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#1393800 - 03/11/10 04:03 PM Pulling a student out of an exam
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
For the first time in 15 years I am faced with having to pull a student out of an exam due to lack of preparation. The exam is in 2 weeks time and there is no way he can be ready. I don't want him to feel embarassed on the day and I also don't want my own reputation to suffer. The thing is that I feel almost entirely responsible as I pushed him into it in the hope that it would motivate him to practice. It didn't.

At this stage there will be no refund for the exam although his parents will be expecting one. It's expensive and I can't afford it but I feel like I should pay them the fee back out of my own pocket. I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do but I just feel so sick and guilty about the whole thing. At the moment I haven't spoken to the parents about this because the boy (age 15) has asked me not to. He said he will practice this week but I know it will not be enough.
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#1393814 - 03/11/10 04:25 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
shame

on

you...

'almost entirely'? Try completely if you knew he was not ready and used it to motivate him to practice. You dont have the right to feel worried about your reputation right now. Its already tarnished.

The poor fellow is already embarrased as he doesnt want his parents to find out, because he thinks it's his fault. You should really explain to him that it is not his fault but that you made a bad error in judgement.

I also feel bad for you that you allowed yourself to get put into this situation.

The right thing to do would be to pay them back, maybe by giving free lessons over a period of time; that's IF they choose to continue with you.


Edited by D4v3 (03/11/10 04:30 PM)
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#1393823 - 03/11/10 04:31 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Thanks for your support D4v3,

good to know that there are perfect people like you who don't make mistakes.
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#1393825 - 03/11/10 04:33 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Chris, if you really consider this is your fault and it would make you feel better, why don't you suggest he do the exam at a later stage with no additional charge (that is, you will pay for the next entry, however you want to explain it to them). I know some people might disagree with me on this one, but I know how you feel.

[edit] I failed to explain that the reasoning behind this suggestion was that though you can't afford it now, it may be possible by the time the next session comes around. Just a suggestion. smile



Edited by currawong (03/11/10 04:35 PM)
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#1393826 - 03/11/10 04:35 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
This isnt about being perfect, its about ethical behavior at someone elses expense that you are wanting to be comforted in.

I truly sympathize with what you are facing as I would not want to face it myself; however, this sort of thing, based on what you stated above, is something very unbecoming of a professional.

I hope it works out for you, I really do.


Edited by D4v3 (03/11/10 04:37 PM)
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#1393828 - 03/11/10 04:37 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Thanks for your support D4v3,

good to know that there are perfect people like you who don't make mistakes.
They probably aren't teachers either...
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#1393830 - 03/11/10 04:39 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
You say you pushed him into it. Did he ultimately have a choice about it? If so, did he understand what would be required for him to participate successfully?

If so, then you do not bear the full responsibility of it. He agreed to it, he knew what it would take, and he didn't do the work.

If, however, you did not communicate to him what the expectations were, then you are indeed responsible.

You can lead the horse to water, you cannot make him drink.

There is a way out of this. In our exams, there is a "Path B." Path A is the full live audition and testing with a hired evaluator. Path B is a private audition and testing within the studio. For my Path B students, I set a date and administer the test and write a comment sheet with scores, just like they do for the Path A students.

Perhaps you could set up something similar. Lesson learned, no?
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#1393832 - 03/11/10 04:41 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Minniemay]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
There is a way out of this. In our exams, there is a "Path B." Path A is the full live audition and testing with a hired evaluator. Path B is a private audition and testing within the studio. For my Path B students, I set a date and administer the test and write a comment sheet with scores, just like they do for the Path A students.
Now that's an idea. I've done this for other teachers, that is, I've been the examiner for a "path B" exam.
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#1393833 - 03/11/10 04:44 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Thanks for the practical suggestion currawong. I don't think it will help in this case as there is nothing to suggest that he would practice for the next session either.

Exam entries need to be done well in advance, mid January for this session. At that time none of the students are ready, in fact some have not even started on the syllabus. They are entered based on potential and also because they ask. This particular boy was given the option and chose to be entered, at the time I felt he had the ability and will to do it.

Usally things come together in the few weeks running up to the exam but for him it just hasn't. He is perfectly capable but just hasn't put in the work. At the age of 15 I don't think it's too much to expect someone to take responsibility for their own learning and development.

However, I do accept that I should have seen this coming.

D4v3, how do you deal with exam preparation with your own students?
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#1393834 - 03/11/10 04:45 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Minniemay]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
You say you pushed him into it. Did he ultimately have a choice about it? If so, did he understand what would be required for him to participate successfully?

If so, then you do not bear the full responsibility of it. He agreed to it, he knew what it would take, and he didn't do the work.

If, however, you did not communicate to him what the expectations were, then you are indeed responsible.

You can lead the horse to water, you cannot make him drink.

There is a way out of this. In our exams, there is a "Path B." Path A is the full live audition and testing with a hired evaluator. Path B is a private audition and testing within the studio. For my Path B students, I set a date and administer the test and write a comment sheet with scores, just like they do for the Path A students.

Perhaps you could set up something similar. Lesson learned, no?


That also depends on how much he was coached into doing it as well. There is a reason teachers get hit harder than the general public for doing bad things around minors. Its based on the position of Trust they hold. A minor is more likely to do something a trusted teacher tells them, than they would a stranger.

Shoot, there were times when I did things I didnt understand because I trusted my school teacher/piano teacher knew better so I went along with it.

minors are also penalised more leniently because they lack certain judgement and critical thinking skills, coming back to the adult/teacher should know better before they position it to the kid.


Edited by D4v3 (03/11/10 04:46 PM)
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#1393838 - 03/11/10 04:50 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Chris H:

I do not pretend to be a piano teacher and my comments were based on your admission of "I pushed him into it".

I am a professional in a different area where if I was misleading or coaxed people into something that was not right for them, I would be fired and go to jail.

I hope your question was not a prelude to "well if your not a teacher then you dont have the right to say anything", because as I mentioned earlier this is an issue of unbecoming behavior of a professional.

I know you feel sick and guilty about this, which means you want to do the right thing, which I believe is to pay them back with an explanation but dont be suprised if they choose to discontinue lessons.


Edited by D4v3 (03/11/10 04:52 PM)
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#1393839 - 03/11/10 04:50 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Sometimes a student needs an event on which to focus to motivate them. Based on past experience with this boy I thought it would do the trick.

BTW, I had his best interests at heart. Why else would I have entered him?
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#1393842 - 03/11/10 04:53 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Sometimes a student needs an event on which to focus to motivate them. Based on past experience with this boy I thought it would do the trick.

BTW, I had his best interests at heart. Why else would I have entered him?


Well lesson learned is, think of other ways to motivate someone other than something that is so expensive you cant pay it back if it fails.
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#1393843 - 03/11/10 04:53 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
But I also think that a 15 yr old student needs to make decisions and find out what the consequences of those decisions are, good or bad. If they aren't given the opportunity to make decisions, coached or not, they will not function in the adult world.

Adults are confronted with decisions all the time. There is always someone who tries to influence us.

In the grand scheme of things, this decision about the exam is a pretty safe one to make a mistake on. His life will not be ruined because of it. He will not end up in jail because he chose not to practice. And it is OK for him to feel bad about his lack of preparation. Perhaps next time he'll either do the work or make the decision not to participate.

I think our modern society has catered long enough on self-esteem to the detriment of character development.
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#1393846 - 03/11/10 04:55 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: D4v3
shame

on

you...

'almost entirely'? Try completely if you knew he was not ready and used it to motivate him to practice. You dont have the right to feel worried about your reputation right now. Its already tarnished.

The poor fellow is already embarrased as he doesnt want his parents to find out, because he thinks it's his fault. You should really explain to him that it is not his fault but that you made a bad error in judgement.

I also feel bad for you that you allowed yourself to get put into this situation.

The right thing to do would be to pay them back, maybe by giving free lessons over a period of time; that's IF they choose to continue with you.


D4v3,

You are certainly up tight with your comment to Chris.

Chris has been around the forums for quite some time and he does not deserve an unhelpful comment like yours - really!

Chris,

The young man at age 15 certainly knows what is required of him in being practiced and prepared. I would call or write his parents to make them aware of the impending problem. As you say, nothing will help at this point.

I'm not sure how much $ you are talking about in the fee for the event, but perhaps the parents will be understanding of the fact that it is par for the course that registration fees are not refunded because the money is collected by an outside organization, not by your studio.

I wouldn't apologize for the problem either. It is really your students lack of motivation and disregard of priorities and deadlines that has caused the situation.

If anything, he needs to get back in your good graces and to be responsible to you and his parents who footed the bill in the first place.

There is no need to compensate for the fees put forth at all in my mind. Enrolling him was with everyone's good intentions, wasn't it? And, as far as your tarnished image goes, Chris, I'd say you are not the source of the problem and have been encouraging and supportive to him at all times.

In the miraculous event that he does prepare and can do the event then he will have learned a big lesson in being well prepared musically as soon as possible so that he doesn't have to make excuses to you or his parents. No one is doing him a favor by letting him continue to think he has enough time left to adequately prepare.

Since the slot and time is paid for, I think I would wait until the last minute to cancel his participation in the event. This leaves the final decision at the last moment so that he can see and hear where he really is on the day before the event. All of his "plans" may come to naught, but should he be able to "show well" in this event, you still might want for him to play.

If he is definitely where you predicted the only thing you can say in a very strong voice is something like: "I told you so and you did not listen to me. Better you should have listened. I believe we have some decision making to do together and a recommittment on your part to piano lessons."

Listening and taking his views into consideration is something you can decide whether you want to do or not.

I think that it's harder and harder to prepare for deadlines when the teacher has high standards and expectations for their students and the students are demonstrating that they are lacking in the work ethics required to make themselves achieving
musicians.

Think strongly from your point of view as the teacher and explain what you observed in this situation and restate your requirements and ambitions for your students in positive words.

This one student is not going to set the pace for your studio, Chris. They should be apologizing to you!

Betty

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#1393848 - 03/11/10 04:58 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Minniemay]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
But I also think that a 15 yr old student needs to make decisions and find out what the consequences of those decisions are, good or bad. If they aren't given the opportunity to make decisions, coached or not, they will not function in the adult world.

Adults are confronted with decisions all the time. There is always someone who tries to influence us.

In the grand scheme of things, this decision about the exam is a pretty safe one to make a mistake on. His life will not be ruined because of it. He will not end up in jail because he chose not to practice. And it is OK for him to feel bad about his lack of preparation. Perhaps next time he'll either do the work or make the decision not to participate.

I think our modern society has catered long enough on self-esteem to the detriment of character development.


Wow... I hope you remember what you just said the next time you want to complain about the state of the economy and the way that banks strong armed the common person into those home loans which may have been misleading.

Throw those poeple into the streets, they had to have some clue and there is no sense of accountability to the mortgage brokers.

And while piano teaching is not home loans the principle applies to what you just wrote.
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#1393851 - 03/11/10 04:59 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
@ Betty

Sorry to offend you but when Chris writes "I pushed him into it" may also mean the student put up some resistance but was pushed to go ahead with it. And personally I wouldnt care if we were talking about a common recital, but one that is apparently expensive is distateful.


Edited by D4v3 (03/11/10 05:00 PM)
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#1393853 - 03/11/10 05:03 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: D4v3
Wow... I hope you remember what you just said the next time you want to complain about the state of the economy and the way that banks strong armed the common person into those home loans which may have been misleading.

Throw those poeple into the streets, they had to have some clue and there is no sense of accountability to the mortgage brokers.

And while piano teaching is not home loans the principle applies to what you just wrote.


I guess it all depends on whether you think my motives for entering students for exams are the same as those of banks encouraging people to borrow money they can't pay back.
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#1393863 - 03/11/10 05:14 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: D4v3
@ Betty

Sorry to offend you but when Chris writes "I pushed him into it" may also mean the student put up some resistance but was pushed to go ahead with it. And personally I wouldnt care if we were talking about a common recital, but one that is apparently expensive is distateful.


He put up no resistance. This is not the first exam he has taken and he is fully aware of the requirements. He had already started work on the syllabus and di not want to go for the Summer session as it would clash with school exams. I encouraged him to enter for the spring and he agreed.

Despite what you might think I believed it was the right thing to do at the time.
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#1393866 - 03/11/10 05:21 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]
D4v3 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 501
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Originally Posted By: D4v3
@ Betty

Sorry to offend you but when Chris writes "I pushed him into it" may also mean the student put up some resistance but was pushed to go ahead with it. And personally I wouldnt care if we were talking about a common recital, but one that is apparently expensive is distateful.


He put up no resistance. This is not the first exam he has taken and he is fully aware of the requirements. He had already started work on the syllabus and di not want to go for the Summer session as it would clash with school exams. I encouraged him to enter for the spring and he agreed.

Despite what you might think I believed it was the right thing to do at the time.


If that's the case then why are you feeling guilty and wanting to pay them back at your expense and saying things like "I pushed him into it"?

And yes, the way you wrote it, it did sound like the mortgage brokers who took advantage of someone who didnt know better, but then had a change of heart.

I would be pissed if my teacher said "Dave I think your ready/ should be ready for this the cost is $XXX.XX". A week before the event "Yeah Dave your no where near ready." I would think it was my fault, but then if I went online and saw my teacher say something like "I feel so bad for doing this to him I pushed him into it and I dont want to suffer the consequences (reputation/cost)", I would think ... "why did he say he thought I was ready for this or would be ready for this, because obviously he didnt by what he just wrote".


I really really really do feel bad for you and by and large your probably a nice person, but I feel more bad for your student if what you wrote above is true.


Edited by D4v3 (03/11/10 05:23 PM)
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#1393867 - 03/11/10 05:22 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11580
Loc: Canada
This is coming as student and parent of now-adult was-student-once, of course. So it might be off.

Chris, what I am reading so far is the following. It would seem that you see some potential in the young man, and that he is not living up to his potential because he has not been practising - that was the reason you took this gamble. You have written that he is certainly capable of it (If he had practised). What you see in him is something positive and uplifting (the potential) - does he know it? The second part is your concern about his lack of practicing which is causing him not to reach his potential (what he should be able to do). That is another thing that he needs to understand. Maybe you have said it here and there, but has he really understood it? These are also positive things.

Currently he is in this situation where he is not ready for the exams, which are in two weeks. He feels in a bind about it. The first lesson in it for him is the fact of him not having practiced, and how he could have nailed it if he had done so. What if you can use this? What if he gave it his best shot, fought to get his material as well as he can get it in the next two weeks - get some effective ways of practising - maybe extra lessons if you can manage it. Even if he fails it is less of a failure. Whether or not he "fails" the exams, he will still be improving tremendously, which is the thing that is actually won. If there is improvement - if he manages to see that improvement (even with "fail" comments) then might this be something to build on and look forward to?

I think the choice should be his, in consultation with you. He's 15.

The part that I am not able to understand since I have not been in such situations is the parental part. I keep hearing that parents care a great deal about these grades and these exams. I am a parent, and have only had to deal with my own situation which was not that. What is the parental attitude? Are they only oriented toward grades or do they have a perspective of their son as a musician / music student? If they have a broader perspective, and can be made to see that the real learning does not reside in that event, maybe the three of you can work together.

How does this boy handle challenges? Is he into sports, for example.

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#1393874 - 03/11/10 05:31 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: keystring]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: keystring
The first lesson in it for him is the fact of him not having practiced, and how he could have nailed it if he had done so. What if you can use this? What if he gave it his best shot, fought to get his material as well as he can get it in the next two weeks - get some effective ways of practising - maybe extra lessons if you can manage it. Even if he fails it is less of a failure. Whether or not he "fails" the exams, he will still be improving tremendously, which is the thing that is actually won. If there is improvement - if he manages to see that improvement (even with "fail" comments) then might this be something to build on and look forward to?

I think the choice should be his, in consultation with you. He's 15.
Interesting - I can think of two students I had who were not ready for exams I'd entered them for, and we did a similar last-minute give-it-your-best-shot rescue mission. It was amazing what they could do when they really decided to.
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#1393880 - 03/11/10 05:37 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Chris H.]
PianonaiP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/09
Posts: 119
Loc: Central PA
Yeah honestly, dave's comments are pretty harsh toward a situation he is generalizing from the phrase "pushed him into it". Obviously if the child had doubts about doing it he would have conveyed them to his parents and had them not fork over the cash. Unless the parents are rich and do not really care where that money is going. In which case problem solved!

As well, not all professions go by the same code of ethics. If you work as a car sales man and "encourage" or "push someone into" buying a car, it is for a much different reason than a teacher encourages or pushes a student to develop his/her skills at the piano. I am not a piano teacher, but I am a student. The way I see it is if my teacher is not pushing me to get better, I am certainly wasting my time. As well, stating that pushing someone to get better in a skill they dedicate hours per week to improve is a bad thing? Give me a break.

If you are calling Chris H's professionalism into question, he/she acted in the best interest of the student and herself. Judging from what Chris H has said, the child had the potential to do it, has already been through the exam process, and just did not dedicate enough to practicing. So in my eyes, it is the fault of the student. To restate, the student knows what is on the syllabus, knows what it takes to get there, knows how long until the exam, and just did not practice.

What I would do is pull the student if he/she is not ready. If he enters the exam and fails miserably, his pride will suffer and your pride and reputation will suffer. The money will be wasted either way, and the student will learn a lesson either way. However by pulling him it have less of a strain on your reputation (maybe).

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#1393892 - 03/11/10 05:58 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: keystring]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: keystring
The part that I am not able to understand since I have not been in such situations is the parental part. I keep hearing that parents care a great deal about these grades and these exams. I am a parent, and have only had to deal with my own situation which was not that. What is the parental attitude? Are they only oriented toward grades or do they have a perspective of their son as a musician / music student? If they have a broader perspective, and can be made to see that the real learning does not reside in that event, maybe the three of you can work together.

How does this boy handle challenges? Is he into sports, for example.



Parental attitude is that it is just another subject in a long line of subjects and activities undertaken both in and out of school. It's the qualifications and certificates that count. At the moment he is half way through a school music course at the end of which he is required to be at least 2 grades higher than the exam he is currently taking. The school is a specialist music college and music is supposed to be his thing. He did very well in his last exam and the preparation was done at a late stage. This time though the standard is higher and he really has left it too late IMO.
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#1393901 - 03/11/10 06:14 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: D4v3]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Originally Posted By: D4v3
If that's the case then why are you feeling guilty and wanting to pay them back at your expense and saying things like "I pushed him into it"?


Because I made a mistake. Clearly it was not the right thing to do.


Originally Posted By: D4v3
I really really really do feel bad for you and by and large your probably a nice person, but I feel more bad for your student if what you wrote above is true.


Well thank you for that. I feel bad for him too. There must be some reason why he is unable to do this and I can't seem to help him. Given that music is his main interest I intend to refer him to another teacher who may be able to.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1393911 - 03/11/10 06:38 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: PianonaiP]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Goodness gracious me...... Wow..... D4v3, in this instance I think you got the wrong end of the stick entirely......

Teachers tend to feel it is their fault for anything and everything ('if only I could have found a way to motivate him' kind of thing), and use terms like "I pushed him into it" when what really happened is they said to the student "well, instead of waiting until the very end of the year (when you will have lost all motivation in any case) why don't we do the exam a month or two earlier?" and the student hummed and hahed and the teacher said, "do you want to do an exam or not?" and the student glumly mutters "yesss", and so through this process it is mutually agreed to enter the student for the exam.

It's commonly accepted wisdom that entering students for exams motivates the student to work harder, so Chris H.'s behaviour is well within professional norms.

When the student (15 years old, hello) fails to do any work this is the equivalent to not handing in homework at school. Do school teachers feel responsible for students not handing in homework? Nope!!! It's the responsibility of the student middle, beginning and end. So if a student fails an exam at school do you compare the teachers to banks encouraging unaffordable loans? That's an amazingly ridiculous comparison....

Chris: I tend not to enter students unless they are already ready before the entry date, but sometimes that's just not feasible for some basic practical reasons, like those you outline above, and I've pulled students out of exams on more than one occasion. Most recently the (also 15 year old) student would have failed or barely passed, but 4 months later they received a high distinction. Parents, student and teacher all thrilled, and no one even wasted a moment thinking about the two entry fees that had been paid. I pointed out to the parents that they would have to pay *far* more than that in extra lessons in the final 2 weeks the first time around if we were to have a hope of the student being ready, and we all agreed it was a good lesson for the student that once he took on a commitment he needed to shoulder his responsibilities in earnest, and not simply expect that everything would magically work out.

And forget your reputation - who cares, really?! Think about how stressful it will be for both you and the student trying to eke out a bare pass, and how unproductive this experience will be: there's the reason the student should be pulled out of this exam. A reasonable parent (who wants to see their child grown and learn) will know that the child has been lazy, and that's the root cause of the problem.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1393920 - 03/11/10 06:44 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: Elissa Milne]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
I agree with Elissa.

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#1393941 - 03/11/10 07:04 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: wavelength]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: wavelength
I agree with Elissa.
Well so do I actually, but I also really understand Chris's feelings, and we can't just say "it's not your fault, stop feeling like you're feeling." (Well, we can, but it usually isn't helpful.) And, whether it's true in this case or not, sometimes things are our fault. Not for the reasons D4v3 gave, but because we just haven't done what we ourselves think is sufficient. So I was looking for a way which helps Chris come to terms with the situation, too.

(I've pulled students out of exams too, by the way, without refunds for exam fees)
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1393966 - 03/11/10 07:33 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: currawong]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
The young man may not wish it, but I think you have to talk to the parents, and soon. I hope you're able to get some clarity in your own mind before the talk, and to better consider what constitutes a healthy boundary in a student/teacher relationship.

At worst, you are only partly responsible. The student bears a part (maybe the major one), and the parents; all were involved in the decision to schedule the exam and the responsibility to prepare for it.

The young man will be old enough very soon to serve in the military, to marry and have kids, to have a charge card, to earn his own living. Sometimes valuable life lessons are not cheap.

But, I'm hoping against hope that he can pull it out of the fire somehow... as unlikely as it seems.

Your reputation must take care of itself; I would set this consideration aside. If you have built a good and consistent one, others know it already. I've never heard of anyone who had a 100% success rate--- not come by honestly, anyway.
_________________________
Clef


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#1393967 - 03/11/10 07:33 PM Re: Pulling a student out of an exam [Re: currawong]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Oh currawong, I didn't give Chris any advice on how he should be feeling! I gave D4v3 some ideas about how teachers feel, and how this maybe was misinterpreted in this case......

Teachers feel deeply responsible for their students, but this is not the same thing as actually being responsible for the failure of the student to prepare and practice.... And because teachers work on their own without colleagues to discuss these issues with we find ourselves in a public forum having our feelings interpreted as evidence of unprofessional behaviour.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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