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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2622525 03/11/17 03:07 AM
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Judging from the recordings the op has online he/she is progressing really well. So seems the quality of teaching is not an issue here.

There are places where good teachers that teach adults are plenty but this is not the case everywhere. So I'd be wary of advicing to leave a good one without knowing the options.

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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
keystring #2622529 03/11/17 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
One should definitely look at both quality and the timing aspect. How does a student of one or two years go about assessing the quality side of it? What does "good progress" mean? (One can go ahead in grade levels as actual progress, or an illusion of progress, for example.)

Some qualities are quite obvious, and others are less apparent.

If the OP feels the teacher is of good quality, that should be good enough.

I started as an adult student with no prior experience in lessons, and with no family member having taken lessons. I have also talked privately with fellow adult students sorting out this and that. No, sorry, we often do not know. There tends to be too great an admiration and respect, and for the wrong reasons. The teacher is "great" because he or she plays impressively in the student's eyes (which is not the same thing as being able to teach), or because of credentials. If there are difficulties, then the student must be doing something wrong, or not talented enough - there is a lot of self-blame and placing on the pedestal. There can also be strong feelings of guilt for even daring to think something may not be ok, because one must be loyal.

At this stage of the game I do know what to expect. If I started with a new teacher tomorrow, either the same instrument or a different one, I would not expect that teacher to be a clone of the good teacher(s) I have worked with. They may teach quite differently. But I would have some criteria to fall back on.


Really? You would not be able to judge as a child, but shouldn't you have the skills as an adult to judge teaching quality in a new area? If I were starting new lessons in a new-to-me-field, I would certainly be able to judge:
- Skills are being learned rather than just 'copy this'
- The teacher instructs and addresses weaknesses. Instructions can be demonstrated by the student and applied to new material
- There is progress made: not in the amount of new material but in learning new skills

'Great' does not mean 'great in teacher performance but in addressing weaknesses and addressing the needed skills.

I would not expect two teachers to teach exactly the same way but the elements of good teaching would be there.

But to go back too the original post...
If you find the tardiness this big of an issue and think you can learn as well from another teacher, then your reasoning doesn't need to be valid to anyone else. Get another teacher.

Last edited by dogperson; 03/11/17 07:49 AM.
Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
Candywoman #2622565 03/11/17 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Doctors appointments are different. They could have a patient suddenly unearth a new problem, or somebody could be slow-talking. Doctors have trained a very long time, and their time is at a premium. Their day has to be jam-packed where we are, so appointments could never be timed well enough.


What?!
My teacher has a DMA. Has he not "trained for a very long time?"

He has students back to back for hours, not unlike my physician. He also pays close attention and there have been times when my lesson has run over time because I have shown "a new problem" that he has dealt with immediately.

I am happy to wait a few minutes for the student ahead of me to finish up. If he is running more than 10 minutes late he sends an apologetic text message with adjusted time.

But suit yourself. Students can fire teachers on a whim and teachers can do the same with students. Or you can continue in situations you find unsatisfactory.


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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2622586 03/11/17 10:31 AM
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Blackjack1777, it is obvious that you are bothered by the tardiness, otherwise you wouldn't post here. I'd say go with your gut feeling. It might be time for you to look around. Whether or not you switch to another teacher will depend on what other teachers are available for you. People have different tolerance levels for tardiness, so we will make different decisions for the same problem. It is also worthwhile to think about the situation when the table is turned: what if a good piano student is always late by 5 -30 minutes for lessons? I'm sure no teacher will tolerate this because it will affect the students after this one and will cut into the teachers' free time or other appointments. But it's the same for students as well, they all have other commitments, too.


Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2622617 03/11/17 12:19 PM
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malkin, your health is far more important than learning about music. Your teacher may have enormous vast reserves of talent. But a doctor's time is worth more. It's that simple. That's why they make more money. That's why a doctor can go to Africa on some sort of mission to help people, such as Operation Smile, and a piano teacher would be laughed out of the village.

As for you bringing up a last minute problem, I think your teacher should train you to have the discipline to ask it earlier or save it for the next lesson.

It's not a whim to act on the value of punctuality. It's a trait of our culture. All through North America, people show up to work on time, even though nothing important happens for the first while anyhow. I've noticed people trade photos of their dogs when they get to the office. They babble about the coffee maker.

Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
Candywoman #2622657 03/11/17 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
malkin, your health is far more important than learning about music. Your teacher may have enormous vast reserves of talent. But a doctor's time is worth more. It's that simple. That's why they make more money. That's why a doctor can go to Africa on some sort of mission to help people, such as Operation Smile, and a piano teacher would be laughed out of the village.
Now you're changing your criteria. First you cited the amount of education and training, and now you've moved on to how much money a person charges. So, lawyers can be really, really late? 'Round these parts many lawyers charge more per hour than the average M.D. What about a C.E.O? The C.E.O can show up half way through a meeting? Of course the lawyer and the C.E.O would probably get laughed out of the African villiage.

Your comments are quite insulting.

I agree we should be forgiving when an M.D.'s office runs behind. But I disagree about the reason. I think we should be forgiving because (at least most of the doctor's offices I know) they are trying. They are often faced with more work than can really fit into a day, and the office is doing the best they can. Furthermore, whatever you are waiting for is apparently important enough you are willing to wait.


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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2622727 03/11/17 04:46 PM
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I think the degree to which a professional is expected to be punctual is primarily a function of the scarcity of the service they're providing. The amount of money people in different professions make is but one reflection of varying levels of scarcity.

Physicians provide a service that very few people can do entirely without. We don't like it when the doctor makes us wait for half an hour past our appointment time, but we put up with it: as musicpassion says, most doctor's offices are faced with more work than they can handle, and almost nobody in that waiting room really has the option of just walking away.

Piano teaching is different. It is not inherently less valuable than the work of a physician; at least not to someone who considers playing the piano essential in his or her own life. It is, however, much less scarce: there are many, many people in the world who can easily do without a piano teacher. So we are perhaps somewhat less inclined to put up with a piano teacher's tardiness than with a physician's.

But also: most people reading this have probably never payed a physician what (s)he actually charges. For most of us here, health insurance will pick up most of the tab for medical appointments and treatments of all kinds. In other words: we don't feel like we're being cheated out of our money quite so much when a physician makes us wait. A piano teacher who charges $75 a lesson that we have to pay entirely out of our own pocket? That's a different story entirely.

All of that having been said: if I were in the OP's shoes, I'd probably choose to stay with the current (tardy) teacher. Her tardiness seems like a minor issue to me, given the fact that she always makes up for it at the end of the lesson. But as many others have said before me, it's really up to the OP to decide.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2622751 03/11/17 05:43 PM
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blackjack, is it possible that you could travel to the teacher instead? that way it's on you to be on time?

Saranoya, I don't think the OP said the lessons are costing $75 each? I think lesson price does factor into what you can expect. Is this a college student who is teaching the OP, or is it someone who has been doing this for a long time?


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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2622760 03/11/17 06:05 PM
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The doctor tangent is getting us off track. Perhaps it is because I mentioned doctor in the 1st response, but I also said they do not have set time limits (broken bone vs cancer vs flu)

This is about a piano teacher that is often tardy, and that tardiness annoys the student.

The teacher is otherwise good.

So...What to do?

Have a conversation. Check a contract/policy. Make a decision.

Do not compare apples to oranges.



Learning as I teach.
Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
hello my name is #2622832 03/11/17 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by hello my name is
Saranoya, I don't think the OP said the lessons are costing $75 each? I think lesson price does factor into what you can expect. Is this a college student who is teaching the OP, or is it someone who has been doing this for a long time?


No, the OP didn't. I pulled that number out of my hat. In truth, I have no idea what piano lessons cost, or should cost. Mine are subsidized by the government. So, much like my doctor, I've never paid my piano teacher what she actually costs. But she's usually very punctual, and I do appreciate that.

My point: if my piano teacher wasn't quite so punctual, I might be more inclined to put up with that than someone who's paying full price for their lessons, whatever that price may be.

Originally Posted by missbelle
The doctor tangent is getting us off track. Perhaps it is because I mentioned doctor in the 1st response ...


I don't know about the others, but I was primarily responding to Candywoman, malkin and musicpassion. They appeared to be wondering whether price reflects value (I don't think it does; I think it primarily reflects scarcity), and whether the price one pays for a service will (or should) influence the expectations we have of the person providing that service (I think it probably shouldn't, but it does).

I also think childofparadise's perspective is interesting: what would teachers think, do, or say if a good student was consistently late? It's probably true that many would consider that completely unacceptable, or at the very least quite annoying. Whether or not they would stop teaching that person for that reason is probably a very personal question.

In the end, it is of course about priorities. If, to the OP, the teacher's tardiness is enough of an issue to outweigh the benefits of staying with her, then the OP should (and probably will) change teachers. Missbelle is right to point out that other possible solutions exist, such as bringing the issue out in the open by having a conversation about it. But if I'm reading the original post correctly, the OP seems to have tried that already.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
Saranoya #2622834 03/11/17 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Saranoya
They appeared to wondering whether price reflects value (I don't think it does; I think it primarily reflects scarcity)

Along with demand.

Originally Posted by Saranoya
and whether the price one pays for a service will (or should) influence the expectations we have of the person providing that service (I think it shouldn't, but it does).

Why shouldn't it?


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
Polyphonist #2622840 03/11/17 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Saranoya
They appeared to wondering whether price reflects value (I don't think it does; I think it primarily reflects scarcity)

Along with demand.


Yes. But then of course, saying that a service is scarce is just another way of saying that demand for that service outstrips supply.

Originally Posted by polyphonist
Originally Posted by Saranoya
and whether the price one pays for a service will (or should) influence the expectations we have of the person providing that service (I think it shouldn't, but it does).

Why shouldn't it?


I feel like a person offering a service for money should either be good enough at providing that service to earn a decent living doing it (in which case, a certain standard of professionalism can and should be expected, regardless of actual price), or that person shouldn't make people pay them for the service.

The question of how much a piano teacher (or any self-employed professional) can charge is, to my mind, primarily a function of the amount potential clients in the area are willing and able to pay. That has to do with scarcity (or the difference between supply and demand, if you will), as well as with average income and cost of living in the area. I don't think it should have much to do with the level of quality to expect. But like I said: it usually does.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2622841 03/11/17 10:40 PM
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When somebody doesn't respect your time, they don't respect you. And if they don't respect you, how can you possibly expect them to teach you in the best and most efficient manner?

If YOU consistently showed up late for your lessons, she wouldn't have you as a student for very long. She thinks her time is more valuable than yours. She's wrong. Find a new teacher. Preferably one who has learned basic manners, and not a flake who can't wake up on time.



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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2622842 03/11/17 10:42 PM
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It sounds like your teacher comes to your home. Five minutes late occasionally sounds OK. Consistently being late, sometimes 30 minutes late, and cancelling at the last minute because she overslept the alarm clock or had transportation issues - sorry - that's incredibly lame. I wouldn't tolerate it.



Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2622848 03/11/17 11:12 PM
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By the way, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., so firing your doctor who is too busy (and greedy) to see you on time just might save your life.

I don't know where piano teachers rank on the list, but it's probably pretty high.



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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
Saranoya #2622873 03/12/17 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Saranoya
I don't know about the others, but I was primarily responding to Candywoman, malkin and musicpassion. They appeared to be wondering whether price reflects value (I don't think it does; I think it primarily reflects scarcity), and whether the price one pays for a service will (or should) influence the expectations we have of the person providing that service (I think it probably shouldn't, but it does)
Yes I was discussing how we value services. I think other fields are relevant to the discussion. If the OP can clarify his/her expectations, the decision is easier to make.


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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
fishandchips #2622874 03/12/17 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by fishandchips
When somebody doesn't respect your time, they don't respect you.
Some cultures have a very loose relationship with time and punctuality, and they're not communicating disrespect. In California we have quite a melting pot of different cultures.

It's sometimes challenging to navigate all the cultural differences: to communicate with the Chinese family, followed by the Romanian family, and then the Russain family, and later the Kenyan family, then the Phillipino family. Running my music studio has certainly broadened by worldview.


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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
musicpassion #2622996 03/12/17 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by musicpassion
Originally Posted by fishandchips
When somebody doesn't respect your time, they don't respect you.
Some cultures have a very loose relationship with time and punctuality, and they're not communicating disrespect.

When somebody is paying good money for your time, you are expected to provide it. That is the way things work in this country.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2623026 03/12/17 02:46 PM
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I spent a lot of my life selling my time as a professional.

If I had behaved that way towards any of my serious clients, they'd have fired me.

I can't tell you what to do, but were I in the position and feeling the way you do, I would (at a minimum) have a serious conversation with the teacher at our next meeting and say that it isn't working for me because of these patterns; can we agree to fix them?

If not (or if an agreement to fix the problems were broken), I'd probably move on.

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Re: Reasons for firing a teacher?
blackjack1777 #2623222 03/13/17 07:47 AM
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My lessons are frequently rescheduled because my teacher had a gig, or start late because another commitment ran long, but he always communicates ahead of time and I have always blocked the time appropriately. To me that's well worth the opportunity for a lesson with him.

That's not the same as being irresponsible, that's just the price of working with someone who is busy.

So you have to make a choice. Is it a purely rational one? (You get an hour lesson, but you have to plan 90 minutes of your time because you'll probably start late.) Or is it an emotional one? (nobody should be allowed to be that flighty, they must be punished) Only you can answer that. You can tell from the way I worded it how I would respond, but that's just me.

The doctor is irrelevant, but for what it's worth, I make all my appointments for the earliest time they start. Then I am the cause of everybody else running late rather than the result.


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