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End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
#1684984 05/26/11 01:38 PM
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2 questions here:

1. Twenty or thirty-something male piano teacher end of year gift. This is our first year (takes lessons at school). How about a penknife/swiss army knife as an end of year gift? My daughter wants to get him a snowglobe, but that is out of season. He's an accomplished jazz pianist. I know teachers on this board have said cash is appreciated, but that would be inappropriate for us.

2. My daughter tells me her teacher was always texting on his phone during her lessons. I didn't believe her, but she imitates him looking up from his phone and saying "that's a C." She's in Alfred Level 1 and I know it must be boring for him, but still. My question is: am I just being old-fashioned in not liking it, or is that really unacceptable?

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Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1684990 05/26/11 01:49 PM
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Yes, it is unacceptable. Completely unacceptable. Students need one-on-one guidance and help, not a distant pre-occupied warm body.


Piano teacher.
Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685017 05/26/11 02:52 PM
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WHAT?? No way is that acceptable!! I know it's awkward, but I would bring it up.

I had 2 students come to me because their old teacher was vacuuming!



It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.
Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685156 05/26/11 06:21 PM
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First of all, texting during lessons is incredibly unprofessional. Second -- just looking up and correcting notes is not teaching. Teaching beginners requires constant attention to posture, fingering, hand position, etc. He shouldn't be bored. If he is then he's not really teaching.

And vacuuming? That's really incredible!


Piano teacher since 1995
Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685177 05/26/11 07:20 PM
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My worst teacher ever sat about 20 feet away at his kitchen table eating while I was playing my songs, and he gave me very little feedback. One of my students came to me because her previous teacher thought she had too short an attention span and could only handle 10-minute lessons. I have never, ever had problems keeping this student's attention, by the way. She practices and progresses beautifully for me.

It's appalling what some people consider "putting in their time," and not just in the field of piano teaching. Coming from someone who loves almost every minute with my students (okay, the days when kids haven't practiced nearly enough are tedious!), I just don't understand it. If you don't like teaching, why keep doing it?


Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC
Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685218 05/26/11 08:16 PM
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If the teacher who's supposedly receiving the gift and the teacher who is texting are the SAME TEACHER, I'd recommend a size 12 workboot planted firmly in his posterior!
Gift my A**! This guy should gift you with a refund.
Otherwise, a Swiss Army knife would be a great gift. I'd like it.


I'm getting there--note by note.
Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
Michael Steen #1685247 05/26/11 09:09 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. My question was actually sincere, since I don't like electronic multitasking in general but I was not sure how much of it was my particular viewpoint and how much was truly unprofessional. Actually, a lot makes sense now. Two months ago I emailed him and explained that I thought my daughter had not mastered basic note reading and was playing by ear. He was surprised to hear this but now it makes sense that he didn't notice!

Anyway, he's a nice guy and we got the knife. But seriously considering finding another teacher next year.

Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685260 05/26/11 09:41 PM
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Yea gift nice guy with the knife (I wouldn't), then take your daughter elsewhere!

Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685409 05/27/11 08:34 AM
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I hope he sees this topic. Going elsewhere will solve the problem as far as your daughter goes, but it won't solve it for the other students who just accept the behavior. What a shame if students are turned off to piano because his inattention to teaching causes them to become frustrated.


Ken

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Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685463 05/27/11 10:28 AM
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I guess it depends upon how much he texts. I've received texts from students or parents during lessons. Why don't you sit in on lessons?


~Stanny~

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Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685529 05/27/11 12:28 PM
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I can't imagine texting during a lesson. Not even ONE text, EVER. But "constantly" texting. Wow.

Now, I used to not have a clock in the room where I taught. And since I don't wear a watch, I would sometimes try and glance at my phone for the time. But even that, I felt guilty about doing. Past that, the ringer should be off, and the phone put away. If I had a student who texted during lessons, I'd have a fit.

Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685624 05/27/11 04:03 PM
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As a customer, I would not stand for a teacher texting during my kiddos piano lesson in any kind of consistent fashion. You're not paying them to keep their social life up, they're supposed to be teaching your kid.

Your gift of a knife is somewhat symbolic for some folks. Time to sever that relationship and be sure to let them know exactly why. Nice guy/bad teacher isn't going to do you or your daughter any good.

Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685675 05/27/11 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jenly
Twenty or thirty-something male piano teacher end of year gift.


Speaking as a teacher, the gift I appreciate most is a well-prepared student. A close second is a referral which results in a paying student!

As far as texting goes, drop the guy. He has no business being unfocused during the lesson.


"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
Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685759 05/27/11 10:30 PM
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I agree that texting is not appropriate during lessons.

If I have an urgent issue that I need to tend to during lesson, which happens rarely anyway, I tell the parent prior to the start of the lesson. Those always consist of phone calls - not of texting. Then, whatever time I spent dealing with my personal issue is made up, plus an extra 10 minutes, after the original lesson time was scheduled to end. I think we all understand that things happen from time to time, but texting constantly is simply not appropriate. The parents are paying for the teacher's dedicated time, and they are fully deserving of it.

Last edited by pianoeagle; 05/27/11 10:30 PM.

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Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
Stanny #1685859 05/28/11 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Stanny
I guess it depends upon how much he texts. I've received texts from students or parents during lessons. Why don't you sit in on lessons?


You can always check your messages after the lesson.

Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1685999 05/28/11 10:33 AM
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My teacher occasionally takes a call during my lesson. She usually explains why and apologizes. The calls last about a minute and it happens like once every six weeks so I don't mind. As far as making it up, we often go over when no one is behind me anyway.

Does the school know about the texting during lessons? They need a new music teacher.


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Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
KurtZ #1688304 06/01/11 07:06 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Her school takes music quite seriously and has a large dedicated faculty, but this teacher is an adjunct brought in to help with the piano lessons after school. Lessons are held in a small studio and while I guess there would be space for me to sit in, it would be cramped and not typical.

I really do not want to say anything to the school, especially since I did not observe the behavior myself. Based on my daughter's report, I am sure he's been on the phone at least once, but beyond that it's impossible to say. I don't even know how I would bring it up.

Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
jenly #1688919 06/01/11 11:46 PM
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I guess it varies from culture to culture, location to location and teacher to teacher over what is acceptable and unacceptable. Generally here, in my experience, teachers are laid back, they answer calls during lessons, but also excuse themselves and apologise and they are always brief - often saying "I'm sorry I really cant talk for long because I'm teaching." and also are fine to go 1 or 2 minutes over, sometimes ten-twenty minutes depending on the situation. Besides this, my teacher has very occasionally told me that such and such has happened and I'm going to text that person back, I promise I wont be long. Texting doesn't happen all through the whole lesson, but occasionally when it's something important he'll text and explain why he's texting.

The situation you described really sounds unproffessional though a part of me can understand it, especially since the teacher you describe is young ... I'm studying music at an undergraduate level and hear stories about that all the time ... It's why I don't charge much at my age and level of ability, I'm just here for the experience and any money I make normally doesn't go to me, it goes back to my own piano tuition! Somehow young teachers don't always appear to be professional when they start out ... and especially because they come from a generation where technology is everywhere, sometimes it's a way to excuse boredom - in this situation obviously from those replies of other teachers it's unacceptable.

Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
Nannerl Mozart #1688923 06/01/11 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Nannerl Mozart
I guess it varies from culture to culture, location to location and teacher to teacher over what is acceptable and unacceptable. Generally here, in my experience, teachers are laid back, they answer calls during lessons...
I don't. smile And neither do teachers I know. I let calls go to the answering machine, and return text messages when I finish teaching.


Du holde Kunst...
Re: End of year gift/piano teacher texting during lessons
currawong #1689063 06/02/11 08:38 AM
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My phone takes three or four loud rings before it goes to the answering machine, after which it plays its message, and then you get to hear the message from the person leaving it, and then it beeps at you every 30 seconds until you listen to the message again. A lot of times it's less disruptive to answer and say, "Can you call me back in an hour? I'm teaching right now."

And often the call is another student's parent saying they're sick and won't be at lessons.


Piano teacher since 2008, member of NFMC
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