

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In 2022, we're trying something a bit different.

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Some of the weeks I will write the content and publish the podcast on

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record the podcast, the audio version, but some of the weeks, someone else

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is writing an article so that we can have different perspectives and

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way more diverse topics covered.

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Cause obviously everything.

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I'm not an expert in everything or anything, but I'm definitely

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not an expert in everything.

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And so I want us to have a broader base.

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I colorful keys.

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Now the podcast is a bit different because this is a solo show.

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I don't bring on guests or anything like that.

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And it's very much based on my perspective, my thoughts.

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And you take your inspiration from there.

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So what I've decided to do is record my thoughts on the.

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Guest posters article each week, as we do these guest articles on the block,

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and this podcast will go along with this.

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So if you're listening to it on the blog, you're already aware

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that that's what's happening.

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But if you're listening in the podcast feed know that there is an article, which

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is quite different from this episode, since it is from a whole other person's

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point of view, this article was written by Joanna Joanna she'll, who is on our team.

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She is the.

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Editing assistant here at VMT.

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So she wrote this article about how to hire the right fit teacher.

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And I'm going to give you my perspective on it now that that little

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explanation is out of the way, and I won't do that on future episodes.

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We'll just dive right in.

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But for those of you listening to this first one, it gives you an

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idea of where we're coming from.

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So the right fit teacher, this was a really interesting topic.

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For me to read Joanne assaults on him for me to think about my own perspective

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on, because it's something I've really tried to do here at colorful keys.

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I decided to take on teachers just a few years ago and I did a mentorship program.

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That's the format I went for.

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And as you're listening to this in just a short while we're going to have our

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new course up, which is all about how to.

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Start a mentorship program in your studio.

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So if you want to take that approach to everything, then you can definitely check

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out that course, if you're a VMT member.

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And if you're not, you can go to vmt.ninja and sign up and you'll get access.

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Once that course is life as well as access to everything else.

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Of course, now I decided on this mentorship approach and.

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That was because I wanted to almost nurture the right fit teacher.

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So if you don't want to take that approach, if you want to just hire

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someone and they kind of do their own thing, or there's not a lot of

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guidance from you or training from you, maybe there's a little bit, but

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they are more established teacher.

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You really need them to be the right fit for what you offer

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because a studio, a school with a.

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Any kind of identity sets you hope for all sorts of issues, because

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you're not going to attract people with all those different identities.

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Right?

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So your studio stands for something, perhaps you love teaching, using games.

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Perhaps you teach adults really well, perhaps you, I don't know, teach hymns.

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It could be anything, but there's something that makes you.

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And there's something that makes students seek you out if they

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have other options available.

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So if you don't seek out the right teachers and you've got this mix of

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teaching styles and everyone is pretty set that they're doing it the way

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they want to do it, you haven't got a studio brand as it were anymore.

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You haven't got an identity you're just offering.

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Lessons for everyone.

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And we've talked many times on the podcast about how that's not the

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best idea and not the best route to success, success, and impact, or

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an income or anything in between.

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So I love this post from Joanna for that reason, because I think

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it's such an important topic.

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And I also love it because she has such a unique perspective.

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I'm going to read you a little bit of the intro.

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She says I travel and.

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No, I literally travel and teach from the road.

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I'm currently writing this article from an Airbnb in Brazil

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where I'm learning Portuguese.

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How cool is this?

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This year?

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I took a leap to learn, to turn my solar printer run out of my home studio into a

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multi teacher studio school that I could teach at and run from wherever I was.

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And while I knew that many of my students were very happy to continue learning

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with me online, there were several that really needed and wanted to have

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an in-person teacher rather than lose students and have them start over with

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a completely new teacher and school.

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I decided to hire two teachers to teach in-person lessons.

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That would be under my guidance.

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So Joanna was based in London and she decided to try.

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The world literally and teach from the road since we'd gone mostly online.

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And she saw that as an opportunity and that's so exciting, but she knew

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she had some students and definitely student applications as well, a waiting

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list who didn't want that experience, who didn't want an online teacher.

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And who wanted in-person lessons in her style in London.

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So she took on two teachers to work at her studio so that she could provide both.

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And I think this is just so smart and so savvy on such an interesting approach.

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So whether you want to travel the world or not, her ideas about hiring the

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right teacher are very, very useful.

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First of all, she talks about getting your ducks in a row.

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She's talking about getting the right mindset, um, where we're coming from

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and where we want to go here, what she means by this, or at least what

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I take from it is your identity.

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I come back to that word identity.

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If you have a core identity as a studio, if you know.

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Why you teach, what kind of lessons you want to offer, what you do, that's

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different, what you liked in your own lessons that you want to continue,

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what you want to be different from how you learned all of those things.

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If you can write that down on paper, if you can formalize it, you're much

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better and a much better position to be able to actually find a teacher

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that works within your studio and fits in with that identity.

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And then Joanna stepped into a vision.

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So this is where you start to imagine what this perfect studio would look like.

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What does your dream studio with these right foot teachers

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actually look like in reality?

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if you're running this multi teacher studio, how much involvement

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do you have in their lessons?

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What is the teaching space?

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Are they online?

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Are they offline?

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Are they at students' homes?

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All those kinds of considerations.

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And what does it feel like as a team is something I would add to this.

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It's really important to me that my teachers here and I

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feel like a very close to.

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And yes, that is especially true because it is a mentorship model.

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It's based on us having weekly meetings, where we discuss all the students

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and their progress and the plans for the next week, as well as more

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general TA training, which we base on the foundations of piano teaching

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course from vibrant music teaching.

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That is a feeling that we're close knit that we're having

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these meetings every week.

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Yes.

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also, you know, having a laugh together that there's fun in our meetings, just

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like there should be in our lessons.

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I want that to carry through both that we.

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Focused and organized in meetings and lessons.

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And that we have fun in both to those are core values of my studio.

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So what are your core values?

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This is a great starting point for looking for a new teacher.

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Whether you want to have a lot of control over their lessons or very little, you

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need them to fit in with what your studio.

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Is, and your core values.

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And I highly suggest writing these down rather than just thinking them,

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because our thoughts morph over time.

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Right?

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If you write them down, you're going to be in a much better position to actually

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hold yourself to them, to see whether they feel bright and change them later.

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If you want to, and to seek out teachers who really fit with those.

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When you interview potential teachers for your studio, you're going to ask,

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you know, the basic interview questions, but you're going to want to design

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questions that somehow get to these core values so that you can assess whether

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this teacher fits in and thinks the way that you do in the way that matters.

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I'm not saying there shouldn't be diversity.

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I'm just saying in those core values, whatever it is.

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That lesson should be fun.

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Let's just take that as an example of what could be a core value of your studio.

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If you think lessons should be fun, you can ask questions that kind

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of in a roundabout way, let you see whether that teacher thinks

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that's a valid opinion or not.

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And therefore, whether they're going to be a right fit for you.

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Like I say, we don't usually look on job sites for our types of roles, at least

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in my country, in many countries, we don't, and there doesn't tend to be a

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network, a formal network of any kind.

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So it does take a while to seek people out, but it's worth taking the time.

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If you want to find the right fit teacher for you.

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Once you've thought about your core values, your identity as a

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studio, you can start to craft your ad or your posting about this job.

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This is really important to spend some time on it.

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Joanna suggest starting with an introduction about your studio.

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I think that's a great place to start.

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So writing a few sentences, if you paragraphs about why your studio is

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a great place to work and what kind of a place it is so that you can

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be really clear from the outset of what they should expect from this

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business, then describe the perfect teacher who would fit right in.

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So what are the key skills you want them to have?

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You can have requirements.

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They need a grade eight or they need a degree or they need this or

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that, but you should also have some key skills, key, um, parts of the

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role that you want them to fulfill.

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So is it important to you that they're very organized person, that they

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communicate well, et cetera, et cetera.

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These are all a little bit wishy-washy in some ways, but

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it's great to put them in there.

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Not so that you can narrow down the prospects.

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In any way, really?

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Because generally anyone applying for a job is going to look at that list.

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If they're taking the job application seriously, they're going to look

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at that list and say that they are all of those things, right?

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They're all positive attributes.

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They're going to claim to have those attributes.

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But what it does help you do is get clear around what you're looking for and

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put out the right message of the kind of teacher you want to attract as well.

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Then Joanna suggests including some bonus questions.

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And I think this is a great thing to do as well.

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And she means open-ended questions here.

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So by that there's no, yes or no.

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There's no check box.

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It's like a paragraph space.

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There's a text box space.

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Or if it's a physical form, somehow there's a box.

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There's a few lines in the box where they're going to write something.

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These can be things related to your core values.

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They could be more general, but the reason Dharana suggest this and the

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reason I'm on board with it as well, is that the teacher applying for it,

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if they fill that in properly and they use, you know, good grammar, they

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craft a thorough, thoughtful response.

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It shows that they put some time into it that they're really

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serious about applying for this.

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And if you do end up getting a lot of applications, that's

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going to be really useful.

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Now you may only have a couple of obligations to sort through, but if

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you do have a lot of them to sort through, it's really good to have

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something to sort of filter by that.

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If they kind of have.

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tried.

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I'm supposed to use another word if they kind of have tried those questions,

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instead of really thinking about their answers that shows you that maybe they

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were just applying for the sake of it.

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They weren't really serious about the position or they didn't

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want your studio specifically.

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Like they didn't seek at this position.

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They were just imply applying for a whole load of stuff.

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Maybe some non-music teaching and some music teaching anything that would be.

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Of course, that is totally fair enough.

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If you're job seeking right now and listening to this, I get it.

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You have to apply to so many, but as studio owners, we want

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really dedicated teachers.

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It's almost a vocation rather than a profession sometimes.

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And we need people who really buy into doing this as their job, as

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their career and take it through.

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So from there, once you have your job post crafted and really do take time

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over that and get it right, it will do everything for you, but it does set

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things up, set the expectations for them, and also frame things for you.

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As you go into the interview process and everything.

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Once you have it, you can start to post about it.

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So this is really dependent on where you live.

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I find.

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You may find that it's great to post on job posting sites like Gumtree

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and some countries or indeed, or jobs or whatever, those kinds of sites

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you may find that beneficial you may find as I've found here in Ireland.

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Private music teachers don't actually look there because they don't

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expect jobs to be posted there.

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So it's very rare that I get a reply on one of those.

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I do post on the likes of Gumtree, but the kind of paid job sites I

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never bother with because yeah, the teachers just don't look there.

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So there's no point.

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What is useful in Ireland is looking to Facebook groups of local

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Facebook groups of music teachers.

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There's one.

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Substitute music teaching.

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And although it's designed around finding substitute teachers for

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schools, it is actually a great place to post it by a private music teaching.

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Cause there's often a lot of people who do both those things, right.

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They combine those in their portfolio career.

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They have music teaching and schools.

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Plus they also teach violin or piano or something as well.

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And they combine.

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So, those can be a great place to try local universities and your own network.

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So ask around post on your social media, your studio's page, but also

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your, your personal page, because.

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This is a local position.

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Well, assuming it is local and you're not hiring someone who

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could be on the other side of the world world, cause it's online.

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If it is local, it's a local position.

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So use your own network.

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If you have one and start reaching out to local schools, local universities, to dry,

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make connections to find the right person.

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It does take a long time for most to find the right person because.

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The thought.

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I want to leave you with.

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If you're thinking about hiring another teacher is something

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I heard a long time ago.

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I don't know whether it's attributable to anyone, but it's hire slowly fire quickly.

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And.

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I prefer to not fire at all because I hire so slowly, meaning take

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your time finding the right person.

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Don't jump into it.

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It is so much harder to let someone go than to just pass on them initially to

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say, oh, it's not the right fit after the interview or in the application process.

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I know it's, it's like looking for new students, right?

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It can be so frustrating.

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And so you can start to feel a bit desperate.

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You can start to feel like, well, I just have to take the they'll

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have to do, but that is not a good way to go into that relationship.

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And if you have those feelings in your gut, that they are not a good

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fit for your studio, trust it.

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It's right.

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I mean, unpack it, decide why it is so that you can be informed for

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future and make a good decision.

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But if you have that strong feeling that they just will not fit in with the way you

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teach or your students don't hire them.

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Wait as painful as it may be.

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Be patient wait for the right person and keep advertising

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and keep seeking out that.

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Right.

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I hope you enjoyed this episode and that you got something out of it.

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If you're looking to hire another teacher, if you're not looking to

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hire another teacher, definitely it's still worth setting out your core

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values, defining your identity and thinking about that because it informs

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you and why you hire yourself, right?

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Why you're in your studio as well.

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You're one thing this week is to write out a job description

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for a teacher in your studio.

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If you're actually hiring someone or looking to start.

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The process of looking for someone, then you can use this as a basis

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for a job description that you post on a job recruitment site.

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Or on Facebook or on your website?

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If you're not, I want you to write it out and then take a look at

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it and see whether you would hire yourself based on these criteria.

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If you wouldn't, if there's something you feel would be

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lacking or might make you hesitate.

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Then seek out some professional development that will help you

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improve in that area to make you the ideal hire for your studio I'll

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see you in the next episode of the vibrant music teaching podcast.

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I hope you have a wonderful week.

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If you ever get overwhelmed by all the different teacher training options.

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They're vibrant music teaching is the place for you.

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We nicknamed flamingos because they're masters of balancing all of

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the things and making it all work in a way that isn't overwhelming.

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We have tools to help you do that inside vibrant music teaching.