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#1393970 - 03/11/10 07:37 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Jeff Clef]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Elissa Milne Offline
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Elissa Milne  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted by Jeff Clef

I've never heard of anyone who had a 100% success rate--- not come by honestly, anyway.


That's a tad cynical Jeff! I've actually had 100% of my students receive distinctions or high distinctions over the past 3 or 4 years (maybe even 5?), and as already mentioned in this thread, that's partly because we decided to delay one student sitting their exam for 4 months (to everyone's relief).

Are you suggesting that I've done this in a dishonest fashion?!

btw, my students only sit exams if and when they wish to and they are ready - is this cheating?!


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
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#1393984 - 03/11/10 08:07 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: currawong]  
Joined: Dec 2007
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keystring Offline
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keystring  Offline
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Canada
Quote
Interesting - I can think of two students I had who were not ready for exams I'd entered them for, and we did a similar last-minute give-it-your-best-shot rescue mission. It was amazing what they could do when they really decided to.

Adrenaline and challenge can do some powerful things. smirk

#1393993 - 03/11/10 08:15 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]  
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Diane... Offline
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Diane...  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2006
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Western Canada
Originally Posted by Chris H.
For the first time in 15 years I am faced with having to pull a student out of an exam due to lack of preparation. The exam is in 2 weeks time and there is no way he can be ready. I don't want him to feel embarassed on the day and I also don't want my own reputation to suffer. The thing is that I feel almost entirely responsible as I pushed him into it in the hope that it would motivate him to practice. It didn't.

At this stage there will be no refund for the exam although his parents will be expecting one. It's expensive and I can't afford it but I feel like I should pay them the fee back out of my own pocket. I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do but I just feel so sick and guilty about the whole thing. At the moment I haven't spoken to the parents about this because the boy (age 15) has asked me not to. He said he will practice this week but I know it will not be enough.


If you don't mind me asking, what grade is it? That would make a difference!


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Diane
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#1394016 - 03/11/10 08:45 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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John v.d.Brook  Offline
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Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted by Chris H.
For the first time in 15 years I am faced with having to pull a student out of an exam due to lack of preparation. The exam is in 2 weeks time and there is no way he can be ready. I don't want him to feel embarassed on the day and I also don't want my own reputation to suffer. The thing is that I feel almost entirely responsible as I pushed him into it in the hope that it would motivate him to practice. It didn't.

At this stage there will be no refund for the exam although his parents will be expecting one. It's expensive and I can't afford it but I feel like I should pay them the fee back out of my own pocket. I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do but I just feel so sick and guilty about the whole thing. At the moment I haven't spoken to the parents about this because the boy (age 15) has asked me not to. He said he will practice this week but I know it will not be enough.


Chris, I started my teaching day a half hour before your post, and am now on my dinner break - the first of the day, before 3 more students this evening.

What a lot of comments your post has produced! Wow.

I strongly encourage my students to participate in Guild auditions. Why not? The process is good for them. As has been noted, it's motivational, it gives students goals, it teaches them to allocate their time and to prepare appropriately. I suspect you're in precisely the same situation. Back in December, one of my better students seemed to be lacking preparation lesson after lesson. We talked. I began to get concerned that he would not be ready for the Audition come May. Finally, in February, I told him (he is 16) that I was going to have to discuss this with his parents, because progress just wasn't happening and he'd never pass his audition if things didn't change.

I mention this, because I have to send in Guild audition fees in January, at the latest, so his fee has already been sent in.

So, to make a long story short, parents want him to continue lessons, his interests have diverged, and while he isn't going to stop his music, he is stopping serious piano study. There was no issue about parents paying the audition fee.

Generally, I think that when there is any serious event like this, with a longer lead time, and fees must be paid in advance, it's not unreasonable for teachers to get a commitment from students, and if for any reason, the student cannot do the event, the fee is still owed.

As the money is paid to the event, I think you should be upfront with the parents and no refund should be forthcoming. The event is not going to refund the money, and it's simply unreasonable to expect teachers to fund vagaries of some students.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1394023 - 03/11/10 08:52 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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keystring Offline
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Canada
My thought about talking to the parents beforehand is this: The exam is still two weeks in the future. The boy has not yet decided to drop the exam. The parents don't seem to be aware. If the student does decide to give it his best shot, then the last thing he needs is to be undermined at home while he practises. His best guide is the person who understands preparing for musical things, and that is his private teacher.

#1394027 - 03/11/10 09:06 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: keystring]  
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Diane... Offline
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Diane...  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,462
Western Canada
There have been times that "I've" wanted to go in and play their practical exam. Who'd know! They don't check identity do they? Kidding here, really!

But, I agree with John, don't pay the parents back for the exam fee. You thought what you thought at the time, so the parents agreed with the exam, on your approval, and the student might just learn something by being in the exam room. Maybe he'll learn something like, don't commit to something if you aren't in full agreement with it!

Curious to know what his reason was for not working to be ready!

Last edited by Diane...; 03/11/10 09:06 PM.

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Diane
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#1394101 - 03/11/10 11:21 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: currawong]  
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 39
Amosquito Offline
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Amosquito  Offline
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Posts: 39
Australia
I've never pulled a student from an exam, though I have been very close once, and that particular student ended up just passing. There were underlying problems in that the student wasn't being honest with me about what he wanted out of piano lessons and the parents were pushing for the exam to happen without having any musical knowledge themselves or real tangible support for the student (such as helping him manage his time/supervise his practise/learn his theory etc).

In this case, I think you need to lay out all the options for your student in front of him.
Perhaps:
A: You do the exam without any extra work.
B: You do the exam and commit to 2 hours practice a day and extra lessons.
C: You forfeit the exam and commit to the later session.
D: You forfeit the exam and do not continue with exams but continue lessons.
E: You forfeit the exam and try your luck with another teacher.
F: You forfeit the exam and give up piano lessons.

Discuss all the consequences of each option. The student, at 15 is old enough to make an informed decision and should be encouraged to discuss the options with his parents.

Good luck and please tell us the outcome.


Amos

Facilitator of learning
Lover of pianos and singing
Wannabe singer/songwriter
#1394106 - 03/11/10 11:33 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Jeff Clef]  
Joined: Mar 2010
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Amosquito Offline
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Amosquito  Offline
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Posts: 39
Australia
Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
I've never heard of anyone who had a 100% success rate--- not come by honestly, anyway.


I have had a 100% pass rate over the last decade. This is also across piano, singing, violin, theory AND musicianship exams and only a handful of those students are merely pass marks. At the moment, around 50% of my students have achieved Honours or High Distinction.


Amos

Facilitator of learning
Lover of pianos and singing
Wannabe singer/songwriter
#1394144 - 03/12/10 01:27 AM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Amosquito]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,275
AZNpiano Online happy
7000 Post Club Member
AZNpiano  Online Happy
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,275
Orange County, CA
Chris:

Do not feel guilty. Many teachers decide to pull students out of testing because the students are simply not prepared. This year, I sent the most students ever into CM. I also had to pull a couple of kids for the first time ever. Thank goodness for Path B.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
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