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Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
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#1970152 - 10/08/12 03:24 AM Teacher wanting to transfer student?
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Hi everyone,

My 5 year old recently started piano (4 lessons), and thus far, he is in love. He runs to the piano when he wakes up, when he gets home from school, when Dad comes home from work or when anyone comes to visit (so he can show off what new things he's learned that day), basically any chance he gets. I'm not sure how long this honeymoon period will last, but I figure I'll enjoy it while it does!

The kiddo recently had his very first recital, which he thoroughly enjoyed. I was nervous for him, but I guess that one of the benefits of being 5 is lack of stage fright. smile. So, everything is going great, and you're probably wondering what my question is...

His teacher, whom my son and I both adore, has told me that he is progressing very quickly and that she thinks he would be better served transferring to another "higher level" teacher in the near future. In the meantime, she would focus on preparing him to make that jump. Of course, any parent would be proud that his/her child is doing well, but I can't help thinking it's awfully premature to consider transferring to another teacher when the current one is already quite experienced and capable? The kid has been playing for less than a month! He's barely scratched the surface of learning piano.

Could it be that my son's teacher is mistaking enthusiasm (which I have no idea will even last) for something more? Or is it actually possible to tell that a student is "special" (her word, not mine!) after only a few lessons? We love our teacher, and don't want to transfer!

I would appreciate any insights, thanks so much!

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#1970244 - 10/08/12 10:07 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Cardinal201, what were other kids playing at recital? Are they all 5 year old kids in pre-reading material? Were there any intermediate level performances?

The idea of transferring after 4 lessons makes no sense to me. I would want more information. But if a teacher does not want to teach my kid (for whatever reason), I would go to someone who does want to.

What did your kid play for the recital?

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#1970258 - 10/08/12 10:51 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1374
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Clearly you need to talk further with this teacher, and figure out what the heck she is getting at. I think it would be terrible for this new relationship to suddenly be
severed. In fact, it sounds bizarre. Even if your son is the next Oscar Peterson, my advice is that he should stick with this teacher at least through the present school year.

But if she is feeling in over her head with his musicality, it's tricky. I'm sure she is capable, but she doesn't sound very experienced.

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#1970298 - 10/08/12 12:44 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Ann in Kentucky, the kids at the recital ranged in age from 5 (mine) to 17 (a few high school seniors), with the performances sounding to my admittedly inexperienced ears as beginner to intermediate. The teacher specially recognized a few students as 5 Year National Piano Guild Members or 2012 International Piano Guild Members, but I really don't know what these designations mean.

My kid played a song from Faber PreTime Piano Rock 'n Roll, which his teacher assigned after his 2nd lesson. The song was "too easy" for him by the time of the recital 2 weeks later and he would constantly try to riff on it at home, but we wanted him to have a successful first outing at the recital and he did play the piece as written.

Peter K. Mose, I think the situation sounds bizarre as well! My kid is obviously still a beginner (he's currently playing from Faber Piano Adventures Level 1 - Technique & Artistry), and he seems to have a great rapport with his current teacher. She has taught children for many, many years, and has a wonderful reputation for instilling a love and appreciation for music in her students (which is all I ever wanted for my kid).

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#1970307 - 10/08/12 01:03 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1374
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
She may indeed have some instinct that your son is especially gifted, and she doesn't want to hold him back. But she sounds like a teacher to treasure, despite her insecurity.

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#1970323 - 10/08/12 01:42 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Hmm. I wonder what the teacher means by transferring in "the near future". I would ask her that. It's possible that "near future" means in next 3 years (instead of next 3 months) to her.

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#1970415 - 10/08/12 05:31 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Overexposed]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5548
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Hmm. I wonder what the teacher means by transferring in "the near future". I would ask her that. It's possible that "near future" means in next 3 years (instead of next 3 months) to her.

I would agree with that speculation.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1970429 - 10/08/12 05:53 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
I agree, she is a treasure! She did not mention a timeline for transferring, only that she has someone specific in mind and that she would like to give my son extra time/lessons (for free!) when her schedule allows to help prepare him for the transition. She's on vacation currently (taking a well-deserved break after the recital this past weekend), but I will speak with her more at our next lesson on the 21st. In the meantime, I'll be watching this thread for any additional insights, thank you again!

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#1970441 - 10/08/12 06:38 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3171
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
She may indeed have some instinct that your son is especially gifted, and she doesn't want to hold him back. But she sounds like a teacher to treasure, despite her insecurity.


How do you arrive at that conclusion, Peter?

My read on the situation is that the teacher clearly knows her abilities and limits, what her studio is capable of, wants the best for the student, and thus can see that a different teacher will better serve the student. And cares enough to sacrifice losing a student and the $$$.

Just like a primary care physician knows her limits, and sends a patient off to a specialist. Nothing "insecure" about that...just the right thing to do.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1970565 - 10/08/12 11:28 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1374
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I'm with Mom: "I can't help thinking it is awfully premature to consider transferring to another teacher."
Unless the present teacher is intending to retire soon, the scenario sounds goofy to me, and potentially sad.

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#1979781 - 10/28/12 06:37 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Update: The teacher actually returned from vacation last week, but I didn't really get a chance to speak with her at my kiddo's first lesson back due to the number of new pieces he wanted to play for her (apropos my other thread on going ahead). Even after our second lesson back today, he still didn't finish. Truthfully, I didn't want to bring up transferring if she wasn't going to do so again. I know, I know, I'm a chicken...

Anyway, at the end of today's lesson, the teacher did sort of bring it up again. She said
if she sent my child right now to this teacher she knows, this other teacher would probably have him start playing Chopin (Waltzes, I think she said--I didn't catch her exact words, nor would I know the difference anyway!). However, she wants to be very careful to nurture the kid and not have him burn out. So, she wants to continue assigning him "fun" music while strengthening his musical foundation through a variety of skills and exercises. Then she asked if we would like to lengthen our lesson times at no additional cost starting next week.

To me, this sounds as though the kid won't have to transfer anytime soon, but of course I was too chicken to come right out and ask. Do you all read the conversation the same way?

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#1979942 - 10/29/12 03:08 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1374
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201

To me, this sounds as though the kid won't have to transfer anytime soon, but of course I was too chicken to come right out and ask. Do you all read the conversation the same way?


I do. My advice is just to carry on with this teacher, and don't raise any transfer issues. Maybe they'll drift away from view for awhile, and your son and his teacher can get back to the business of bonding through music.

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#1990891 - 11/26/12 01:11 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Hello again, hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm sorry to resurrect this thread, but my transfer question does not seem to have been altogether settled. At the end of my kiddo's lesson today, the teacher suggested we put together a recording of repertoire to send to a teacher she knows in NY (we live in CA). The next student had arrived so I was unable to ask her why. I'm rather confused as to what this may mean. Is the teacher still thinking of transferring my child to another teacher, and if so, she couldn't possibly be thinking of transferring a 5 year old to someone across the country, could she? Please reassure me by telling me there are lots of other reasons that make more sense.

Please also keep in mind that my kid has all of 10 lessons under his belt as of today. He is currently preparing for his second recital next week where he will be performing 4 pieces, but none that seem unusually advanced. How fast do kids typically progress when learning to play piano?

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#1990954 - 11/26/12 07:06 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11798
Loc: Canada
Am I the only one to find this whole thing strange?

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#1990981 - 11/26/12 09:03 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
You need to talk to the teacher and find out what they actually think. Is the tape just for interest, or with a view to transfer? It's not OK for a conversation like this to be curtailed - you need answers. Sometimes that means more than can happen between lessons.

Are you talking about California and New York? But they're opposite sides of the continent!

Surely if transfer is needed, there is a closer teacher?
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1991037 - 11/26/12 11:16 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Cardinal201,
It sounds like your teacher is interested in consulting another teacher about your child and is therefore planning to send a recording.

Why don't you send your teacher an email and ask why she would like to send a recording to a teacher in NY.

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#1991038 - 11/26/12 11:19 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7406
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
The teacher specially recognized a few students as 5 Year National Piano Guild Members or 2012 International Piano Guild Members, but I really don't know what these designations mean.

Generally speaking, very few teachers have students who achieve the International level. That means they performed, at a level far above satisfactory, 15 pieces from memory. I personally work overtime to get one or two students per year into this category. It's difficult for both student and teacher. The same student, performing at the National level (10 pieces) will generally present a superior plus performance. About 60% of my Studio is National or higher; generally, as I say, 1 or 2 students make International.

It goes without saying that teachers who achieve this level with their students have a fairly good grasp of their students and their teaching. It doesn't mean that they are necessarily prepared to work with the super-gifted or very advanced student.

From what you've presented, we cannot make much more than some generalized guesses about the situation. I would let this teacher take the lead, but as you do need and should have, more understanding of what's happening and why, ask the teacher, at the end of this week's lesson, if next week, you could spend the first 10 - 15 minutes of the lesson discussing where your son is, his progress, what she foresees, advice, etc. This could clarify a lot of issues for you, it will give her time to prepare her thoughts, which is also important. Using lesson time will show her that you respect her time, which is a valuable commodity.
_________________________
"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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#1991092 - 11/26/12 01:22 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5548
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Am I the only one to find this whole thing strange?

Same here.

Is the current teacher so out of touch with other piano teachers in the area? There are many, many excellent piano teachers in California. Why New York? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Are they going to Skype their lessons?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1991094 - 11/26/12 01:24 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11798
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
Am I the only one to find this whole thing strange?

Same here.

Is the current teacher so out of touch with other piano teachers in the area? There are many, many excellent piano teachers in California. Why New York? It makes absolutely no sense to me. Are they going to Skype their lessons?

The child is 5 years old, and the first time this query came, he had had only 4 lessons and the teacher was already talking about a transfer.

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#1991105 - 11/26/12 02:00 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
Thank you so much for the quick replies! ten left thumbs, yes, I'm talking about California and New York. Ann in Kentucky, you may have hit on the most likely purpose for the recording--to facilitate consultation with another teacher. That makes a lot more sense than for transfer purposes, although it's still a bit confusing to me how my kiddo could be worthy even of consultation.

Unfortunately, the teacher does not utilize email so I cannot contact her that way, and I'm always hesitant to call because I know she has an extremely full teaching schedule. John v.d. Brook, I think you're right that the best course of action may be to request to set aside time during the actual lesson. I've been reluctant to do so in the past for two reasons: 1) the kid would complain :P, and 2), more importantly, I feel rather presumptuous assuming there is in fact anything to discuss. As I wrote previously, the kid doesn't seem to be particularly advanced. He's definitely not doing anything like you see in those YouTube videos of child piano prodigies. Perhaps the teacher's kind words have merely been for encouragement and inspiration, and are not to be taken so seriously?

My confusion and reluctance to make boastful and erroneous assumptions (doesn't every parent annoyingly want to think his or her child is "gifted"?) is why I continue to pepper this board with questions. Here, anonymity is definitely a good thing!

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#1991113 - 11/26/12 02:09 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3182
Loc: Maine
But you do have something to discuss:
  • "We are very happy with Junior's progress and your teaching."
  • "You mentioned transferring Junior to another teacher. What kind of timeframe are you thinking of, and what would the other teacher provide that you feel you can't provide?"
  • "What is the purpose for this video? What is the purpose for showing it to another teacher?"
  • "What is the best way to contact you and have conversations when we have questions?"

None of that involves any supposition on your part about Junior's talent.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1991404 - 11/27/12 09:48 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
A teacher gets out her telescope. "I think I can see Carnegie Hall in this kid's future!" Gives the telescope to a fellow teacher in New York to get a better view. "Can YOU see Carnegie Hall too?"

This spotting of Carnegie Hall is exciting, but not useful. The bottom line is that this 5 year old needs to paddle his boat through elementary music at this point. We can hope that he still has enthusiasm for music at age 10.

It is like trying to locate future NBA players by looking at 5 year old kids play basketball. There are unknowns that will matter a great deal. Which kid will grow 7 inches in one year remains to be seen.

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#1991455 - 11/27/12 11:50 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1374
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Ann, splendid post!

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#1991472 - 11/27/12 12:27 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Ann, splendid post!


Thanks Peter! My hope was that someone would appreciate it.
smile

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#1991520 - 11/27/12 02:09 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Cardinal201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 100
PianoStudent88, I may just use your words verbatim, thank you!

Ann in Kentucky, thanks also for your wonderful analogy. A large part of my concern in the highly improbable, miniscule potential "spotting of Carnegie Hall" is that it might create undue pressure to the point my son no longer possesses the enthusiasm for playing that he currently has. His teacher had expressed the same desire to prevent burnout, which is why I was surprised to hear of her recent suggestion. But sending a recording for consultation purposes seems innocuous enough, I think.

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#1991632 - 11/27/12 06:09 PM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Overexposed]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7406
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
A teacher gets out her telescope. "I think I can see Carnegie Hall in this kid's future!" Gives the telescope to a fellow teacher in New York to get a better view. "Can YOU see Carnegie Hall too?"

This spotting of Carnegie Hall is exciting, but not useful. The bottom line is that this 5 year old needs to paddle his boat through elementary music at this point. We can hope that he still has enthusiasm for music at age 10.

Actually, having 3 such students at the moment, I find that it is most helpful. It is something to discuss with parents concerning goals for the student, how they feel about it, etc. We all encounter highly talented students, but not all are musically motivated.

Secondly, I enrich the student's curriculum considerably, broadening their musical experiences. Obviously, the student is going to cover the basics, but far more quickly than your more normal student.
_________________________
"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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#1991844 - 11/28/12 07:52 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
A teacher gets out her telescope. "I think I can see Carnegie Hall in this kid's future!" Gives the telescope to a fellow teacher in New York to get a better view. "Can YOU see Carnegie Hall too?"

This spotting of Carnegie Hall is exciting, but not useful. The bottom line is that this 5 year old needs to paddle his boat through elementary music at this point. We can hope that he still has enthusiasm for music at age 10.

Actually, having 3 such students at the moment, I find that it is most helpful. It is something to discuss with parents concerning goals for the student, how they feel about it, etc. We all encounter highly talented students, but not all are musically motivated.

Secondly, I enrich the student's curriculum considerably, broadening their musical experiences. Obviously, the student is going to cover the basics, but far more quickly than your more normal student.


Point taken. However, this parent is talking about a 5 year old. From your posts I gather that you begin teaching kids at age 8. There is a lot more to analyze at age 8. All this analysis and enthusiasm over a 5 year old would be better spent in teaching kiddo to read music IMO.

OTOH, John, the right kind of analysis leads to a plan of action and a discussion with the parent. So far this teacher has only hinted at the child's talent, hinted that another teacher will soon be recommended, hinted that she is consulting another teacher. It has only served to generate excitement. No plan. All it really means is "Dang! I never seen a kid learn so quickly."


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (11/28/12 08:58 AM)

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#1991890 - 11/28/12 10:17 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Overexposed]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7406
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Point taken. However, this parent is talking about a 5 year old. From your posts I gather that you begin teaching kids at age 8. There is a lot more to analyze at age 8. All this analysis and enthusiasm over a 5 year old would be better spent in teaching kiddo to read music IMO.

OTOH, John, the right kind of analysis leads to a plan of action and a discussion with the parent. So far this teacher has only hinted at the child's talent, hinted that another teacher will soon be recommended, hinted that she is consulting another teacher. It has only served to generate excitement. No plan. All it really means is "Dang! I never seen a kid learn so quickly."

Actually, I do take, and have several students younger than 8. Currently I have both a 6 yr old and a 7 yr old. I have taken quite a few as young as 4.

What I see in the sketchy information provided by the OP is obviously different from what many others see. Short of being there in person, passing judgement on the teacher seems a stretch to me.
_________________________
"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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#1991905 - 11/28/12 11:10 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: Cardinal201]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1374
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
I think the parent should direct the teacher to our thread.

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#1991906 - 11/28/12 11:17 AM Re: Teacher wanting to transfer student? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Short of being there in person, passing judgement on the teacher seems a stretch to me.


OK. Fair enough. It was a bit of a stretch on my part. A lot of unknowns.

But sending a video to New York was what seemed like overkill to me. As though there is no one locally who has experience teaching kids with this degree of talent. (Barf.)

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