Piano studio demeanor - How should teachers and students behave?

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Postby Mins Music » Fri Aug 27, 2004 6:08 pm

pianogirl wrote:I just don't want to be the "mean" teacher!

Ever heard of the expression you have to be cruel to be kind? Well that's a load of hogwash! No one ever needs to be cruel to get children in a frame of mind to learn.


Imagine you have a little boy in your care and you have to cross a busy road. If you're a responsible caring adult, you will take the child firmly by the hand and lead them across. If you see an oncoming truck speeding towards you, you will no doubt say "Run, or hurry, or quickly!" or some other one word ommand. You have the child's best interests at heart. Yet the child might say to you once you've crossed the road. "You are SO mean! Why did you yell at me?"

How are you going to feel. Would you be overcome with guilt and agree with him that you're a terrible person? Then make a note to self: well being firm and direct didn't win his favour, I'm going to return to asking him nicely if he would like to get out of the way of the oncoming truck.

Okay, so a little hyperbole thrown in there for emphasis, but you get the point! :p

Sometimes kids won't like us. That's okay. Growing up I bet there were times you were convinved you hated your mother or father.... didn't mean you did.

The important thing to get across to all children - devils and angels, is that we like them! (And if we don't, we need to take a step back and find something we can like about them... even if it's their sparkly shoes). We may not like their behaviour /attitude at a particular time, but that doesnt mean we don't like them. It won't hurt even to say that. "Jenny, I like you very much, (give a reason) but, I don't like your attitude about (whatever it is). This part of your behaviour has to stop in my studio." You can even take this further by asking them, "Will you stop this behaviour?" If they sulk, "Yes or no. Your choice." If they eventually say yes, thank them very much, tell them you're really going to look forward to lessons with them. If they say no, "That's very disappointing, I was hoping to continue lessons with you because you (do something well etc). If your behaviour doesn't stop, then I have no choice but to dismiss you from the studio. I don't want that. Are you sure you do?" If they sulk some more, look like they're going to burst into tears, say, "How bout you give that some thought this week, maybe talk to your Mum or Dad, and let me know next week. I hope you'll change your mind and decide to behave appropriately so we can continue lessons."

If her choice is you she would rather misbehave than continue lessons with you, then by all means recommend another teacher, wish her the best, but warn her that this teacher may not like her behaviour either.

Then ring the teacher, and tell the truth: that you dismissed this student because you didn't like her attitude and you gave her an ultimatum, and she chose to go somewhere else. Always be honest, never bend truths. If it WAS your fault, admit it, but if you tried everything in your power, then feel good about yourself, don't take the blame and any consequent repurcussions that may come with this course of action. (eg, if you say 'I couldn't handle her', then that teacher may not recommmend you because "she's not very good with kids" etc. Just a thought).

ANYWAY, this whole post was pretty much hypothetical, because I'm sure you want have any more huge problems with this young girl.

Let us know how you get on pianogirl.

"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Mins Music
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