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#1420806 - 04/20/10 08:41 PM Teacher trying to get a piece of my student
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
I have a student I've been working with for maybe 3 years now. She is a very good student, but does need more lesson time and more practice time.
The father suggested today that they could get supplementary lessons from this other teacher down the street. She studied in Poland and could help my student.
I didn't want to say anything rash on the spot because I've never been in this spot. After thinking about it for a bit, I'm not very impressed, no matter what kind of background this teacher has. I've been working hard with this student for years and I'm not about to let another teacher needlessly come and interfere with my students progress in anyway just because its convenient for her.

Thoughts?

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#1420833 - 04/20/10 09:17 PM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Down the street from you or down the street from them?

I'm guessing the teacher, not the Dad, initiated this. We've had an ongoing problem with teachers from the former Eastern Block nations trying to "steal" students. I chalk it up to a difference in ethical standards and backgrounds; I'm sure they don't realize how totally offensive it is.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1420838 - 04/20/10 09:23 PM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
Down the street from them. I sent my student to the festival to watch the concert etudes class, she said she will enjoy it. I will speak to the father tomorrow or Thursday for the 2nd lesson this week and discuss this with him. I tend to fly off the handle a bit, so I want to think about this rationally before I say anything about this matter to him. So far, I'm rather upset about another teacher moving in on a student that is clearly mine. Every time I meet a piano student, I never suggest that I could teach them extra lessons if I already know they have a teacher. Regardless if I am better or worse, that's not good in my books.

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#1420858 - 04/20/10 10:02 PM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Did the other teacher approach your student first? Or did your student's father approach the teacher?

A couple of random thoughts come to mind:

We do not "own" our students. They are free to do what they want.

Luring students away from other teachers is considered unethical, especially when accomplished through devious means. (Bad-mouthing the current teacher, undercutting the market rate, etc...)

Everybody loses students to other teachers from time to time; and everybody receives students from other teachers from time to time. When done ethically and gracefully, it's a good thing for everyone involved. When not handled well, it can cause deep rifts and a fearful or antagonistic attitude within the community.

If you're a member of your local music teachers' association, there may very well be a code of conduct or ethical guidelines that, if breached, could mean certain sanctions against this other teacher. If you're not a member of an organized group and have no legal contract with your student, then there's pretty much nothing you can do. (It's a free country, and people can do as they please, even when it's unethical, unkind and unpopular.)

Be careful.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1420865 - 04/20/10 10:11 PM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Kreisler]
elfenbein Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/10
Posts: 45
Loc: USA
Kreisler, I am sure you mean to say, "If *this other teacher* is a member of your local ..." because unless he/she is, there's nothing any MTA can do.
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#1420928 - 04/20/10 11:51 PM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: elfenbein]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
I don't want some organization to come into the mix. This has never happen to me before and I've been at this for 12 years. I don't know who approached who, but I know the lessons have already start as my student was demonstrating how the teacher was showing her dominant 7th arpeggios. This "might" be a different story if I couldn't handle teaching this student in any way, but I have a handle on everything and don't need someone else coming in and doing this.
I may not own this student and they are free to make whatever decisions they want. If you want to switch to another teacher after being referred to me from their previous teacher, go ahead. But for the other teacher to know that she was my student and start lessons before I was informed was a big no-no. I've spent a lot of time un-doing other teachers mistakes (easy there smile ) and I don't want to re-teach my student something because it was already taught by someone else.
I'm already re-writting my studio policy. I never thought I would have to mention something about this in it. Everyone I've talked to said they would be upset if they were me.
Haven't even mentioned how a move like this could affect my income. The dad is getting a call tomorrow morning and not at the next lesson, I had my cool down period at the gym smile

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#1420937 - 04/21/10 12:07 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
elfenbein Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/10
Posts: 45
Loc: USA
Would you share how you are addressing this issue in your studio policy?
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www.notes.sibyllekuder.com

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#1420971 - 04/21/10 12:50 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 842
I can empathize with you. Here's my advice based on having been in the exact same position. Call the father and state that you are upset he has gone this route of hiring another teacher. Explain that to get a second opinion is a good idea and commonly done for one performance. But to hire a second teacher is not usual. Then state you will continue as their teacher ONLY if you are their only teacher. Then pause or give them some time to think. But do not continue as you are.

I did, and it was a big mistake. The student became confused. I stated that a certain piece required pedalling. The other teacher wanted no pedalling. The student would begin to doubt me or ask me to defend my teaching decisions. I taught an arpeggio with a certain fingering but my student would use the other teacher's fingering. It's better to cut your losses and get out of the situation immediately.


Edited by Candywoman (04/21/10 01:21 AM)

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#1420975 - 04/21/10 12:57 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Candywoman]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I'd flat out tell the father how insulting this behavior is and that if they are unhappy with the child's progess with you, they should just say so and be done with it.
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#1420991 - 04/21/10 01:38 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Minniemay]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Maybe she's a better teacher?
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snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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#1421005 - 04/21/10 02:13 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: keyboardklutz]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
Even if she was, who cares. I have taught this student for 3 years, there is a connection that no amount of outside experience can compare to. She's happy with me, so where is the need to get outside help? What if you found out today that I started teaching one of your students without anyone informing you till after the fact? And before anything was said, how would you feel if some random person suggested that maybe me stealing your student for "supplementary" lessons was because I was a better teacher?
I think if you weren't absolutely outraged by this, I should do this with a lot of your students until you became outraged.

New thoughts?

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#1421026 - 04/21/10 03:12 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
Is it possible to get fuller perspective on this?

You wrote that this student needs more lesson time than she is getting. If that is so, have you offered her more time, or extra lessons to fulfill that need?

Second: I'm reading about supplementary lessons, which means extra or additional lessons. However, there is a lot of talk about stealing your student, which suggests your student leaving you or having less time with you, and the other teacher replacing you. I get this sense from a number of teachers.

So what does "supplementary" mean to a parent or student? (I've been both). It can mean that you are totally loyal to your teacher whom you see as your teacher, but someone else may offer some new angle which will round out what you are learning. Think of the fact that teachers send their students to masterclasses without thinking that this teacher is "getting a piece" of their student. The only thing that a teacher does is to * give * knowledge - not take away. If you are intent on learning, then you want to grab opportunities that come up. It is not meant as a slight to the teacher. In fact, you may think that the original teacher will be pleased that his student is learning as much as he can from wherever he can. This is a student/parent perspective.

Where is the problem in this? Can the other teacher confuse your student by teaching things differently than you do? Might that teacher introduce things that you want to wait before touching - interfere with what you are teaching? Non-teachers will not be aware of it, so you have to let them know.

Otoh, how would you feel if you knew of a teacher who teaches some specialized areas that you don't teach? Would you be enthusiastic on behalf of your student, wanting her to learn these additional things on top of what you teach? Students would probably expect that attitude from their teachers. We would not want to feel held back from opportunities because a teacher needs to be the exclusive teacher unless there was sound reason.

I think a fair number of students would not be aware of teachers feeling the way that you do. The very fact that the father has told you, and the student has shown you what she has learned, is proof that they have no idea this would upset you.

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#1421047 - 04/21/10 03:45 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
Basia C. Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 358
Loc: Sweden
This is a discussion I should not interfere in, so feel free to ignore my comments if you like.

As a student, I first want to say that I do understand your concerns and why you are upset about the situation. What I also can see is that this might maybe not at all be obvious to nonteachers. My suggestion is that you first find out why they decided to go for a second teacher for the student, and really try to listen to the answer without drawing conclusions to fast.

This might sound a little insensitive, but as you said that the student could use more lesson time, maybe the parents thought that a different teacher would be a good choice. Even if I have a great relationship with a teacher, such a thing might get me into thinking that the teacher "wants" the income. If more lesson time is needed, why is the teacher not happy about that we arranged for it?! I am very sure that Dark Dragon has the very best intentions for the students, so be prepared for that they might think they did a good thing by hiring a second teacher.

They might think that for supplementary lessons they don't need to have the very best teacher. That it is enough to have someone a little cheaper. Getting a second teacher might not at all mean that they are thinking about switching or are not happy.

They might also see it as a way to get a different perspective, which in most cases is a good thing. They might be thinking, howcome you think you know it all, and that a different teacher has notthing of value to teach at all?

They might be thinking that theachers will be working on different materals, or styles, and that that means that there shouldn't be any conflict between what is taught.

You need to take a deep breath, and to give friendly and open examples of that there really can be a problem with having two teachers. If you can see why they are thinking it is a good idea, you can start there and show that the result will not really be what they assumed. If the parents are not musicians, they might have a hard time understanding the process of learning an instrument. Maybe involve them more, so that it becomes more clear to them how skills are built, and why for example more practice time might be needed. If the parents are not interested, it might be difficult, but I think it would make everything a lot easier for you in the long run.

I apologize again for meddling into something that is not my business. smile I wish you good luck, and that things work out for the best.
_________________________
Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson




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#1421060 - 04/21/10 04:16 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: keystring]
Dark Dragon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/08
Posts: 97
Loc: ON
There is a very clear difference between me sending a student to a teacher that I've recommended if I felt there was an area of expertise that they had that I did not. I am by no means the ultimate teacher, but I really do not need assistance with my student. I think parents somehow forget that students need to connect with their teachers and that that connection does not happen with any teacher. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Supplementary lessons by another teacher with my referral or advice could be beneficial if I know the teacher and his/her expertise etc.

Teachers who thinks its ok to undermine me and do supplementary lessons with my student without my prior knowledge, causes me to lose respect for that teacher immediately. No phone call, no letter, no notice of any kind about this matter. By being this disrespectful to me, why am I not to think that this teacher isn't out to steal my student? If I was going to teach a student (who already had a teacher) in good faith, I would surely contact the teacher before hand, wouldn't you? I have a student at my private school who now goes to someone else. I could easily teach her on my spare time, but this thing called respect and ethics kind comes up, you know?

I sometimes hear my students say "well my music teacher said" or "my old piano teacher said". I stop them right there and say "they are not your piano teacher, I am". I don't think this is a power trip, I just want to make it clear who is in charge and who is not. If the money is given to me, I believe my say should come before any other teacher.

Ok here is the full story

My students dad insists that my student write her grade 6 piano exam in June after starting it roughly January. I personally feel this is rather rushed. We have 2 half hour sessions a week. Usually it is 1 for rep/studies, 1 for technique, ear training, sight etc..... Due to the timing of the recent festival, I've had to make sure her pieces were ready to go so that she would have a positive experience. Festival was a check.
I've mentioned to the father that I am concerned that his daughter won't be as prepared as we all would like her to be. I stated why she is where she is at. Before we get into extra lesson time, he has clearly stated that she has not practiced nearly as much as she did for her previous grades (thus the mediocre grade for grade 5 piano in Jan). So needless to say, we needed to improve her practicing habits before we extend the lesson time. Her practicing had improved the few weeks before the festival and we were all happy.
The father says today that someone told him to talk to this Polish teacher who was near by to them. She trained in Poland and they are Polish too. He asked me what I thought about supplementary lessons. I told him I did not have time to discuss this because I wanted to get to my lesson with the daughter on time. The daughter wanted to show me her arpeggios that she learned. She wanted to see that I was impressed and showed no sign of ill intent (for definite lack of a better word smile ).

Just another side note. I was referred by their long time piano teacher who retired. This new teacher was referred by a friend/neighbor.

Finally....

This student does not need something from another teacher that I cannot already provide. It's grade 6 RCM for crying out loud. I'm more than capable and the thought that my ability is remotely questioned has really set me off. Hope that doesn't sound like a power trip frown

All this girl needs is more time with me, recommending extending current 30min sessions to 45min sessions twice a week. We have less than 8 weeks and I think we can do it.
She needs to make sure her practicing is not in question as it was prior to the festival.

There are many reasons why I insist on being the exclusive teacher. The #1 reason is that I have a method, you have a method, we all have our unique ways of teaching. No need to discuss which method is better as we all know there are many ways of teaching successfully. Wither she is taught successfully or not, my method will more than likely conflict and I do not want to spend a minute helping the poor girl un-learn this other teachers method. "but she said...." She should go put out flyers and start from scratch like many of us did years ago. If she is so great and educated in "Poland", she shouldn't have a hard time building up the clientele no? I put in a LOT of hard work to get my clientele and to build my business to where its at. I haven't said much about the prospect of losing a student and income in this manner, but the idea alone gets me going.
BTW What part of studying in Poland gives this teacher any advantage of a teacher who has studied RCM in Canada? Doesn't look like Poland around.

In my opinion, this other teacher needs to back off. As another member stated, the father needs to commit to me 100% or not at all.

Really, really don't want to sound like a jerk in any way, but if you put yourself in my shoes, you'd find it hard not to be fuming.

I've been at this reply for a long time. sorry for the length, but now you guys have the full details (I hope).

Looking forward to the reply to this monster smile

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#1421065 - 04/21/10 04:46 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
Bart Kinlein Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 715
Loc: Maryland
Regardless of any other considerations, I think that, at her level, having two teachers is a terrible idea
_________________________
Steinway 1905 model A, rebuild started 2008, completed 2012
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#1421069 - 04/21/10 04:58 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Bart Kinlein]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5486
Loc: Orange County, CA
DD--

Your posts come across as extremely insensitive toward the people of Poland. Your argument would have been stronger if you had left out the nationality of this piano teacher.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1421071 - 04/21/10 05:01 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
Basia C. Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 358
Loc: Sweden
Note that the parents perspective the secondary teacher does not nessecary have to be better then you, just good enough to give the extra support. Something like when you have a hard time in maths or history you might offer an older student some money for extra tutoring. (I do see why this would be a mess, but the parent might see it.)

Who is the better teacher is not relevant here I think, because it is probably not that that has caused them to hire the Polish teacher. You need to take the time to communicate with the parents here. I assume they just don't get the problem, not that they want to mess up your planning. In either case, you want to be sure of their reasoning.

(BTW, maybe consider getting to know the Polish teacher? You don't know how the parents presented the situation, or what he/she was thinking about it. It could be relevant for you to find out for the future.)
_________________________
Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson




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#1421082 - 04/21/10 06:11 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
landorrano Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2460
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon

BTW What part of studying in Poland gives this teacher any advantage of a teacher who has studied RCM in Canada? Doesn't look like Poland around.


Not to pour fuel on the fire, or to question your qualities. But don't forget, Poland is the country of a certain Chopin, a certain Rubenstein, Paderewski, Zimmerman, just to name the "household names". This tradition is very much alive. I have no doubt, not the slightest, that this teacher possesses something of this gigantic pianistic-musical capital, which is no small reference.

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#1421084 - 04/21/10 06:16 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Bart Kinlein]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 420
Loc: Worcester, UK
Originally Posted By: Bart Kinlein
Regardless of any other considerations, I think that, at her level, having two teachers is a terrible idea


Me too. I've had a couple of students over the years that have done this - from what I can tell, it's usually because they've been offered cheap lessons at school and the parents, in their innocence, think that more music lessons can only be a good thing. I always discourage it, citing the analogy of 'he who tries to sail in two boats by putting one foot in each will end up getting his arse wet'.
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#1421090 - 04/21/10 06:34 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: landorrano]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon

BTW What part of studying in Poland gives this teacher any advantage of a teacher who has studied RCM in Canada? Doesn't look like Poland around.


Not to pour fuel on the fire, or to question your qualities. But don't forget, Poland is the country of a certain Chopin, a certain Rubenstein, Paderewski, Zimmerman, just to name the "household names". This tradition is very much alive. I have no doubt, not the slightest, that this teacher possesses something of this gigantic pianistic-musical capital, which is no small reference.


LOL. Good God. Who cares where the teacher is from. It doesn't matter if she's from Poland, Timbuktu, or Antarctica. I have no doubt that you know NOT, one way, or the other, if this person possesses anything of some so-called tradition. It's not as if it's floating through the air in Poland and some just happen to catch it. Now, if you had some concrete evidence that her education stemmed from specific sources, then I'd say it MIGHT make a difference. The fact that a person is/was educated in a specific geographical location bears carries with it no magical bonus.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1421095 - 04/21/10 06:44 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: stores]
landorrano Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2460
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: stores
It doesn't matter if she's from Poland, Timbuktu, or Antarctica.


Oh yes, it does.

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#1421112 - 04/21/10 07:27 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
Taking the practical useful things first, it sounds as if the student needs to practise more before she needs more lessons from you or anyone else. Also, that the father is bulldozing for external results (passing a test) and thinks that throwing money at a second teacher will make it happen. Also, that taking lessons with another teacher may harm your student's progress because of possible conflicting advice.

Therefore you need to communicate to the father that having a second teacher can be harmful to his daughter's progress because she will be pulled in two directions and it interferes with your ability to teach effectively. You could also stress that success comes through practice and that there are no shortcuts. In fact, having two teachers requires more practice of a student. If she cannot even practice what you give her sufficiently, how can she expect to practice material given by two teachers? Since success and progress are this father's priorities, this is what you should address. Having two teachers hinders progress. More effective and consistent practising helps progress - therein lies problem and solution.

You probably made a mistake by deciding you did not have enough time when they first wanted to talk about having another teacher. Since you didn't discuss it, they made the decision without you. Now you need to rectify this, without emotion or anger. The way this girl is showing you what she learned and the father not hiding it from you proves that they have no idea that this is a bad thing.

I would want to lose the anger toward the other teacher. You don't know how it came about, why he has done this, or whether he actually is out to lure your student away. By entertaining such thoughts you make yourself angry and resentful, which is not a good emotion, and it might come across to your student and the father - which is not a good vibe.

Quote:
... and the thought that my ability is remotely questioned has really set me off.

That is understandable. It's hard to tell whether the father questions your ability, or is looking for quick fixes and rapid progress coming from more teachers. It comes from practice.

Quote:
All this girl needs is more time with me, recommending extending current 30min sessions to 45min sessions twice a week.

That makes sense. I cannot imagine such short lessons. Is this your window? If the father is already paying for extra lessons (which can harm the student) then that same money could go toward extended lessons. Perhaps you can use what is happening to push through a new start:
- longer lessons
- more effective and consistent practising (and studying theory?)
- addressing the father's goals for his daughter (... and she feels how about it herself?)

There is an expression: "When handed a lemon, make lemon-ade." Unpleasant things can be opportunities if they are grabbed the right way.

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#1421117 - 04/21/10 07:40 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: stores]
LimeFriday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 303
Loc: Australia
It honestly sounds more like parental 'freaking out' than a case of the other teacher poaching your student.

Parents pushing for grade 6 in six months after a mediocre grade 5 exam - parents freaking out wanting more lesson time. You not having the time (at that particular moment) to discuss extending lessons. Parents hear about a teacher close by who can do supplementary lessons - problem solved!! From the parents perspective that is.

They may not have any idea that having two teachers can do more harm than good - and may just need sitting down and talking to them about that.

You don't know what this other teacher has been told. She may be aware of your long term commitment to your student.

If she did know - then yep... I too would be somewhat miffed at the situation too. But it might be easily fixed by talking to your student's father.

In a similar vein - I work as a therapist - and sometimes clients think that seeing two therapists is a good idea - two different perspectives. It's not that they deliberate try to mess up our relationship - it's just they don't understand the risks inherent in having two different therapists. But if another therapist was to go out of their way to take over my client - I'd be p*ssed.

But hopefully in your situation its more just a case of the parents being overinvolved - and it can be sorted out.

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#1421129 - 04/21/10 08:18 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Dark Dragon]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Originally Posted By: Dark Dragon
I have a student I've been working with for maybe 3 years now. She is a very good student, but does need more lesson time and more practice time.
The father suggested today that they could get supplementary lessons from this other teacher down the street.


You and the parent agree that the student needs more lesson time. If you're both in agreement, then offer the additional lesson time.

As others have pointed out, there will be problems for a child when two teachers are giving different advice. It would make sense to see if the parent really wants "more lesson time" and see if you can meet that need.

Putting the child first, would mean parent choosing one teacher who can meet their lesson time expectations. It sounds like it's time for the parent to make a choice. I wouldn't get caught up in blaming the other teacher. Just focus on seeing whether you can meet the child/parent needs and see if they choose you to continue.

Getting irate over the situation doesn't do you any good. I've heard it explained that resentment is like drinking poison..."I'm so angry at you that I'm going to drink poison"...it hurts only you, not the other person.

The fear you have is that you will lose this student, and lose the income. In any relationship, one can drop out. You have no control over whether the other person leaves the relationship. Do your best to meet their needs, and let them make their choice.




Edited by Ann in Kentucky (04/21/10 08:35 AM)

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#1421132 - 04/21/10 08:25 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Overexposed]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Teachers are there to provide a service. Students should be free to receive opinions wherever they wish. You don't own your students. The idea of the other teaching having behaved wrongly is utter nonsense. If someone came to me and asked for a lesson am I seriously supposed to contact their teacher and ask their 'permission' to give a lesson? Who do you think you're kidding?

Sorry, but I feel no sympathy whatsoever- considering the attitude you have about this. It can be frustrating to feel you are losing a student, but if you can't cope with that, you are letting yourself down both personally and professionally. Venting your rage only makes you look like you are under the impression that having taught someone for a few years gives you a divine right to control their every move. It does not. Even if she's a better teacher who cares? Yeah, because it's all about your pride and sense of power and that comes first? Honestly, your attitude disgusts me in more ways than I can describe. The parents even raised this with you before and you told them you were to busy to discuss it- and then you complain about it? Unbelievable. If I had a teacher with such a self-important (not to mention xenophobic) attitude then I wouldn't be with two teachers for very long. Guess which one I'd be stopping with...
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1421153 - 04/21/10 09:15 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
My nephew takes from two teachers. I had a fit, and explained to my sister-in-law why I thought it was wrong. What happened was both my nephews were taking from a lady down the street from them. I wasn't thrilled with her method (John Thompson only, one piece at a time), and told SIL that I felt they needed a different teacher. SIL found a different teacher for the older (Russian, since we're mentioning nationalities), but felt she was too strict for the younger. She then found a young male, new grad, who came to the house for the younger son. Older son was jealous, because his brother got to play a lot of fun stuff. So SIL has allowed her older son to also take from this young man. She says the two teachers do different things, so it complements. My nephew plays different music with the teachers (Chopin with the Russian teacher, Linus & Lucy with the other.)

The key is that she knows it's wrong, and that the Russian teacher would have a fit, so her son has been instructed to not tell. To me that is the greatest problem of all - that her son is being asked to be deceptive. The other issue is that he practices the fun stuff more. And that teacher is not as picky about technique, so he is developing some bad habits.

But they aren't my kids. I've noticed they quit talking to me about it, knowing I disapprove. But they also seem so shocked that their son has started lying to them or being sneaky about things. Why not? Isn't this a family value?

Point of my story is that I've had plenty of time to think about this. I have in my policy that it is not considered professional for one teacher to teach the student of another without discussion beforehand. And that I will not knowingly accept a student who is currently in another's studio, and that I appreciate being told in advance when a child is considering switching teachers.

In your particular situation, I see a few things:

Nationality is important only in that it appears to matter to your student's father. There is a connection there that appeals to him. You can't do anything about this.

The father is trying to help his daughter. He may not know this is the right way to do things. Some gentle education on this matter might be enough.

You might also try calling the other teacher, and explaining the problem. If she is professional, she may not wish to earn a bad reputation at this point.

You need to decide if you are willing to lose this student. Because if you issue an ultimatum, they may decide to switch. Perhaps out of national loyalty, perhaps out of convenience to the teacher down the street, or perhaps out of embarrassment at being called out.

If you are willing to compromise, you might divide and conquer. Ask the other teacher to NOT work on the pieces you are working on. Perhaps you can enlist her help to work on specific theory, or scales, or something that would allow you time to work more intensely on the pieces. And I would ask the teacher and the father to discontinue the double-dipping after the June event.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1421159 - 04/21/10 09:26 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Lollipop]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
It seems to me that the biggest loser here, is likely to be the student.

Any 'professional' posturing and stance taking, can only cause damage in the long run, and may put the student off piano, for life.

You either work in tandem with the other teacher, and complement each other, ( with the student's complete and open agreement) or you cut the student loose, while wishing them well with their new teacher.
_________________________
Rob

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#1421181 - 04/21/10 09:56 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Lollipop]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Lollipop
Point of my story is that I've had plenty of time to think about this. I have in my policy that it is not considered professional for one teacher to teach the student of another without discussion beforehand.



I don't think that is a professional matter, but a personal one. If a student of another teacher in the school where I work asked me for a lesson then I would tread carefully and take care not to step on the other teachers toes. However, that is not a professional issue so much as because I know them personally and would not wish to cause resentment among acquaintances. Perhaps in a very small town with not many piano teachers, the same might apply in general- where most other teachers are very likely to be known to you personally.


However, if someone were to call me and ask for a lesson, I would not consider it my professional duty to find out whether or not that person had another teacher or not and find a private investigator to locate them and put me in touch with one of the hundreds of teachers in my city to get permission. So in that respect, I see nothing remotely unprofessional about the other teacher's behaviour. It is wise to be careful not to sour relations with those you know personally but I really do not see anything faintly unprofessional about providing a service to anyone who comes to you and asks for it. You might as well say that a dentist who takes patients who had formerly been to other dentists has been 'stealing' patients. It's a service. There's nothing unprofessional about taking on a new client who requests that service. If anyone else objects thats a personal matter- not one of professional ethics. If you have not used to underhand tactics to wrench a student away from a teacher with whom you are not aquainted, but they have gone ahead and approached you for a lesson, you have no obligations other than to provide them with what they came for. On a professional level you should only answer to what your client asks of you. Anything else is about personal relationships, not professionalism. It's a free economy.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (04/21/10 10:02 AM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1421200 - 04/21/10 10:15 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I disagree.

I think the free economy certainly comes into play when choosing which teacher to study with.

Since you brought up dentistry, and my background is medical, let me say that you are certainly free to switch dentists or doctors. But visiting two dentists or doctors simultaneously for the same condition will probably wreak havoc. Even when obtaining second opinions, it is usually preferable to tell the first doctor that you want to do this, and even ask for recommendations.

My son has found it helpful over the years to obtain occasional lessons with teachers other than his primary. In every single case, he has approached his primary teacher first, to ask. He has always received permission, but it is considered appropriate to ask first. Studying for any length of time with two teachers would not have been approved.

College students who wish to transfer from one music school to another are required to have a signed permission from the first college's teacher before the second will even consider them.

Our local music teacher's association has it in their by-laws.

In other words, it seems to be a professional consideration in my experience.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1421204 - 04/21/10 10:21 AM Re: Polish teacher trying to get a piece of my student [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
N
you are overlooking the fact that it is not a one time service or a "second opinion" but rather a long term "relationship". Switch shoes for a moment and consider how you would feel if you were investing time and effort into a student's piano education, especially if they are young and in the earlier phases of their studies, then have them "answering" to a second teacher with probably a different approach and strategies (say, kbk is in their neighborhood laugh ).. I would think that after a couple of lessons you or the other teacher would have to find each other and figure out how to handle it.. Private detective not needed since you can ask the student for the coordinates of the other teacher.
I think Lollipop summarizes the relevant arguments overall. I know for a fact that my teacher would not agree to dual teaching unless I wanted to study something like theory in greater depth, which he has been encouraging..

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