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#2316492 - 08/17/14 07:26 AM Considering a change  
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Morodiene Offline
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As some of you may know, I've been teaching from a school that I formed with another voice teacher in FL. The firs year things went really well and we were both excited and working together very well. Then last December she announced she was pregnant and ever since then I feel she's checked out. Without getting into the details, essentially it's not working out.

We have one more year on the lease of our building, which is beautiful and I love the space. It is a 30-minute drive from my house, but I don't mind the commute, but there's no way I could survive staying there on my own. Attempts to find another teacher to rent space with me (not as a partner, just renting space) have not panned out.

I have the option of teaching from home. Most of my students live in my area except for a couple of adult students and one child, so if I teach from my home, I may lose those 3. However, I think teaching from home looks unprofessional. Our house is an open floor plan, so there's no way my husband can "hide" while I teach unless he locks himself in his room, and I don't want to ask him to do that. I have two cats, and that's definitely a problem for some people with allergies. Most importantly, I like separating my work from my home. It's economical, and I get to teach on my Petrof, but I think the cons far outweigh the pros here.

Another option is to find another space to teach from. The problem with this, of course, is that I'd have to remodel yet another space (we had paid to fix up our current space), and deal with potential issues of sound bleeding into neighbors, and to find a place that I could afford by myself. I don't need as large a space as I have now, of course, but I'd really have to get great terms on a lease to make it worthwhile. Renting space here is very expensive.

Lastly, of course, is I can work for another music school. There was one I spoke with when I first moved to the area, but the most she could pay me is $18/half hour. I suppose it's worth doing the numbers to figure out what I end up getting paid after paying rent and other expenses as a business owner - perhaps it's even less than that now!

This whole experience has really turned me off to teaching. I love my students and definitely want to continue, but it just seems every option available to me is unappealing. Any suggestions?


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#2316538 - 08/17/14 10:27 AM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Are you both on the lease? My worry is that you will both be responsible for the next year of rent. Or are you thinking 12 months from now?

#2316608 - 08/17/14 03:52 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Do you have space in your garden (yard) for a purpose built piano room?

#2316633 - 08/17/14 05:16 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Wow, $18 a half hour is so low, even taking differences between US and Australia into consideration.

I don't think teaching from home looks unprofessional at all, but it does depend a bit on how your organise your space. It sounds like you'd have to extend/alter/rearrange things if you were to use your home. I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand, though, without doing some creative thinking. Most of the top teachers in my area teach from home (some of them teach at a conservatorium as well, but their at-home facilities look much more professional than the pokey little teaching rooms there!)


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#2316635 - 08/17/14 05:18 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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MaggieGirl: we are both on the lease, but we are both going to honor it since I don't feel like being taken to court. smile

spanishbuddha: Unfortunately, no space on our property. We have zero lot lines, which means our property butts up against the neighbor's house. Although a few months back I saw a food truck for sale and entertained the idea of having a traveling piano studio, maybe I should revisit that…. LOL smile


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#2316638 - 08/17/14 05:22 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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My advice is to market your studio like crazy. With all the complaints about working for a school and the $18/half hour rate you've been quoted, there must be teachers who could rent your space.

Also your former/current partner may be back in business after the birth of her child. Have a heart to heart with her.

Last edited by malkin; 08/17/14 05:41 PM. Reason: advise/advice

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#2316644 - 08/17/14 05:30 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: currawong]  
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Originally Posted by currawong
Wow, $18 a half hour is so low, even taking differences between US and Australia into consideration.

I don't think teaching from home looks unprofessional at all, but it does depend a bit on how your organise your space. It sounds like you'd have to extend/alter/rearrange things if you were to use your home. I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand, though, without doing some creative thinking. Most of the top teachers in my area teach from home (some of them teach at a conservatorium as well, but their at-home facilities look much more professional than the pokey little teaching rooms there!)


Ya, that's the thing. In WI, I used to have a back room with its own door and it worked great because I could shut the door to the rest of the house. Here in FL, you walk in and there's a foyer, to the right are guest bedroom, bath and husband's office, and straight ahead is the living room/office/kitchen/den/dining. It's all one big space. So either hubby gets locked into that "wing" and doesn't get access to the kitchen, or he has to walk through.

We have a room divider/screen thing, but that wouldn't be enough to really separate the piano section of the living room from the rest of the space.

Here are some pics of the space to give you an idea:

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[Linked Image]

Here is the office section which is to the left of the piano area (which you can see behind Shoga):
[Linked Image]

So if you can imagine that whole area being open to the foyer, hallway, and kitchen, it's about 20 or more feet wide.


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#2316646 - 08/17/14 05:32 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: malkin]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by malkin
My advise is to market your studio like crazy. With all the complaints about working for a school and the $18/half hour rate you've been quoted, there must be teachers who could rent your space.
That's what's weird, I've tried but I'm not going to beg people to come. Just so many unreliable young teachers around these days.

Quote
Also your former/current partner may be back in business after the birth of her child. Have a heart to heart with her.
Oh, we have. She had the baby in September, and I'm lucky that she comes in once a week now. She only comes to teach and leaves right away, so she's not taking care of cleaning or billing or any other duties that a partner should.


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#2316674 - 08/17/14 06:27 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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How big is the guest bedroom? (I love reorganising other people's houses! smile )

In my time I've turned bedrooms into dining rooms, music rooms, studies, and even a living room into a bedroom. (not all in the same house...)


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#2316706 - 08/17/14 07:56 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Morodiene, the idea of teaching in my home basically to strangers has been a real deal breaker for me. I work in a music store, and the average teacher makes $20 half hour, but we can raise our rates. Before putting on an addition, if it were me, I would try the music store first. What do you have to lose? You can always leave if it doesn't appeal to you. There are advantages and disadvantages, but that's true for any option that we choose. You can bring your students over to the music school, can't you?

I assume it's allowed to run a business from your home? I know in the community I live in, it is not allowed according to the golden "rules."

Have you thought about going to your students' homes? You can charge more for the obvious reason.


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#2316724 - 08/17/14 08:30 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: chasingrainbows]  
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Morodiene, the idea of teaching in my home basically to strangers has been a real deal breaker for me.
I understand that some people feel that way, but as I mostly work as a free-lance accompanist, I'm forever opening my home (well, my studio anyway) to strangers (whom I often only see twice, rehearsal and performance). I haven't ever had one bad experience, in 40 years or so. Some of the musical experiences haven't been great smile , but nothing creepy. I think I'd know pretty quickly if someone wasn't genuine. But it does help to have a separate space, I think, not just your living room.
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Before putting on an addition, if it were me, I would try the music store first. What do you have to lose?
Income, as far as I can see. smile


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#2316745 - 08/17/14 09:35 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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It really is one big space, isn't it?

I imagine you've already gotten input from your husband.


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#2316750 - 08/17/14 09:53 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Gary D. Online content
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Unfortunately, no space on our property. We have zero lot lines, which means our property butts up against the neighbor's house. Although a few months back I saw a food truck for sale and entertained the idea of having a traveling piano studio, maybe I should revisit that…. LOL smile


I think it was a couple years ago when you moved to Florida that I told you how different it is here. I totally get it. People who live in other parts of the US, where everything is not crammed together, may not.

For the record, you have WAY more space than we have!


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#2316760 - 08/17/14 10:35 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Hi Moro,

When I haven't been working at a college, I've taught in my home for the last 30+ years. I usually have roommates, and the deal that we have is that while I'm teaching, they can use the kitchen all they want but not the living room where I teach. My last living space had an open great room, with the kitchen right in the middle of things. My roommate learned to be quiet and discrete, and the students learned to focus on what they were doing (which was a very useful thing).

Teaching from home looks very professional if you want it to. One of the perq's about teaching from home is that you can have maid service, call it "janitorial/maintenance", and deduct it on your taxes.

Right now, I have a house with another open great room, a soprano roommate, and a spinto good friend of both of ours who had a huge career in Europe before retiring. The spinto flies here every other month to teach for two really intense, 12-hours days, then goes home to the Rockies. The three of us share all the expenses of "maintaining" the place, and we keep it looking nice in between because we just like it that way. We keep a schedule for rehearsals and te4aching. So far, it works fine.

I LOVE teaching at home! Only extreme circumstances would make me teach elsewhere.


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#2316762 - 08/17/14 10:44 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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I'll add my voice to the choir of those saying that teaching from home does NOT look unprofessional - by any standards. It's the normal thing to do for the majority of musical professionals not affiliated with a university. Even with your husband walking around in a robe. One of the most esteemed piano professors at the Manhattan School of Music teaches out of her (fairly shabby), midtown one-bedroom high-rise apartment. Walter Geiseking, at one point in his career, taught in a one-bedroom apartment with wife and six children all in the room at the same time as the student. I would strongly advise you to pursue it. If you want to give your husband a break and some space - perhaps work as a traveling teacher 2 or 3 days of the week would be a good idea to entertain.

By the way, $18 for half an hour at a music school actually seems somewhat generous, at least for what I'm used to. Consider that these places pay teachers generally about $25-35 per hour (roughly half or a little less than what the parents pay the school), a 30 minute lesson would be around half THAT (so $12-17 per hour, or thereabouts).



#2316837 - 08/18/14 06:41 AM Re: Considering a change [Re: currawong]  
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Originally Posted by currawong
How big is the guest bedroom? (I love reorganising other people's houses! smile )

In my time I've turned bedrooms into dining rooms, music rooms, studies, and even a living room into a bedroom. (not all in the same house...)
Guest bedroom is very small. It can fit a queen bed and that's about all. I do need to have that for family when they visit, but even if I got rid of the guest bedroom, it would be right next to my husband's office where he is often on the phone or doing conference calls with clients. The singing and piano playing would be too disruptive. So at least for noise purposes, the current piano room works. It's just not comfortable.

Ever since I started teaching from a studio outside my home, I've loved it. I taught for many years from my home, and having a separate space really helps me. Many of my students who studied with me from my home and then went with me to my studio said it was a lot better learning in the studio.

chasingrainbows: I'm actually looking into a couple of options, but the $18/half hour thing won't fly. But I'm not opposed to it if I can find a reasonable amount and people who know how to treat teachers. I have a friend who started up her own school that may be in the market for a new teacher in the near future, and there was another possibility through another friend. Still, I have to calculate what it would be like if I found a place on my own and just taught there at my current rate vs. teaching at a lower rate at a school without the overhead. Definitely a consideration though.


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#2316846 - 08/18/14 07:02 AM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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I didn't mean to offend anyone who teaches from home about the "looking unprofessional" comment. All I can say is that my students said lessons got so much better when I started teaching from a studio. I think it's more that *I* took myself for seriously as a professional.

My home is my sanctuary, and I take pride in keeping it clean and in order, but there are always things that happen - cat throws up a hairball during the lesson or something that is perfectly normal in a space you live in, but embarrassing when you are teaching. Or if I don't have time to do the dishes before students arrive, or vacuum, or clear up clutter that accumulates in the foyer, that makes me feel as though I'm being unprofessional and I don't like that feeling. If I could keep my teaching area confined to a room that would be much better, but in this case I can't - not without making it difficult for hubby to conduct his business.

At my studio, I can arrive 15 minutes early and do what little clutter clean up, vacuuming, and cleaning of bathroom that needs to be done before students arrive. Much easier to keep a place ready to teach when you don't live in it.


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#2316887 - 08/18/14 09:36 AM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Morodiene, when I was taking lessons in teachers' homes, I had these experiences:

Piano was in living room, kitchen next to living room. Cooking smells made me feel sick to my stomach. The next student was sitting on a couch in the room I was playing in, while waiting for their lesson. I quit within weeks.

Another teacher had a separate room that looks very organized and immaculate like your "conservatory" in your home. I felt very comfortable and really enjoyed lessons there.

Truthfully, if you teach mostly young people, it probably wouldn't matter if your husband was nearby, or the kitchen adjoins the music room. It's the adults who I feel are much more particular.

There really are a lot of perks to working in a music store/school. No scheduling headaches, no student shopping, music is available on site to purchase. I can drop a student for any reason at any time. As I said, we are also free to raise our rates at our discretion.


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#2316915 - 08/18/14 11:16 AM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Why not just carry on for another year in your outside studio - the place you love - and just keep your ears open about finding another partner? As long as your present partner pays her share and just shows up once a week, seems to me you should consider yourself lucky.

If she can't get to cleaning and bill paying as you'd like, well, just do these things yourself. As long as she is good for the money and not in your hair, things sound pretty good.
You basically have the place to yourself, with someone else paying half.

If you find another teacher to join you (replacing your present partner), have her rent space from you, and you retain full control. No more partnerships. It would be like someone renting a chair in a hair salon.

#2316920 - 08/18/14 11:23 AM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Lastly, of course, is I can work for another music school. There was one I spoke with when I first moved to the area, but the most she could pay me is $18/half hour. I suppose it's worth doing the numbers to figure out what I end up getting paid after paying rent and other expenses as a business owner - perhaps it's even less than that now!



Absolutely it is worth doing the numbers. $36 per hour with no expenses is an ok rate of pay. Provided the teaching environment is acceptable to you: good lighting, good instrument, little noise, etc.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 08/18/14 11:23 AM.
#2316934 - 08/18/14 11:43 AM Re: Considering a change [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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I've had two teacher experiences in my life.

The first, 25 years ago, was with a teacher with young children who taught in her house. Although she taught in her living room at a Yamaha grand, occasionally one of her kids would wander in. Also, her husband was always very cool with me. I was the only adult male student that she taught; you go figure it out. Still, it was not an unpleasant experience.

The second (present time) teaches in her home in the common living/family room at a fully-restored 1973 Yamaha C3. Kids are grown, husband is retired. Her teaching studio couldn't be a more beneficial learning environment.

So I think it depends how the home teaching environment is set up.

BTW: Down here in lower Delaware learning at a music store is akin to a piano learning factory. Totally unacceptable to me and my wife. Perhaps a real piano academy would be a different experience. None to be had down here that I know of...


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#2316976 - 08/18/14 01:53 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Could you sublet your studio space, or part of it, to someone for the days/hours when you're not teaching? Not necessarily a music teacher.

Counselors and social workers often have most of their appointments in the evening after dinner. Or there might be someone, or an organization, that would like the space on Sundays. Obviously it would need to be an activity that wouldn't cause people to be bumping into your piano(s).

#2317015 - 08/18/14 03:55 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Why not just carry on for another year in your outside studio - the place you love - and just keep your ears open about finding another partner? As long as your present partner pays her share and just shows up once a week, seems to me you should consider yourself lucky.

If she can't get to cleaning and bill paying as you'd like, well, just do these things yourself. As long as she is good for the money and not in your hair, things sound pretty good.
You basically have the place to yourself, with someone else paying half.

If you find another teacher to join you (replacing your present partner), have her rent space from you, and you retain full control. No more partnerships. It would be like someone renting a chair in a hair salon.


Peter, those are great suggestions, especially the last one!


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#2317038 - 08/18/14 05:09 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Morodiene Offline
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I am going to stick it out this last year, and continue to look for sublease people. I didn't think of doing non music teachers, but why not? I'm just trying to think of other ideas that I could get rolling so I can "phase out" the studio space. Of course, I've been doing the bills, billing and cleaning, as well as accompany the recitals, so its nothing new to continue.

One word of advice to teachers or anyone else out there tempted into partnerships: don't do it, no matter how nice it seems.


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#2317082 - 08/18/14 07:12 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Two thoughts,
first, please keep teaching. Your answers on this website show great insight into the teaching process. We need teachers like that!

Second, would it be possible to hire a cleaning service for once a week and simplify the billing process? Collect fees at the start of the month for the coming month. Don't send out bills. Save trees!


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#2317098 - 08/18/14 08:18 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Consider switching your husband's office with your piano area.

Also, consider putting a partial wall in next to the current piano studio.


Last edited by Candywoman; 08/19/14 12:03 AM.
#2317105 - 08/18/14 08:40 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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ITA with renting out the space - makers spaces are becoming very popular - why not for the music industry or professional? If you could just find a couple of other professionals you could even do a m/t, m/w/f and see about getting 2 more people. I'm leaning towards wait and see over the next 6 months if you can get her space used. Maybe talk with a designer and see if they have ideas on how to change your home so you have more privacy. The initial cost might not be worth it, but over time it might be an advantage.

#2317124 - 08/18/14 09:25 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
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Posts: 16,225
Boynton Beach, FL
Thanks everyone, you've given me lots to think about. Most likely the solution will be a combination of teaching from my home and at another school/studio where I can tap into a different market. I'll have to talk it over with hubby to see what kind of solutions we can come up with. If I teach one or two days a week from home, it's not as big of a deal as every day.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2317143 - 08/18/14 10:32 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: Morodiene]  
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,292
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013
FarmGirl  Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,292
Scottsdale, AZ
Apologies if someone already shared similar idea with you.

Share the studio with a few other music teachers. My friend rents a house with 4 other teachers. Violin cello voice you name it. There are a lot of teachers need a room to teach a few times in a week but not every day. In this way everyone will have a room they can use and the rent will be very reasonable. My teacher entered into the partnership with other teachers when she was living with noise sensitive boy friend. Now she does not need a teaching space any more since she lives alone but decided to continue paying for it since it is close to the university and attracts music minded college students.


1) Bach c minor fantasy
2) Morzart Rondo in A minor, K511
3) Schubert Impromptu A flat D935 No2
4) Scriabin op11 prelude #2 and #14 (Re do #2, new #14)
5) kabalevsky Variations in A minor OP 40-2
#2317148 - 08/18/14 10:59 PM Re: Considering a change [Re: BrianDX]  
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,161
DameMyra Offline
2000 Post Club Member
DameMyra  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,161
South Jersey
Originally Posted by BrianDX


BTW: Down here in lower Delaware learning at a music store is akin to a piano learning factory. Totally unacceptable to me and my wife. Perhaps a real piano academy would be a different experience. None to be had down here that I know of...


The Delaware School of Music has a branch in Milford.


Private Piano Teacher
MTNA/NJMTA/SJMTA
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