Why I Teach

Olga S. Hardman

He smiles up at me when I answer the bell and he bounds through the door swinging his blue carry-all with pink handles. His very presence energizes me. Today he is wearing his bright blue and gold soccer uniform. He must have a game after todayís lesson.

As he adjusts himself on the bench and places his carry-all on the floor beside the piano, I am suddenly aware of what a typical-looking third-grader Justin is. Skin tanned by the spring sunshine, sparkling brown eyes flecked with gold, his profile reveals a perfectly shaped Roman nose.

I settle myself in the rocker beside the piano and Justin begins, "1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4............." His fingers are perfectly curved, his posture erect like a soldier, as he plays and recites aloud, "G Major Scale: Tonic, Sub-dominant, Dominant, Dominant-seventh, Tonic."

"1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, .............," he continues.

"Justin, did you get this piece memorized?" I ask. 

"Oh, yes, I know it all," he replies.

"1, 2, 3, 4, ........," he continues.

"That was beautiful - everything just right. I wonder if you could play it in the key of G?" I ask

Only a brief pause and then he says, "Iíll try." "1, 2, 3, 4......"

Not a note missed, each beat on time. Every care of my day melts away.

With bated breath, I ask, "Justin, do you think you could play that in the key of C?" 

Just a moment passes while he looks at me and I see his thinking reflected in his bright brown eyes. "Iíll try," he says.

He shifts his arms downward, adjusts his hand position, and begins. "1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, .............."


I lean forward and hug Justin and he hugs me back. We both crow with delight and cry with joy.

© 1994 Olga S. Hardman