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#1670349 - 05/02/11 11:50 PM How much arguing to put up with?
CarolR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/05
Posts: 350
Loc: wisconsin
So, here's a story: After I missed a week of lessons because of the MTNA conference, my 5th grade student, Jonathan, was sitting at the piano, ready for his lesson. I looked at his assignment notebook and said 'So, how's the minuet?" He said "What? You didn't assign me the minuet." I said, uh, right here in your book, I have written "Work on Minuet in B minor, Hands alone, then slowly hands together,etc,, etc". He insisted, "No, you didn't!!!" This was getting ridiculous. As sweet as can be, I said "Well, it's written right here, see?". Then I suggested we just look at the music. Sure enough, I had written in fingerings, circled this and that. We had clearly gone through it. Finally he said "You must have written that assignment when you were thinking about something else!". I was speechless.
This was extreme but not an unusual thing from this boy. A frequent response is dead silence, stony looks, or whines, like "I couldn't see that ritard where it's written!" Or "I can't do that, it's too hard". "I CAN'T count while I play!" I kind of lost it today, and actually feel ok about it. I told him that I had had quite enough of this, he was not to argue with me. And after he argued that he thought his pieces sounded great (they did not), I pretty much felt I had to point out that his pieces were not improving, they were all over the place rhythmically. He doesn't seem to seem to actually take in and believe what I say, and pretty much plays what he thinks. I think I am due for a serious talk with mom. And serious consideration about whether I let him continue next year.
When do you think enough is enough?
_________________________
Working on:
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Schubert: Sonata D959
Rachmaninoff: Daisies
Lutoslawski: Paganini Variations for 2 pianos


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#1670376 - 05/03/11 01:01 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5271
Loc: Orange County, CA
Just fire the student. What a pain.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1670394 - 05/03/11 02:44 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5831
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: CarolR
When do you think enough is enough?
My opinion is that enough is enough when you have made it absolutely crystal clear what your behaviour rules are and what the consequences of going against them are - made this clear to both parent and child - and he still behaves unacceptably. That is the point at which you say you are unable to continue teaching the child.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1670416 - 05/03/11 04:23 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
The problem with arguing with students is that sometimes you'll be wrong. You might be right 99% of the time, but the other 1% will provide grounds for further argument. It doesn't achieve anything and just wastes time.

And in any case, the customer is always right smile Of course, it's reasonable to point out to the customer -- whoever it happens to be -- that agreeing with you is going to be the right thing to do on 99% of occasions, and is the only way to get decent value for money.

Kids don't understand this, I guess; their parents probably do. We all care about getting value for money.

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#1670424 - 05/03/11 04:50 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: CarolR
When do you think enough is enough?


I'm not sure anybody can answer that except you. In my view, enough is enough, when you're no longer willing to work with the student. Its after you have used your best efforts to solve the problem and have not succeeded. Of course, this may not be a reflection upon you and may very well be the student's unwillingness to meet you half way in working toward a solution.

I don't think the student's main problem is his attitude. It's that he didn't practice. So come lesson time, he's unable to perform was what expected of him. I'm guessing he feels or senses one or more of the following:

- attacked, berated, your disappointment and/or frustration

Its a little boy's defense mechanism at work. Of course, he doesn't know how to defend himself for not practicing (or being able to perform), so for lack of a better way, these unreasonable/unbelievable excuses and attitude emerge. Had he done what was expected of him, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation.

Address your problems with him one by one.

"Can't count." Spend the entire next lesson or two (or however long it takes) just counting, until he can.

"Couldn't see the ritard." Spend the entire next lesson or two (or however long it takes) just finding ritards, until he can.

"You didn't assign me that." Review your assignments for the upcoming week at the end of the lesson and make him acknowledge he understands what he needs to do.

I think as you solve the problems one by one, the attitude will improve and lame excuses will dissipate.

I'll be the first to admit, I could be wrong about all this, but wanted to offer you some food for thought.

The easiest thing to do would be to fire the student. Anybody can do that. You'll lose money in doing so. The challenge is to work through the obstacles and systematically and thoughtfully solving the problems you face. The question is, are you up to it?

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#1670429 - 05/03/11 05:27 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 417
Loc: Worcester, UK
Sounds scarily familiar wink

It's good that you lost it with him - you have shown him that you have limits.

I would suggest that, in this particular case, you lower the tolerance threshold for future lessons, so that as soon as he starts on this pattern of behaviour, you let him know that it is not acceptable before it gets out of hand. I would also advise that, for now, you try your best to resolve this situation without involving the parents - once you involve them, it may cause further resentment from the child, and could also be construed by them as a sign of weakness. Your turf, your rules.

One question: how does this child address you? Does he call you Carol, or Ms/Mrs "R.."?

I have begun to think that the reason some children are inclined towards this level of disrespect could be related to the fact that most of them address me as "Ben".
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#1670434 - 05/03/11 05:38 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: Ben Crosland]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland

I have begun to think that the reason some children are inclined towards this level of disrespect could be related to the fact that most of them address me as "Ben".


I would be amazed if that were the case. It might have been the case 50 years ago, but that was a time when formal modes of address were common. These days, such things just come across as freakishly bizarre.

My experience is that children usually respect their teachers (of whatever subject) if their parents do. If the parents don't get it, it's hard to work on the kids.

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#1670442 - 05/03/11 06:17 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: kevinb]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 417
Loc: Worcester, UK
So, it comes across as "freakishly bizarre" for children to address school teachers by their surname, does it?
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Teacher, Composer, Sound Designer

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#1670454 - 05/03/11 07:23 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: Ben Crosland]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
So, it comes across as "freakishly bizarre" for children to address school teachers by their surname, does it?


Good Heavens, yes! Although there is a certain weight of tradition behind it, which I guess makes it less remarked on. And, of course, to a child _everything_ about school is freakishly bizarre, so this is just one other instance of bizarreness.

I suspect that, in British schools at least, the convention of surnames will fade away in the next ten years or so, as it has pretty much everywhere else. My kids' school debates this all the time, with the result that it's different in different parts of the school. The younger children are expected to call their teachers 'Fred', and the older ones 'Mr Bloggs'. As they are the same teachers in many cases, this causes a certain amount of strangeness.

I guess that's the problem with living in a cultural transitional period.

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#1670481 - 05/03/11 08:16 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2643
Loc: Kentucky
CarolR,
I have seen this type of behavior in kindergarten and lst graders. One of the biggest offenders was a 6 year old girl. She is 8 now and we no longer have this trouble. I had to firmly correct her when she was rude. But if they haven't learned respectful behavior by 5th grade, I think it is more troublesome.

I probably would try not finding out who is right. When he says that no you don't assign it, I would say "Well, there's been a mixup. Let's look at it and start it today."

If he is truly rude, I would say "Stop. You are not allowed to be rude to me." I've used that line several times with younger kids, using a startlingly stern voice. It stuns them into silence, and after a few corrections like this, they learn what is acceptable behavior in lessons.

Good luck!
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1670489 - 05/03/11 08:30 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: kevinb]
Ben Crosland Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/10
Posts: 417
Loc: Worcester, UK
Originally Posted By: kevinb
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
So, it comes across as "freakishly bizarre" for children to address school teachers by their surname, does it?


Good Heavens, yes!


Or.. not. At all. My kids have never expressed any feelings of strangeness about the fact they are expected to address their teachers formally. But then, at their school, there is consistency in this matter.

IMO, the old saying "familiarity breeds contempt" holds more than a little water, here. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with children affording their elders a little respect, and formal address is a gentle way of maintaining a healthy boundary in such situations.

And, for the record, the term "freakishly bizarre" is in no way applicable here. "Slightly strange" to some, perhaps, but nothing more.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Sound Designer

Cool Beans!

Easy Christmas Jazz

YouTube channel




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#1670490 - 05/03/11 08:44 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 225
Loc: North Carolina
While I don't have any advice, I will be interested in the feedback you get. I have a student (girl) who does the exact same things and she is just 8 years old. Two weeks ago, I was telling her she had completed her Faber 2A books and was filling out the certificate. I said to her "isn't that great! Now you can move on to book 2B!" She looked me right in the face and replied, "and I should care, because?" I wanted to fire her out the door right then. And folks, this is with either her Father or Grandmother sitting in my living room well within ear shot.
_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

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#1670492 - 05/03/11 08:47 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 225
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
CarolR,
I have seen this type of behavior in kindergarten and lst graders. One of the biggest offenders was a 6 year old girl. She is 8 now and we no longer have this trouble. I had to firmly correct her when she was rude. But if they haven't learned respectful behavior by 5th grade, I think it is more troublesome.

I probably would try not finding out who is right. When he says that no you don't assign it, I would say "Well, there's been a mixup. Let's look at it and start it today."

If he is truly rude, I would say "Stop. You are not allowed to be rude to me." I've used that line several times with younger kids, using a startlingly stern voice. It stuns them into silence, and after a few corrections like this, they learn what is acceptable behavior in lessons.

Good luck!


Ann, thanks for your great advice directly related to the problem posted.
_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

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#1670494 - 05/03/11 08:50 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: Ben Crosland]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 225
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Originally Posted By: kevinb
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
So, it comes across as "freakishly bizarre" for children to address school teachers by their surname, does it?


Good Heavens, yes!


Or.. not. At all. My kids have never expressed any feelings of strangeness about the fact they are expected to address their teachers formally. But then, at their school, there is consistency in this matter.

IMO, the old saying "familiarity breeds contempt" holds more than a little water, here. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with children affording their elders a little respect, and formal address is a gentle way of maintaining a healthy boundary in such situations.

And, for the record, the term "freakishly bizarre" is in no way applicable here. "Slightly strange" to some, perhaps, but nothing more.


Totally agree! IMHO, the problem children (at least American) have developed is no sense of respect for their elders and being made to believe that they do nothing wrong and often are never told no.

To say that calling someone Mr. or Ms. so and so freakishly bizarre is ABOSOLUTELY CRAZY. It is called respect and as Ben states, there needs to be respect and a healthy boundary for children.
_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

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#1670498 - 05/03/11 08:55 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: bmbutler]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2398
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
While I don't have any advice, I will be interested in the feedback you get. I have a student (girl) who does the exact same things and she is just 8 years old. Two weeks ago, I was telling her she had completed her Faber 2A books and was filling out the certificate. I said to her "isn't that great! Now you can move on to book 2B!" She looked me right in the face and replied, "and I should care, because?" I wanted to fire her out the door right then. And folks, this is with either her Father or Grandmother sitting in my living room well within ear shot.



Are the Father and Grandfather like that as well?
_________________________
Carl


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#1670502 - 05/03/11 09:03 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: Ben Crosland]
Nikolas Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4982
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland

I have begun to think that the reason some children are inclined towards this level of disrespect could be related to the fact that most of them address me as "Ben".
I'm trying my best to get my students to call me by my first name (Nikolas), but here in Greece it's considered rude so very few actually do that.

Those students who decide to call me by my first name, are always the best, because a small barrier in communication goes down and it's easier to communicate...

Carol: Where are the parents in all of this?
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1670504 - 05/03/11 09:06 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: Ben Crosland]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Originally Posted By: kevinb
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
So, it comes across as "freakishly bizarre" for children to address school teachers by their surname, does it?


Good Heavens, yes!


Or.. not. At all. My kids have never expressed any feelings of strangeness about the fact they are expected to address their teachers formally. But then, at their school, there is consistency in this matter.

IMO, the old saying "familiarity breeds contempt" holds more than a little water, here. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with children affording their elders a little respect, and formal address is a gentle way of maintaining a healthy boundary in such situations.

And, for the record, the term "freakishly bizarre" is in no way applicable here. "Slightly strange" to some, perhaps, but nothing more.


This might be a British thing, but we Londoners now live in a culture where more-or-less everybody is on first-name terms with everybody else. I can think of a few exceptions if I really scratch my head -- a police interview, perhaps, or in court. I imagine eyebrows would raise if you addressed Her Majesty as 'Liz' at a garden party. But that's about it.

I'm an old fogey, and this shift in attitude hasn't always been natural for me -- it's not at all what I grew up with. When I was a kid, only your family used your first name. Boys addressed their friends as 'Smith' or 'Brown' (or 'Snot-face', or whatever). I didn't think my teachers had names apart from 'Sir'. But on the whole, I approve of this change.

When I was a university professor, students from outside the UK sometimes Doctored me (so to speak). But British students never did, and were amused by the apparent deferentiality of their overseas counterparts.

I've not seen any evidence that the relationship between student and teacher has become any less businesslike as a result of this increased informality. The students who addressed me formally didn't -- so far as I can tell -- take me any more seriously than those who didn't. Whether a student can gain the respect and cooperation of a student is a highly individual thing, and not easily influenced by superficial things like modes of address. That's been my experience, anyway.

As you say, there seems to be an exemption from the usual first-name convention for schools. That remains true, to some extent, in the UK. Whether that exemption would extend to other kinds of teachers, I don't know. Personally I don't know of any music teacher who uses anything but first names in dealings with students of any age. What happens outside London, I don't know.

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#1670511 - 05/03/11 09:19 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: bmbutler]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: bmbutler

To say that calling someone Mr. or Ms. so and so freakishly bizarre is ABOSOLUTELY CRAZY. It is called respect and as Ben states, there needs to be respect and a healthy boundary for children.


That's not respect, it's deference. Deference is a matter of social convention and need not indicate any respect whatsoever. The folks who tried King Charles's for treason called him 'Your Majesty' but they still chopped his head off. Not a very respectful act, I suspect.

The incorrect belief that deference leads to respect has been a huge problem down the centuries, as anybody who's ever been on the receiving end of a peasants' revolt will have learned the hard way.

A person who wishes to be respected must act in a way that engenders respect. Deference is a very poor substitute.

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#1670524 - 05/03/11 09:35 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I have a "liar" student. She argues about anything and everything. She lies about mistakes (I DID play it that way), about forgetting her music (My teacher gets really mad if I put things in my backpack that aren't related to school), about practicing (My mom won't let me), etc.

I tried various approaches - I've called her on it. I've said, Do you argue with your teachers at school like this, too? (No, she says. Do I believe her?) I've tried taking deep breaths and changing the subject. Finally, about a month ago, when she was insisting I didn't assign something (much like what was quoted above) I stopped her and said, "I've never kicked out a student because she forgot her books. I've never kicked out a student who didn't practice. I've never kicked out a student who plays wrong notes or makes other mistakes. I HAVE, however, kicked out students who lie to me. I cannot trust someone who lies to me. I need you to stop lying to me. If you can't tell me the truth, you need to leave." I said this calmly, but firmly.

She didn't talk back or argue. She said meekly, "okay." I haven't heard any more arguing since. I'm hoping it's fixed. She's become much easier to teach.

As for what my students call me, in the southern US, it is typical to call adults (outside of school) "Ms" or "Mr" first-name. I live in a fairly multi-cultural area, so the first thing I do upon meeting a child is explain what they should call me. Many of the parents call me this as well.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1670552 - 05/03/11 10:41 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: bmbutler]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3332
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
She looked me right in the face and replied,
. . . "and I should care, because?"


Have to admit, I laughed at that! I can't believe a student could say such a thing to a teacher! Wow! that's very bold of her! Funny, but not funny!

Well, I agree with others that you have to nail a situation at the moment it happens! I could tell stories! But normally, after a student has given me a remark that shows their lack of care, I will simply ask them a question, like "Why did you say that to me? I'm here to help you, & you aren't doing yourself any favours by acting like that to me, when all I'm doing is for your own good & I'm on your side to help you anyway I can! Now, TELL ME, why did you say/do that to me?" Then I wait for them to explain! This is always entertaining!

Then I wait & listen to what they might say! I just continue to ask why they are acting like that, till they try explaining their bad behaviour, until they see what I'm see!

Again, each student is different, so you are going to get different answers, but if they come back with another bad behaviour statement, I ask them again, why do you have to say that to me? Then eventually, they see that I'm on their side and I can't BELIEVE they are acting like that! So they know I won't just let a nasty comment/behaviour slide!

But I'm not perfect, & when one boy threw a book at me, I phoned his mom & I never had him return again! I could have handled that situation better, but this particular situation, I say it was just a "personality conflict"!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1670564 - 05/03/11 10:54 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4663
Loc: Italy
Here (Italy) kids call their teacher "prof" which makes me laugh but it is as somone above cited, a title of deference. Here we also have the formal "Lei" (like "vous" in French) and the informal "tu".

With my adult students I insist they use the "tu" with me - but for kids (even university students) I prefer they use the "lei" format - and they seem to prefer it too. They use it spontaneously and I don't correct them.

If I had kids telling me "you didn't tell me that" - I would review all the homework instructions with them and then get them to put their initials beside each point (in ink!) . I wouldn't do very well with kids being rude (adults either for that matter, but that's pretty rare).
_________________________
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Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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#1670659 - 05/03/11 01:24 PM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
Smallpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 270
Loc: California
All my students call me "Teacher Small" instead of "Small" or "Mrs Piano"
I agreed that if parents show respect to teacher, then the students will follow.
Yes, I had one student like what you describe and he is already gone, no longer my student. I lost my temper when he do that and the mom walk out with the son together. The mom do not think that his son lied, or being very arguing with me. She thinks that I am ridiculus.
Anyway, I like the idea of initial at the side of the homework to make sure that the student knows his homework.
_________________________
English is my 4th languages, please excuse my grammar. Thanks

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#1670663 - 05/03/11 01:28 PM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: griffin2417]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 225
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: griffin2417
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
While I don't have any advice, I will be interested in the feedback you get. I have a student (girl) who does the exact same things and she is just 8 years old. Two weeks ago, I was telling her she had completed her Faber 2A books and was filling out the certificate. I said to her "isn't that great! Now you can move on to book 2B!" She looked me right in the face and replied, "and I should care, because?" I wanted to fire her out the door right then. And folks, this is with either her Father or Grandmother sitting in my living room well within ear shot.



Are the Father and Grandfather like that as well?

The Father will interfere a little by telling her to pay attention if she starts whining or not listening to me, but he has never been rude to me (or Mom for that matter.) One thing I keep in mind is that her brother has epilepsy and they are trying hard to bring his seizures under control. I teach him also and the only issue I have with him when he starts to ask me a question while I am talking regarding a completely different subject. Sis could just be acting out from the extra attention he gets. My Mother would have drop kicked me into next week (and no, she wasn't abusive) if I talked to an adult the way this child talks to me. They are both homeschooled and that also makes me wonder about things. Possible they just don't know how to act in a situation with other people.

I have only met the Grandfather once. He helps them with their lessons. My only issue is that he was teaching the Grandson to improvise on his songs before he had even learned them. I am all for improvisation and think it is a WONDERFUL skill to have, but let him learn the song as printed first. I mentioned that once in the lesson that we needed to learn it from the printed page first (there are also rhythm issues with this child) and then it is great after that to improvise. Grandpa was there at the next lesson. At first, I thought "oh, no" I am going to hear about it now. But he was very quiet and just sat in my living room listening.

_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

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#1670666 - 05/03/11 01:30 PM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: Diane...]
bmbutler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/10
Posts: 225
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Diane...
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
She looked me right in the face and replied,
. . . "and I should care, because?"


Have to admit, I laughed at that! I can't believe a student could say such a thing to a teacher! Wow! that's very bold of her! Funny, but not funny!

Well, I agree with others that you have to nail a situation at the moment it happens! I could tell stories! But normally, after a student has given me a remark that shows their lack of care, I will simply ask them a question, like "Why did you say that to me? I'm here to help you, & you aren't doing yourself any favours by acting like that to me, when all I'm doing is for your own good & I'm on your side to help you anyway I can! Now, TELL ME, why did you say/do that to me?" Then I wait for them to explain! This is always entertaining!

Then I wait & listen to what they might say! I just continue to ask why they are acting like that, till they try explaining their bad behaviour, until they see what I'm see!

Again, each student is different, so you are going to get different answers, but if they come back with another bad behaviour statement, I ask them again, why do you have to say that to me? Then eventually, they see that I'm on their side and I can't BELIEVE they are acting like that! So they know I won't just let a nasty comment/behaviour slide!

But I'm not perfect, & when one boy threw a book at me, I phoned his mom & I never had him return again! I could have handled that situation better, but this particular situation, I say it was just a "personality conflict"!



I was stunned too, Diane. It was probably why I didn't address her immediately because I just couldn't believe how rude she was. Thanks for the feedback. I would have fired the boy who threw the book too!
_________________________
Bachelor of Music (church music)
Master of Church Music (organ, music education)
Piano Teacher since 1992
Church Musician since 1983

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#1670719 - 05/03/11 03:24 PM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: griffin2417]
CarolR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/05
Posts: 350
Loc: wisconsin
Originally Posted By: griffin2417
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
While I don't have any advice, I will be interested in the feedback you get. I have a student (girl) who does the exact same things and she is just 8 years old. Two weeks ago, I was telling her she had completed her Faber 2A books and was filling out the certificate. I said to her "isn't that great! Now you can move on to book 2B!" She looked me right in the face and replied, "and I should care, because?" I wanted to fire her out the door right then. And folks, this is with either her Father or Grandmother sitting in my living room well within ear shot.



OMG! Seriously? I think I might say to her "OK, I'm going to start over. Isn't that great? And now you can move on to book 2B" and give her a chance to think again about her response. What a little snit!



_________________________
Working on:
Chopin: Barcarolle
Schubert: Sonata D959
Rachmaninoff: Daisies
Lutoslawski: Paganini Variations for 2 pianos


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#1670725 - 05/03/11 03:34 PM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
CarolR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/05
Posts: 350
Loc: wisconsin
My students call me by my first name, but I don't think that matters one bit. Most of my students are respectful because I am an adult and I am their teacher. I think those who are not would be that way no matter what they called me.

So the thing about arguing - I welcome differences of opinion, or conversations about what their challenges are. LOTS of kids disagree with me about fingerings, and if they can give me a good reason, they can often do what they want. But what really irks me is (in the case of this particular boy) this constant "I DID play that", or "I CAN'T do that". For instance, he says, flat out, that he can't pedal. Nope, not possible. So we work, and work, and work. He gets it - then he goes home and doesn't practice because he doesn't like to do it, and doesn't think he does it. And quite honestly, can't really tell the difference anyway. Just like he can't tell the difference if he's playing with a steady beat or not. And, he doesn't seem to get that there is a reason he has a teacher, to help him become better. I have reminded him in the past that I am, in fact, his teacher, and that if wants to learn to play the piano, I would suggest he listens to me. It's so tiresome sometimes.
But, I do need the money, and not all students are perfect, so I probably will not drop him. I will continue to try to steer him toward being a more cooperative student, though.
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin: Barcarolle
Schubert: Sonata D959
Rachmaninoff: Daisies
Lutoslawski: Paganini Variations for 2 pianos


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#1670734 - 05/03/11 03:43 PM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: CarolR
Originally Posted By: griffin2417
Originally Posted By: bmbutler
While I don't have any advice, I will be interested in the feedback you get. I have a student (girl) who does the exact same things and she is just 8 years old. Two weeks ago, I was telling her she had completed her Faber 2A books and was filling out the certificate. I said to her "isn't that great! Now you can move on to book 2B!" She looked me right in the face and replied, "and I should care, because?" I wanted to fire her out the door right then. And folks, this is with either her Father or Grandmother sitting in my living room well within ear shot.



OMG! Seriously? I think I might say to her "OK, I'm going to start over. Isn't that great? And now you can move on to book 2B" and give her a chance to think again about her response. What a little snit!






I wonder if the people who find the student's reaction outrageous are really shocked by the rudeness, or by the unexpected challenge to the teacher's values?

I mean "Why should I care?" is not an entirely unreasonable point of view to be held by somebody who does not live, eat, and breath music. Those of us who live under our pianos probably thing that a demonstration of musical progress is so obviously a good thing that it doesn't even need to be defended. But to a child who possibly has a hundred and one more interesting things to be doing than practising Fairy Footsteps or whatever, it's a question that does merit a considered answer.

I'd bet that if the student had said "Might I venture to suggest, Ma'm, that this achievement is of no great relevance to myself, with all due respect" it would have been no less shocking.

Just my £.02, as always.

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#1670737 - 05/03/11 03:49 PM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: CarolR
But what really irks me is (in the case of this particular boy) this constant "I DID play that", or "I CAN'T do that".


Yes, absolutely. I wonder sometimes if students who behave this way really, truly believe what they are saying. Some students defend the indefensible with such gusto that it's hard to believe that they have any idea they're wrong.

There's never seemed to me to be much point in getting drawn into an argument over this sort of thing. As my grandma used to say: don't wrestle a pig -- you get dirty and the pig likes it. I think sometimes that an argument is what the student actually wants here.

Of course, sometimes it's so expasperating that it would take saintly patience not to get drawn into an argument to some extent.

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#1670829 - 05/03/11 06:07 PM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: CarolR]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: CarolR
So, here's a story: After I missed a week of lessons because of the MTNA conference, my 5th grade student, Jonathan, was sitting at the piano, ready for his lesson. I looked at his assignment notebook and said 'So, how's the minuet?" He said "What? You didn't assign me the minuet." I said, uh, right here in your book, I have written "Work on Minuet in B minor, Hands alone, then slowly hands together,etc,, etc". .........

When do you think enough is enough?

Carol, I have two rules and only two rules in my Studio:

Rule #1 The Teacher is Always Right

Rule #2 When you think the teacher is wrong, refer to rule #1
_________________________
"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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#1671085 - 05/04/11 02:19 AM Re: How much arguing to put up with? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Nikolas Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4982
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Carol, I have two rules and only two rules in my Studio:

Rule #1 The Teacher is Always Right

Rule #2 When you think the teacher is wrong, refer to rule #1
LOL!

It reminds me of the one single rule I have, related to democracy (Greece the birthplace of Democracy, blah blah): "While in lesson we have democracy! whenever we agree we will be doing what you (the student) want. whenever we disagree we will do it my way (the teachers)". laugh

They always laugh, but actually this is working pretty good. I have a long leash, yet it's always there! wink
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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