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Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I think this is too narrowing defining employers and employees. As I said, I hire professional with PhDs who know how to do their job. My sister's university hired her, a psychologist with a PhD, who knows how to do her job (teach students and do research). I completely don't understand the idea that employers only hire employees who need to be told how to do their job. And unless you are going to redefine the relationship that teachers have with schools or professors have with universities, I don't get this at all.


It's the kind of relationship that's different. This has nothing to do with promotions or (lack of) respect.
A piano teacher does not work for you, he works with you.
That's a subtle difference that makes a lot of difference (in my opinion).

I think this is perhaps an important distinction, and I'm not going to minimize this. However, in my mind, there is a nuance though which applies to the OP's situation. If I engage a teacher to teach me, then they are paid by me to working with me - I'm comfortable not calling this working for me. But if I hire a teacher to teach my daughter they they are working for me to work with my daughter. If a school hires a teacher, they are working for the school to work with the students. If the university hires my sister, she is working for them to work with students (and work on research).

There are other distinctions of course. I pay a school to teach my daughter, then the teachers are not my employees, but employees of the school - instead, I am a client or customer of the school. etc etc



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Tyrone, if you are talking about the legal concept of employer/employee, I think you are a bit confused. It’s either you are talking about a legal concept or you are not. I can’t figure out which, because sometimes you say “implied”.

Bottom line, a piano teacher hired by a private individual is highly unlikely to be an employee, even in the US, for tax or payroll purposes. I doubt a private individual would withhold income taxes, or pay Social Security, Medicare taxes and unemployment taxes on the money the individual paid to the piano teacher.

Stating that there is a difference between professional and unprofessional workers is unnecessarily complicating things.

If you do not believe me (which is totally fine as you do not know me nor what I do for a living - hint hint), please believe the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/understanding-employee-vs-contractor-designation

My intention is not to argue, but just to clarify some misconceptions in this thread. Absolutely no intent to offend.


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I think keystring captured the essence of this perfectly. The bottom line here, for me, is that I would have absolutely no wish to teach a child whose parent regarded me as their employee.

And this is fine. Although my sister does work for her university, I'm sure there are also others that would refuse and have refused to work for a university because of the implied relationship. Similarly, I'm sure there are teachers who would refuse and have refused to work in a school because of the implied relationship.

For me it is not a matter of implied relationship, but being able to do professional quality work, efficiently. I will try to give some concrete examples.

- I'm teaching gr. 2. Cursive writing is taught in gr. 3. Some of my kids beg me to teach them cursive writing. As well, I'm told that my own LD kid would benefit from it, because seeing a word "joined" will help him. This happened (1980's). I taught it, as an "activity". Had I been prevented from exercising my judgment by my "employer" who doesn't have the knowledge, this would have been a problem.

- Teachers being prevented from teaching their students as they know how, and being forced to implement things that are harmful for their growth, due to "bosses" (politicians, higher ups), bureaucracy etc.

- In one-on-one teaching, hired privately. Parent wants me to teach in the way she was taught, insisting that if learning activities are fun, no real learning is taking place, since learning must be tedious and hard work. She is being the "boss". What she proposes would undermine the student's learning. End of working relationship.

- In a present profession, an agency hiring me acts like an employer in this "boss" way. Wants me to use their tools, their procedures, send in regular updates, send in my drafts daily, and wants to see steady progress. They know nothing about my field. I first do research (nothing concrete to send); I write drafts which later get polished, so what they receive would not be representative of the final product; I have irregular hours. Their "procedure" would create inefficiency at my end, lead to confusion at their end, and compromise quality.

- You hire a painter, you're the boss, and you tell him to save money by not using primer, and indoor water-based paint for new outdoor siding. As the hired painter, if I let you be "the boss", it's my reputation that's going to suffer as it eventually falls apart, plus I have professional pride in my work.

If you are a professional, it has to do with being able to do your job properly, to good quality. If you are a teacher working with parents and students, then the arrangement has to be to that end. If you can do that within an institution that respects your knowledge and autonomy, then you have what you need (as well).

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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Tyrone, if you are talking about the legal concept of employer/employee, I think you are a bit confused. It’s either you are talking about a legal concept or you are not. I can’t figure out which, because sometimes you say “implied”.

Bottom line, a piano teacher hired by a private individual is highly unlikely to be an employee, even in the US, for tax or payroll purposes. I doubt a private individual would withhold income taxes, or pay Social Security, Medicare taxes and unemployment taxes on the money the individual paid to the piano teacher.

Stating that there is a difference between professional and unprofessional workers is unnecessarily complicating things.

If you do not believe me (which is totally fine as you do not know me nor what I do for a living - hint hint), please believe the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/understanding-employee-vs-contractor-designation

Did we just spot the accountant? grin

I'm sorry if I made a muddle of this. By "implied," I simply meant, whether explicit or implicit, the employer-employee relationship. I know people who have a real problem entering into such a relationship regardless of whether it is explicit or not. Even when it isn't stated outright, the teacher at a school has an implied employee-employer relationship with the school. That is what I'm referring to.

I'm trying to otherwise stay away from the legal or tax terminology. For example, I'm talking about employee-employer relationships, but some could view piano teachers as contractors or service-providers, from a legal or tax perspective. I didn't raise that point as it isn't really what I was getting at.

Let me just restate specifically my examples with my daughter. In 1997, I hired a teacher fulltime for my daughter to do a version of homeschooling while we were domiciled in a foreign country. I viewed this teacher as working for me, but teaching my daughter. She had no other employer and did nothing else except teach my daughter. I set certain standards (I wanted my daughter to be prepared for certain standardized tests, meet certain grade-defined requirements, and so on) and then the teacher professionally determined how to meet my standards and get there. Thereafter, because of my work, I interacted very little with the teacher except getting her progress reports - essentially live report cards.

In 2007, I did the same for this daughter, who was then much older. That time, I hired a retired catholic priest who had his PhD in education and had taught in a parochial school, to be my daughter's teacher, once again for my own flavor of homeschooling, and to my knowledge, he had no other employment except for from me (aside from any church parish duties he might have). Once again, I set the standards - I wanted my daughter to meet the homeschooling requirements of my local school district, and to be prepared for the SAT college board exams so she could attend college afterwards. I also viewed the relationship with this retired priest as an employer-employee relationship, although how he was legally employed by me was more as a contractor, unlike the 2007 teacher, who was legally employed as an employee.

In both 1997 and 2007, I set some standards, felt the teacher to be my employee but to work with and teach my daughter, and I largely left both teachers, who were experienced and professional teachers to their own devices. I assumed they could teach my daughter better than I could - which is why I hired them. I just don't see how I could have viewed them incorrectly. They behaved like my employees (or, contractor in 2007). I paid them appropriately, and everyone got a satisfactory result - me as parent, them as teacher both w/ respect to their pupil and their salary, and my daughter as pupil.

Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
My intention is not to argue, but just to clarify some misconceptions in this thread. Absolutely no intent to offend.

Sure, We are only have a discussion here. Nothing more. My intention isn't to offend either. For my part, I'm being respectful of other viewpoints on this - which seems to be everyone! wink grin

So part of me drilling into this issue is me just trying to determine if I really had gotten off the train at the wrong stop and neither the 1997 teacher, nor the 2007 teacher, were actually my "employees," in any sense of that word, despite me thinking they were, or perhaps there is just a miscommunication going on here and I'm not communicating my viewpoint clearly enough or just making a muddle of explaining myself.


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Tyrone, if you are talking about the legal concept of employer/employee, I think you are a bit confused. It’s either you are talking about a legal concept or you are not. I can’t figure out which, because sometimes you say “implied”.

Bottom line, a piano teacher hired by a private individual is highly unlikely to be an employee, even in the US, for tax or payroll purposes. I doubt a private individual would withhold income taxes, or pay Social Security, Medicare taxes and unemployment taxes on the money the individual paid to the piano teacher.

Stating that there is a difference between professional and unprofessional workers is unnecessarily complicating things.

If you do not believe me (which is totally fine as you do not know me nor what I do for a living - hint hint), please believe the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/understanding-employee-vs-contractor-designation

Did we just spot the accountant? grin

I'm sorry if I made a muddle of this. By "implied," I simply meant, whether explicit or implicit, the employer-employee relationship. I know people who have a real problem entering into such a relationship regardless of whether it is explicit or not. Even when it isn't stated outright, the teacher at a school has an implied employee-employer relationship with the school. That is what I'm referring to.

I'm trying to otherwise stay away from the legal or tax terminology. For example, I'm talking about employee-employer relationships, but some could view piano teachers as contractors or service-providers, from a legal or tax perspective. I didn't raise that point as it isn't really what I was getting at.

Let me just restate specifically my examples with my daughter. In 1997, I hired a teacher fulltime for my daughter to do a version of homeschooling while we were domiciled in a foreign country. I viewed this teacher as working for me, but teaching my daughter. She had no other employer and did nothing else except teach my daughter. I set certain standards (I wanted my daughter to be prepared for certain standardized tests, meet certain grade-defined requirements, and so on) and then the teacher professionally determined how to meet my standards and get there. Thereafter, because of my work, I interacted very little with the teacher except getting her progress reports - essentially live report cards.

In 2007, I did the same for this daughter, who was then much older. That time, I hired a retired catholic priest who had his PhD in education and had taught in a parochial school, to be my daughter's teacher, once again for my own flavor of homeschooling, and to my knowledge, he had no other employment except for from me (aside from any church parish duties he might have). Once again, I set the standards - I wanted my daughter to meet the homeschooling requirements of my local school district, and to be prepared for the SAT college board exams so she could attend college afterwards. I also viewed the relationship with this retired priest as an employer-employee relationship, although how he was legally employed by me was more as a contractor, unlike the 2007 teacher, who was legally employed as an employee.

In both 1997 and 2007, I set some standards, felt the teacher to be my employee but to work with and teach my daughter, and I largely left both teachers, who were experienced and professional teachers to their own devices. I assumed they could teach my daughter better than I could - which is why I hired them. I just don't see how I could have viewed them incorrectly. They behaved like my employees (or, contractor in 2007). I paid them appropriately, and everyone got a satisfactory result - me as parent, them as teacher both w/ respect to their pupil and their salary, and my daughter as pupil.

Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
My intention is not to argue, but just to clarify some misconceptions in this thread. Absolutely no intent to offend.

Sure, We are only have a discussion here. Nothing more. My intention isn't to offend either.


In your example, everything was satisfactory and and everyone was satisfied.

The story would have been different had you decided that your kid needed to be taught in some certain, revolutionary way and you had insisted that Father PhD embrace your new philosophy. At the point where you (of course, not YOU you, but some hypothetical version of you) demanded that Father PhD engage in some immoral and damaging activity, I imagine Father PhD would tell you to kiss off, no matter how broke he is and much you pay him.

A middle case would be if the hypothetical employer insisted in spending a small amount of time on something useless but not illegal, immoral or damaging, like say OUIJI Board based instruction. Father PhD might roll his eyes, bite the bullet, and use it as a teaching moment. Particularly if he's broke and the compensation is handsome.


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I work for people who tell me regularly that they consider me to be "part of the family," but I don't see it that way and I maintain professional boundaries.


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Let me just restate....

Could you at least ONCE respond to my posts, at least one of them? Isn't what you're saying in line with what I've been saying?

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Originally Posted by pianoMom2006
How long does the teacher require lessons for? ... I interviewed another teacher that refused a trial and demanded that we commit to one year of lessons. I was allowed to watch another students’ lessons for an interview if I wanted. We never scheduled this as I thought it was ridiculous.

I "refuse" trials and "demand" commitment. Those are strong words - what I mean is a beginner trial lesson or first meeting is not for teaching playing and reading skills and such. Rather, it's a time to exchange ideas and information to decide whether or not to continue (whether or not there will be plenty of following time to go in depth on skills). I absolutely ask for a term commitment to allow planning for continuity of learning in ensemble/performance/theory class, and I do want people to visit and find out if they want to do what those students are doing.

Why I don't commit to price list and schedule up front:
Teacher/student relationship is not a consumer item to pluck off the shelf. I totally get that these are crucial logistics but if someone thinks they are buying "lessons" and what I'm really selling is involvement in everything my studio offers, there will be misunderstandings. It really is my personal private practice (malkin) where I want to do my job properly, to good quality (keystring).

Earlier in my teaching days, there were parents who referred to themselves as "working professionals" while insinuating that I was not, and gradually I came to make sure that changed.

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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Let me just restate....

Could you at least ONCE respond to my posts, at least one of them? Isn't what you're saying in line with what I've been saying?

Sorry. I did here.


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Let me just restate....

Could you at least ONCE respond to my posts, at least one of them? Isn't what you're saying in line with what I've been saying?

Sorry. I did here.

I see it now.
It only seems, then, that you did not get the point of the post you were replying to. The important point was freedom to do your work properly without someone "playing boss" the wrong way. I explained that in various examples later on.

In your homeschool example, you give the teacher goals you are after. Were I the teacher and if I saw potential problems with those goals I'd probably discuss that with you. Otherwise, the next thing is that the teacher works toward those goals according to that teacher's expertise, as the teacher sees fit. That was my main point. The idea of client vs. employer may be a fuzzy one. Some people who are clients try to "play boss" in the wrong way, and some employers (firms etc.) give their professionals the leeway they need to do the job properly.

The problem comes,for example,when someone hires a teacher and then tries to dictate, without knowing enough,because "after all, I'm the employer". Especially those who have never worked with professionals may do this. In the context of this thread, that is what is important.

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"might not have gotten the point"
The changes PW made to editing cut-off has definitely made this site worse. I am not the only one, by far, complaining.

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Originally Posted by keystring
The problem comes,for example,when someone hires a teacher and then tries to dictate, without knowing enough,because "after all, I'm the employer". Especially those who have never worked with professionals may do this. In the context of this thread, that is what is important.

Yes, I sort of have been assuming employers behave properly and do not treat their professional employees like hourly non-professional workers. Perhaps this was too big an assumption to leave unstated.


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by keystring
The problem comes,for example,when someone hires a teacher and then tries to dictate, without knowing enough,because "after all, I'm the employer". Especially those who have never worked with professionals may do this. In the context of this thread, that is what is important.

Yes, I sort of have been assuming employers behave properly and do not treat their professional employees like hourly non-professional workers. Perhaps this was too big an assumption to leave unstated.

I'm thinking that the consultant/client vs. employer/employee comparison first given was going toward the differences I highlighted - often that is what is meant with those comparisons. What is actually important is the nature of the working relationship. And the reason for that is that you want it to function.

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@Tyrone
When you hire someone as an employee you act as an employer. There are specific laws regarding that relationship and in most European countries there are a lot of responsibilities that come with being an employer. There are also laws that restrict the freedom of the employee. You cannot just leave as you please and most importantly you are required by law to follow the directions of your employer. This is true even if the employer is a highly trained professional. Teachers at schools are normally employers (or civil servants), but not of the parents but the school. I assume that when you hired teachers for your kids you did act as an employer, which is of course possible. If I wanted I could do the same for a piano teacher, but that makes little sense to either party unless I could take lessons for several hours daily...maybe I will after I win the lottery wink

Most private music teachers are enterpreneurs. So you do not hire them as an employer, you buy their service. The laws governing that relationship are different, in Europe that would be mainly consumer laws. The teachers are free to choose their clients and the student is not responsible for anything else than paying for the service provided. Legally the relationship is no different whether I buy the service of a piano teacher or a window cleaner. It is just more complicated to prove that the service is not adequate if problems arise. So the buyer should do more research. And since the relationship is long lasting, personal chemistry is much more important.

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Well I spoke to a highly qualified and experienced private teacher over the phone and have decided to go with her. My wife reluctantly agrees to give it a try.

I didn’t need to ask or say much because she an expert who clearly knows what she’s talking about. She’s used to transfer students and the problems they bring along. Starting over from scratch won’t be hard as my son hasn’t learnt anything from group lessons anyway.

Now it’s up to my son to try the lessons and hopefully enjoy them enough to continue long-term. It’s certainly not an employer-employee relationship here because she’s in high demand, and so if the student and parents aren’t putting effort into learning she’ll stop wasting everyone’s time and end the relationship.

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Good luck Mariner, and especially good luck to your son! smile


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Originally Posted by Mariner


I didn’t need to ask or say much because she an expert who clearly knows what she’s talking about. She’s used to transfer students and the problems they bring along. Starting over from scratch won’t be hard as my son hasn’t learnt anything from group lessons anyway.

Now it’s up to my son to try the lessons and hopefully enjoy them enough to continue long-term.


That sounds great!
I wish you a good start. smile

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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I think this is too narrowing defining employers and employees. As I said, I hire professional with PhDs who know how to do their job. My sister's university hired her, a psychologist with a PhD, who knows how to do her job (teach students and do research). I completely don't understand the idea that employers only hire employees who need to be told how to do their job. And unless you are going to redefine the relationship that teachers have with schools or professors have with universities, I don't get this at all.


It's the kind of relationship that's different. This has nothing to do with promotions or (lack of) respect.
A piano teacher does not work for you, he works with you.
That's a subtle difference that makes a lot of difference (in my opinion).

I think this is perhaps an important distinction, and I'm not going to minimize this. However, in my mind, there is a nuance though which applies to the OP's situation. If I engage a teacher to teach me, then they are paid by me to working with me - I'm comfortable not calling this working for me. But if I hire a teacher to teach my daughter they they are working for me to work with my daughter. If a school hires a teacher, they are working for the school to work with the students. If the university hires my sister, she is working for them to work with students (and work on research).

There are other distinctions of course. I pay a school to teach my daughter, then the teachers are not my employees, but employees of the school - instead, I am a client or customer of the school. etc etc



I have to side with the perspective of Tyrone. Having been a professional teacher/educator for years, as well as a businessman. When I hired a piano teacher for my son, I paid the teacher to "teach" my son. Did I have to tell the teacher how to do her job? No, that is why I "hired" them. I guess it is just a matter of perspective...



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Looks like you already found a teacher, cool.

With your goals, I'd also ask
Do students participate in competitions, and is everyone required to participate?


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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
I have to side with the perspective of Tyrone. Having been a professional teacher/educator for years, as well as a businessman. When I hired a piano teacher for my son, I paid the teacher to "teach" my son. Did I have to tell the teacher how to do her job? No, that is why I "hired" them. I guess it is just a matter of perspective...

I think we all have the same perspective. Are you saying that you were a teacher for years and then a businessman? Did you ever encounter clients who misunderstood their role, and tried to tell you how to do your job? That would make two of us, since I started as a trained teacher, and then moved on to running my own business.

We have all agreed that teachers, as professionals, must be free to do their work according to their own judgment. The confusion arose over the term "client" vs. "employee" because of the way some bosses treat employees. The OP has since found a teacher for the child, and knew how to go about finding one. I join the others in learning the eventual outcome of that. smile

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