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#2078525 - 05/06/13 07:42 PM Re: student mocking me rudely [Re: Beth_Frances]
Beth_Frances Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/12
Posts: 189
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Update on boy 2.

Yesterday he came into his lesson absolutely furious that I had sent his brother back to the car and asked him to come in first. Usually they have their lessons the other way around, but I have decided to try switching them around to see if using his brother as a buffer between him and the rest of my Monday lessons helps with my stamina. I had emailed the mother requesting this.

The first thing he said was "nothing is going to change!" very agressively, to which I replied "this isn't about you, I want to teach you first so I'm not still in a bad mood for the other kids I teach thisafternoon." Now i KNOW that was terrible, and I didn't mean to say it, but he makes me so mad that it slipped out. He stormed over to the piano, sat down with arms crossed and body language closed off and was completely unresponsive. I said happily "Let me know if you want to start your lesson, otherwise I'll be working on some other things." And walked off and got a glass of water and then started flipping through some admin work with my back to him. After about a minute he said "I didn't say I wasn't going to play. I was just THINKING!"

I came back to him, started the lesson, and in a switch that made my partner who was listening from another room question whether or not he might be bipolar, he suddenly turned what seemed genuinely friendly, was compliant, and even chatted along pleasantly for a bit about his upcoming school camp. No idea what happened there! The rest of the lesson went better than his lessons have gone in months.

I also got to have a good chat with his mum, and discovered that he is seeing a pschologist at the moment because of his behaviour issues (and he pulls similar stunts with the psychologist as well), and that the mum is receiving very long emails regularly from his school teacher about acting up in class. It was a huge relief that not only did the mum believe me but also that she wasn't surprised, and was very apologetic and told me I can call or email her any time to let her know what is going on and there will be consequences if he keeps it up.

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#2078536 - 05/06/13 08:13 PM Re: student mocking me rudely [Re: Beth_Frances]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11427
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think you handled this perfectly. He needs those boundaries, and perhaps he just needed some time to blow off some steam, then he could focus. I would be prepared to do this same routine each lesson if needed. I think he really appreciated it. Good for you!
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2078538 - 05/06/13 08:24 PM Re: student mocking me rudely [Re: Beth_Frances]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
Wow, good job! I think he will begin to realize you aren't going to put up with his antics.
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#2078598 - 05/06/13 11:17 PM Re: student mocking me rudely [Re: Beth_Frances]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1317
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Well done, Beth! In a strange way, I have a feeling he even believes that you are on his side. Which you are. A huge accomplishment.

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#2078639 - 05/07/13 02:17 AM Re: student mocking me rudely [Re: Beth_Frances]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Beth_Frances


The first thing he said was "nothing is going to change!" very agressively, to which I replied "this isn't about you, I want to teach you first so I'm not still in a bad mood for the other kids I teach thisafternoon."


hehe Check out the frustration thread?

Quote:

I also got to have a good chat with his mum, and discovered that he is seeing a pschologist at the moment because of his behaviour issues (and he pulls similar stunts with the psychologist as well),...


... and she didn't think to tell you?
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


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

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#2078681 - 05/07/13 07:11 AM Re: student mocking me rudely [Re: ten left thumbs]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11427
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: Beth_Frances


The first thing he said was "nothing is going to change!" very agressively, to which I replied "this isn't about you, I want to teach you first so I'm not still in a bad mood for the other kids I teach thisafternoon."


hehe Check out the frustration thread?

Quote:

I also got to have a good chat with his mum, and discovered that he is seeing a pschologist at the moment because of his behaviour issues (and he pulls similar stunts with the psychologist as well),...


... and she didn't think to tell you?

We always find out the hard way, don't we?
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2078744 - 05/07/13 09:55 AM Re: student mocking me rudely [Re: Beth_Frances]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Sometimes I think they take piano lessons because the kid has problems and they want us to make it better. Which is fair enough, but it would be wise to tell the teacher.

For what I know, bipolar mood swing last weeks or months, not seconds as described. Simple explanation, kid realized he wasn't going to get away with it and changed tack. But he has a therapist already for the diagnosis, so we're probably safe to leave it to them.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


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

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#2081979 - 05/13/13 03:56 PM Re: student mocking me rudely [Re: Beth_Frances]
Kimsie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/08
Posts: 95
Loc: Arlington, WA
Originally Posted By: Beth_Frances
Update on boy 2.

I came back to him, started the lesson, and in a switch that made my partner who was listening from another room question whether or not he might be bipolar, he suddenly turned what seemed genuinely friendly, was compliant, and even chatted along pleasantly for a bit about his upcoming school camp. No idea what happened there!


One of our sons has schizophrenia and my brother-in-law is bipolar and I can tell you that from what you have said there is no reason to think this boy has either of those problems. You handled it well.

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#2082450 - 05/14/13 01:20 PM Re: student mocking me rudely [Re: Beth_Frances]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
Watching the trial of Jodi Arias, the slasher, on tv has been quite an education. I'm not saying your student has the same problem, but the child's tactics put me in mind of what I've learned about personality disorders. I'm hardly in a position to diagnose or recommend treatment! But there is one big difference: your student is seeing a psychologist for treatment (she never did)... and that could make all the difference in the world. A life-and-death difference, literally. So I applaud the parents for getting help.

At the same time, I deplore their not having advised you. But it's understandable that it may be a sensitive subject for them.

I think you did fine, personally. Maybe that fiery statement alone might have gone a bit over the top if it were taken by itself, but in the context of everything else you said and did, it was not inappropriate, and it certainly was not terrible. Some of these kids are dieing to have healthy boundaries laid down for them. Healthy and suitable boundaries help them to feel secure, and help them learn about respect. And then they can learn about piano.

It works with dogs, too--- I have five. All good dogs, all knowing where the boundaries are, all testing them now and then. BTW, a little treat when behavior is good helps to grease the gears wonderfully.
_________________________
Clef


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