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#2069109 - 04/23/13 04:15 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Fire the student.

Now.

If the student is a large enough emotional burden to the teacher, I agree this is the answer. Only the OP can assess their own state of mind on this, however.

I think that even if the OP fires the student it could be a good thing for the student too. I accepted a transfer student whose previous teacher gave a description somewhat similiar to what's above. I'm really hard to run over, and I know that, so I thought I'd give the student a chance. It's been working out great. I've had zero difficulty from the student or the parent and they are musically flourishing.

I'm not the right teacher for every student. None of us are. Sometimes dropping the student is best for teacher and student.


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#2069190 - 04/23/13 08:16 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Whizbang
Originally Posted by AZNpiano

I can put up with the slow or the untalented


Ouch.

?


As a student who is slow and untalented, it is offensive to be 'put up with' as one might put up with a neighbor's incessantly barking dog or a car alarm in the night.

I'd prefer to have a teacher embracing the challenge of teaching me or perhaps even enjoying this challenge. If my teacher's attitude were merely putting up with me, I'd seek another teacher.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2069201 - 04/23/13 08:39 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Whizbang
Originally Posted by AZNpiano

I can put up with the slow or the untalented


Ouch.

?


I was on the slow and untalented side of the spectrum, so thinking back and realizing that my childhood teachers might also have just been putting up with me kind of felt like a gut punch.

Last edited by Whizbang; 04/23/13 09:59 AM.

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#2069247 - 04/23/13 10:20 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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Hi all,

Since the post, I took the suggestions some of you gave me and have emailed the parents telling them I will not tolerate her behavior any longer in my studio and will kick her out the next class that she speaks to me that way. The reason I emailed is because there are language barriers in communication between the parents and myself and I am not sure they always understand me verbally.

I emailed her father this time, not her mother. He emailed back saying he was shocked and surprised to hear this and that she acts this way around him and her teacher at school too and he did not notice it as bad behavior. He told me that I should tell him what she's doing wrong and that he will work with her. The mother emailed me, grateful that I said something, and told me that this is how the father and daughter talk to her at home and that apparently her father is the one who taught her to challenge the teachers, even going back to her days in China. Since the father is the one who dominates what goes on in that household, and does not listen to the mother much at all, this is why the daughter is behaving this way.

Since clearly, neither the dad nor the girl realized this behavior was bad, I will continue working with them for now to see if this improves and explain to the dad that this behavior is not acceptable here, nor should it be acceptable anywhere.

As far as toughness...I am actually known for being tough and reacting quickly. The reason I emailed on here is because I want to know the professional and dignified approach for dealing with this. Sure I could tell her several things, but doing it in a more professional manner is what I am after.

She is actually smart, was taught the right way in China (i.e. came to me with real knowledge so I did not have to start from the beginning). I hope that with time and parental involvement we can shape her into a polite young lady.

Thanks everyone who contributed to this post. Your suggestions and opinions really helped me begin to address the situation.

#2069320 - 04/23/13 12:23 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: malkin]  
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Originally Posted by malkin
As a student who is slow and untalented, it is offensive to be 'put up with' as one might put up with a neighbor's incessantly barking dog or a car alarm in the night.

I don't put up with incessantly barking dogs or car alarms at night. If I don't bother them, they don't bother me.

Originally Posted by malkin
I'd prefer to have a teacher embracing the challenge of teaching me or perhaps even enjoying this challenge. If my teacher's attitude were merely putting up with me, I'd seek another teacher.

That's your call. You can take your money wherever you want. The question remains: How can you tell if the teacher embraces the challenge, or merely puts up with the challenge?


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#2069321 - 04/23/13 12:28 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
I seriously think that she thinks you are idiot from your descriptions. You have three options as stated above. I would choose option two.


It does sound like the teacher has not earned the respect of the student yet. The bad attitude is simply the clumsy (and wrong) way that the kid uses to communicate this. To keep this student, being firm in discipline is secondary, the main issue is whether the student will truly respect the teacher and whether this can happen fast.

#2069328 - 04/23/13 12:37 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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Originally Posted by P.M.
Since clearly, neither the dad nor the girl realized this behavior was bad, I will continue working with them for now to see if this improves and explain to the dad that this behavior is not acceptable here, nor should it be acceptable anywhere.

Everything is sound and good, except that I would downplay the fact they're from China and they're in a new country. End your last sentence at "acceptable." The last thing you want to do is coming across as being xenophobic.


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#2069472 - 04/23/13 05:13 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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Thanks AZNpiano for voicing what I was thinking while reading through these posts. Where this student came from is not the issue -- focus on what behaviour is and isn't acceptable in your studio.

#2069499 - 04/23/13 05:47 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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Malkin, and Whizbang:
There's no need to take a sentence like that to heart. Some people are looking to feel offended. We're all a bit of a pain or bother to somebody. Do you know how some seniors worry they'll be a burden to their family as they age? Newsflash: They were a burden long before that. Everybody tries the patience of others.

Have you never encountered people (not students necessarily) whom you had to work hard with to engage in conversation? Or people whom you had to entertain for your husband's sake? Or boring people at your job?

Are there students you have to put up with?
Absolutely.

Does that mean they're not worth investing time in?
Absolutely not.

#2069509 - 04/23/13 06:03 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: LadyChen]  
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Originally Posted by LadyChen
Thanks AZNpiano for voicing what I was thinking while reading through these posts. Where this student came from is not the issue -- focus on what behaviour is and isn't acceptable in your studio.


Exactly what I was thinking. The rude student I had, who was dismissed from my studio, is not a "foreign student". It doesn't matter, there are rude people from every ethnicity, it's not the issue.


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#2069548 - 04/23/13 07:38 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: Candywoman]  
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Originally Posted by Candywoman

There's no need to take a sentence like that to heart. Some people are looking to feel offended.


To be clear, it's not really looking to be offended and I wasn't offended. Pianistically, I'm doing okay now, though not as well as I would wish, and it's conceivable that there were many talented folks of my childhood who I envied who have long since given up the instrument. (So there!)

Even as a child, though, I could sense that I wasn't excelling at this avocation/instrument (without working hard) in the way that I excelled at academics (without working hard) and, well, I won't say that I was particularly socially in tune with my teachers--there's a power disparity there and I didn't really engage/question--but I doubt I was any teacher's favored student. (I changed teachers perforce several times due to moving every few years.) To tie back to the thread, I do think I was always respectful (for a kid/teen), if *often* embarrassed due to not having practiced.

I'm not sure why I kept going. The only way I can say it is that I play piano because I can't not play piano.

So it's not that I was looking to be offended by the post in question (and I wasn't), it's that the comment dredged up the prospect that not only was I disappointed in my playing but that my teachers were suffering in in silence all along. (Which could very well be true, but it still makes me go, "Oh... ugh".)

For some reason, it's still hard not to take things like that to heart. I don't understand it, but more than anything else, musical expression, however imperfect, seems more inextricably entwined into my self-image than any other activity I engage in. IMO, performing exposes oneself to an incredible level of vulnerability that no other activity I engage in seems to approach.

Having picked up formal instruction again, as an adult, just a few years ago: my current instructor, who is an aficionado of the style that I finally realized I really truly enjoyed, is a delight. We have a real rapport and I think I'm finally thriving at the piano. I'm progressing steadily, but progress is by no means as fast as I would wish. I don't know if it's the teacher or my readiness to be a student, but I'd wish I'd found someone like him a couple decades ago.

Thank you Piano Teachers Forum for this productive therapy session--I'm sure those of you with adult students are no stranger to it!

Last edited by Whizbang; 04/23/13 07:39 PM.

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#2069563 - 04/23/13 08:23 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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While it's true that it might "not matter" what ethnicity a difficult student is from, it IS true, that there *could* be clues that you could learn from understanding that student's culture/country that might help us understand how different cultures view certain ways of relating as acceptable or not. What is rude here in the States MIGHT not be considered rude in China. I think that the OP was trying to determine that, but I'm not sure that anyone in this thread has either confirmed or denied that the issues *might* be stemming from a cultural difference.

Even in the interest of being "culturally open," I don't think it's helpful to DENY that there COULD be differences/misunderstandings.

#2069596 - 04/23/13 09:36 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: red-rose]  
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Originally Posted by red-rose
While it's true that it might "not matter" what ethnicity a difficult student is from, it IS true, that there *could* be clues that you could learn from understanding that student's culture/country that might help us understand how different cultures view certain ways of relating as acceptable or not. What is rude here in the States MIGHT not be considered rude in China. I think that the OP was trying to determine that, but I'm not sure that anyone in this thread has either confirmed or denied that the issues *might* be stemming from a cultural difference.

Even in the interest of being "culturally open," I don't think it's helpful to DENY that there COULD be differences/misunderstandings.


O.K. this could be the case, but I'm just sayin' that plenty of kids from caucasian culture are rude.


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#2069697 - 04/24/13 12:48 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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#2069704 - 04/24/13 01:39 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: red-rose]  
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Originally Posted by red-rose
What is rude here in the States MIGHT not be considered rude in China. I think that the OP was trying to determine that, but I'm not sure that anyone in this thread has either confirmed or denied that the issues *might* be stemming from a cultural difference.

Or some people might feel the answer is so obvious, that it doesn't need to be confirmed or denied??

Hello?????!!!!!!!!!! crazy


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#2069710 - 04/24/13 01:51 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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That was a nice post to read Whizbang.
"The only way I can say it is that I play piano because I can't not play piano."

When one of my piano teachers was old and earth-tired, I said to her, "You had to have a lot of patience teaching me, didn't you?"

She answered, "Oh yes, very much so."

So even "good" pupils are "put up with." One should never end a sentence with a preposition.

(That is something up with which I will not put.)

#2069824 - 04/24/13 08:52 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: Candywoman]  
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Originally Posted by Candywoman


(That is something up with which I will not put.)


LOL. "Or that is up something with which I will not put." But I think that gives the sentence a whole new meaning laugh

I said it early on in the topic that this has nothing to do with China. Being disrespectful to a teacher I'm sure is frowned upon there as well. The real fact of the matter is that the OP is allowing this child to act out whatever issues she has with authority or with her in a manner that is disrespectful. She should be firm but fair with the student to resolve the issue and if no improvement occurs, she should dismiss the student.

As far as "putting up with" I know exactly where AZN is coming from. When I have a student that constantly comes to lessons unprepared or doesn't want to be there, it makes me not want to teach them. It's very hard to overcome this initial feeling of dread that occurs, and if a solution isn't found soon, it's better to dismiss the student than take someone's money with no results.


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#2069878 - 04/24/13 10:28 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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To address the issue of culture:

I think it does matter where someone comes from because different cultures see things differently and communicate differently as well, as is clearly the case here. Being a Russian immigrant myself, I often had to get used to the way that Americans would say things and they had to take time getting used to me and the way I communicate and what I try to get across. I am not a xenophobe, but someone who takes culture into account when dealing with those from other countries which is why I brought up the fact that she is from a different country.

Being from a different country, immigrants (at least from personal experience and from those around me) often need explanations of how to behave here, what and how to say things. That is as true today as it was when I came here many years ago.

#2069887 - 04/24/13 10:37 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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Originally Posted by P.M.
To address the issue of culture:

I think it does matter where someone comes from because different cultures see things differently and communicate differently as well, as is clearly the case here. Being a Russian immigrant myself, I often had to get used to the way that Americans would say things and they had to take time getting used to me and the way I communicate and what I try to get across. I am not a xenophobe, but someone who takes culture into account when dealing with those from other countries which is why I brought up the fact that she is from a different country.

Being from a different country, immigrants (at least from personal experience and from those around me) often need explanations of how to behave here, what and how to say things. That is as true today as it was when I came here many years ago.


But I see no evidence of that being the case here. The OP has other Chinese families and apparently does not have this problem with them, only this one child, so it is clearly not a cultural thing.


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#2070159 - 04/24/13 06:43 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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Originally Posted by P.M.
To address the issue of culture: ....

Being from a different country, immigrants (at least from personal experience and from those around me) often need explanations of how to behave here, what and how to say things. That is as true today as it was when I came here many years ago.

You reminded me of the night in 1974 when my first batch of Russian relatives arrived in Los Angeles. My mother had been working very hard getting their apartment ready and didn't have time to cook, so she bought a gigantic bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

We were all a little surprised when each of the five said they weren't hungry. Each one accepted only the smallest piece of chicken, and that only after a lot of prodding.

The second time the platter went around, each of them took two or three more pieces. We later learned that Soviet manners required everyone to refuse food until they were pressed. My relatives got over that particular cultural barrier very quickly!

#2070263 - 04/24/13 10:25 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Candywoman


(That is something up with which I will not put.)


LOL. "Or that is up something with which I will not put." But I think that gives the sentence a whole new meaning laugh

Are we venturing out of the PG zone here? wink grin whome


Regards,

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#2070436 - 04/25/13 05:09 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: Whizbang]  
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Originally Posted by Whizbang
So it's not that I was looking to be offended by the post in question (and I wasn't), it's that the comment dredged up the prospect that not only was I disappointed in my playing but that my teachers were suffering in in silence all along. (Which could very well be true, but it still makes me go, "Oh... ugh".)

And that's why I responded to your one-word response with a question mark. It was unclear what your intentions were. Thank you for clearing that up.


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#2070460 - 04/25/13 06:49 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

As far as "putting up with" I know exactly where AZN is coming from. When I have a student that constantly comes to lessons unprepared or doesn't want to be there, it makes me not want to teach them. It's very hard to overcome this initial feeling of dread that occurs, and if a solution isn't found soon, it's better to dismiss the student than take someone's money with no results.

I could NOT agree with you MORE here.

I am rather angry tonight. I had a TERRIBLE day yesterday. People keep coming to this forum with "advice" about how teachers "should" act, as if we are robots who could and should potentially deal with any situation, no matter how discouraging it is in the real world.

Today I had three people quit, something that normally does not happen in a month or two.

1) An adult informed me that he had "problems" and would not be able to continue lessons. This happened after he assured me that he loved coming to lessons, loved the piano, and thought I was a great teacher. And just a couple weeks ago he wanted to increase his time to an hour. <????>

It took me almost an hour to find out that the whole thing was financial. Now, how do you go from having enough money to ask for doubling lesson time to not having enough money to continue at all? In only a couple weeks?

2) Another parent cancelled lessons for May saying that "something came up". I had already been told that they would be out of country all summer, but now it is plain that they have no time in May either. The boy, who is doing very well, will now be gone for the next four months

3) The boy in my last lesson of the day will be stopping because "dad has no time to help him". I made it clear before starting this boy that lessons would not work if the parent did not work with the child at home. But NO work had been done at home for at least two weeks, and really no work was ever done at home. The result: this child was unable to find five notes in the treble clef after almost two months of lessons.

Another boy who started at the same time, same age, is reading music in both clefs and now knows major chords in most keys - and more, knows how to count, knows the note values of basic notes, knows a scale, several octaves.

Yet if I try to tell the second parent WHY the OTHER boy is doing great and HIS has made no progress, I will hear every reason, every excuse in the universe why it is MY fault that nothing has happened.

I wish ONE parent or student how comes here but who has never taught would at least THINK about the fact we really deal with huge problems and that somehow we are expected to be miracle workers even when given NO cooperation.


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#2070477 - 04/25/13 08:00 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: P.M.]  
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Unprepared, uncommunicative, flaky or being a general PITA isn't the the same as slow or untalented.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2070483 - 04/25/13 08:11 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: Gary D.]  
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

Today I had three people quit, something that normally does not happen in a month or two.

1) An adult informed me that he had "problems" and would not be able to continue lessons. This happened after he assured me that he loved coming to lessons, loved the piano, and thought I was a great teacher. And just a couple weeks ago he wanted to increase his time to an hour. <????>

It took me almost an hour to find out that the whole thing was financial. Now, how do you go from having enough money to ask for doubling lesson time to not having enough money to continue at all? In only a couple weeks?


Gary, you go from doubling your lesson time to suddenly quitting lessons by losing your job. It's not surprising that he's embarrassed to admit it.

#2070505 - 04/25/13 08:50 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: Gary D.]  
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Morodiene

As far as "putting up with" I know exactly where AZN is coming from. When I have a student that constantly comes to lessons unprepared or doesn't want to be there, it makes me not want to teach them. It's very hard to overcome this initial feeling of dread that occurs, and if a solution isn't found soon, it's better to dismiss the student than take someone's money with no results.

I could NOT agree with you MORE here.

I am rather angry tonight. I had a TERRIBLE day yesterday. People keep coming to this forum with "advice" about how teachers "should" act, as if we are robots who could and should potentially deal with any situation, no matter how discouraging it is in the real world.

Today I had three people quit, something that normally does not happen in a month or two.

1) An adult informed me that he had "problems" and would not be able to continue lessons. This happened after he assured me that he loved coming to lessons, loved the piano, and thought I was a great teacher. And just a couple weeks ago he wanted to increase his time to an hour. <????>

It took me almost an hour to find out that the whole thing was financial. Now, how do you go from having enough money to ask for doubling lesson time to not having enough money to continue at all? In only a couple weeks?

2) Another parent cancelled lessons for May saying that "something came up". I had already been told that they would be out of country all summer, but now it is plain that they have no time in May either. The boy, who is doing very well, will now be gone for the next four months

3) The boy in my last lesson of the day will be stopping because "dad has no time to help him". I made it clear before starting this boy that lessons would not work if the parent did not work with the child at home. But NO work had been done at home for at least two weeks, and really no work was ever done at home. The result: this child was unable to find five notes in the treble clef after almost two months of lessons.

Another boy who started at the same time, same age, is reading music in both clefs and now knows major chords in most keys - and more, knows how to count, knows the note values of basic notes, knows a scale, several octaves.

Yet if I try to tell the second parent WHY the OTHER boy is doing great and HIS has made no progress, I will hear every reason, every excuse in the universe why it is MY fault that nothing has happened.

I wish ONE parent or student how comes here but who has never taught would at least THINK about the fact we really deal with huge problems and that somehow we are expected to be miracle workers even when given NO cooperation.


The same thing happened with my partner in January. She lost a bunch of students in one feel swoop all for various reasons (and one student was probably a good loss to have). These things are worrisome for those of us who rely upon that student coming back so we have a means to pay the bills that don't change like rent, food, gas. Let alone if the teacher has a family to support too. These times are always tough to take and despite having policies that require 30 day's notice, even if all 3 students adhere to that, it's still a problem in 30 days.

I know you'll pull through this, and some of those that don't teach really don't seem to understand and always look to blame us or think that we can't have feelings too about this stuff. This always makes us question what did we do wrong? But the truth of it is, no matter how great a teacher you are, we don't always get great students.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2070795 - 04/25/13 04:41 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: Gary D.]  
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AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Yet if I try to tell the second parent WHY the OTHER boy is doing great and HIS has made no progress, I will hear every reason, every excuse in the universe why it is MY fault that nothing has happened.

I don't hear that very much in piano teaching, but back in the days in public school, it's like a repeated mantra: "Blame the teacher!" Even in faculty meetings, we get these "experts" who came in with graphs and charts, explaining that, among the persons responsible for "student learning" to take place, the teacher bears the bulk of the responsibility.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2070797 - 04/25/13 04:44 PM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
This always makes us question what did we do wrong? But the truth of it is, no matter how great a teacher you are, we don't always get great students.

[Linked Image] Very nicely put.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2072634 - 04/28/13 05:14 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: BrainCramp]  
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musicpassion Offline
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Originally Posted by BrainCramp
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Today I had three people quit, something that normally does not happen in a month or two.

1) An adult informed me that he had "problems" and would not be able to continue lessons. This happened after he assured me that he loved coming to lessons, loved the piano, and thought I was a great teacher. And just a couple weeks ago he wanted to increase his time to an hour. <????>

It took me almost an hour to find out that the whole thing was financial. Now, how do you go from having enough money to ask for doubling lesson time to not having enough money to continue at all? In only a couple weeks?


Gary, you go from doubling your lesson time to suddenly quitting lessons by losing your job. It's not surprising that he's embarrassed to admit it.


And/or their house. I lost a lot of students back when the Calfornia housing bubble broke.


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#2072745 - 04/28/13 10:50 AM Re: Young Rude Foreign Student-What to Do? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

I don't hear that very much in piano teaching, but back in the days in public school, it's like a repeated mantra: "Blame the teacher!" Even in faculty meetings, we get these "experts" who came in with graphs and charts, explaining that, among the persons responsible for "student learning" to take place, the teacher bears the bulk of the responsibility.

The solution there is quite simple. Blame the experts! And I'm not quite kidding.

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