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#2153325 - 09/18/13 08:43 PM I am a bad teacher today!
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
I am not a perfect teacher. No one is perfect. I had so much stress teaching this family of three recently (three weeks) after they come back from summer vacation:

1. They did not make any improve at all during summer time
2. They regress!!
3. I have to restart and reteach something that we already know before summer vacation
4. Parent want to take CM test and we agreed (before summer) that oldest and middle will take CM2 while youngest take CMP

All my other students who stays for whole summer make improvement that feels like 4 months even summer is only 2 months because they practice piano without distraction of schools during summer.

When I look at the progress table of my whole studio, these three kids are the last three kids in my studio. Their preparedness for the test is only 30% prepared while the rest of the kids are mostly 50% and up (test is in March 2014).

I am too stressful to teach them. As today kids are not being able to focus, whining all the time, I was not being nice to them during lesson time. I have goal for each lesson for each kid and I am moving forward in a steady pace to hope that I can accomplish my goal for them so that they can have all material cover before test. Mom is very supportive and understanding person, she reminds me that I had being not nice to kids today. I agree with her. I feel sorry about that.

Example of whining:
Teacher: Let's play G Major scales
Student: [whine] Do I have to do that?
Teacher: Yes
Student:[whine] But it is so hard
Teacher: I am here to help you
Student: [whine...] [then play piano angrily]
And it repeat the same thing for each Major scales and each task that I ask them to perform. I do not understand where is the angry comes from and this really ruin my mood for the lesson.

Seriously, I do not know how not to be disappointed and angry and stress out by this...

Now, my questions:
How do you cope with this? When there is a lot of material to cover, students are obviously behind, students are not following instruction quickly, time wasted between tasks because they take time to whine...

Any suggestions? Me to be more gentle and nice while students obviously are not quickly wanted to learn more and whine all the time?

I lost my patient!!
_________________________
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Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
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#2153331 - 09/18/13 08:56 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10422
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Are students who regress over the summer a real rarity in your studio? If so, count your blessings … smile
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2153335 - 09/18/13 09:03 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
I know it is a blessing for me to have a good amount of students this year and also extra blessing that all majority of my students stays for the whole summer this year!! I looked back to my record, I have about 5 of them take only one month off while there are two months of summer time and this family of three take 2 months off.

Those 5 students who take only one month off are not improving during summer time, but they are not regress either!! This family who take 2 months make me feel like they are total of 6 months behind the rest of the students. The rest of the students improve 4 months forward while they regress 2 months backward, so, total of 6 months difference!!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
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#2153345 - 09/18/13 09:34 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 821
I am hoping that people responding to you don't respond to your "regress" comment too much. I think all of us who have learned piano know that there seem to be times that all the skills you work on for months sort of all mysteriously disintegrate for a while. And then somehow things click again and you make a little leap forward.

But I am getting the sense from your post that it's not about skills and more about students who don't want to be there.

As an adult, I think teachers are AMAZING people. So you are amazing, even if your students don't yet appreciate it. (It may take a few decades.)
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2153349 - 09/18/13 09:58 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12222
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Someone posted here at one time that they never work harder than their students. I really like that, and it helps me deal with students who perhaps don't want to be there, want to be there but don't want to work/don't understand how to work, and students who maybe have a fear of failure/success. I try to inspire and find ways of helping, but at some point they have to want it. I can't do it for them, I'm already doing it for myself.

You can't really change the fact that the parents or children decided not to take your advice about taking summer lessons. So teach them, do the review, etc. IF they are not ready, you can tell the parents that you've done all you can, but the amount of progress lost over the summer did not allow the kids to prepare as well as they should for exams. You can then let them decide if they want them to do it anyways, or wait another year.

Sometimes it's hard to not take our student's failures as a reflection of our teaching ability.
_________________________
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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#2153359 - 09/18/13 10:30 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2754
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Remember that even though you don't see it, there is much more going on in their lives. Perhaps it has been a difficult season for the family.

Even if you want to judge your teaching by your students, you have to include all the students who are doing well!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2153370 - 09/18/13 11:00 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
But I am getting the sense from your post that it's not about skills and more about students who don't want to be there.


It is the combination of:
1. Skills regress
2. Students do not want to be here (depends, sometimes they are pretty good, but sometimes they drive me crazy!!)
3. We are behind of "OUR" goal (taking Level 2 is not only parent's goal, but also "MY" goal for them)
4. Then lastly, I lost my patient!!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2153440 - 09/19/13 01:33 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5593
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
4. Then lastly, I lost my patient!!

You're a doctor now?

It's "patience." Doctors have patients.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2153458 - 09/19/13 02:17 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
pa·tient
ˈpāSHənt/
adjective
adjective: patient
1.
able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
"be patient, your time will come"
synonyms: forbearing, uncomplaining, tolerant, resigned, stoical; More
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2153461 - 09/19/13 02:30 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5593
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
pa·tient
ˈpāSHənt/
adjective
adjective: patient
1.
able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
"be patient, your time will come"
synonyms: forbearing, uncomplaining, tolerant, resigned, stoical; More

You need a noun, not an adjective.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2153469 - 09/19/13 02:52 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Somehow today I like to use an adjective to describe my feeling, so what?
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2153487 - 09/19/13 04:00 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: AZNpiano]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
4. Then lastly, I lost my patient!!

You're a doctor now?

It's "patience." Doctors have patients.
It is a bit funny, ezpiano, because you just claimed you killed your patient! grin

But other than that AZN, give her a break... smile I mean the amount of tpyos that I make is huge, so I wouldn't want to be in her position... smile
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2153500 - 09/19/13 04:42 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
pa·tient
ˈpāSHənt/
adjective
adjective: patient
1.
able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
"be patient, your time will come"
synonyms: forbearing, uncomplaining, tolerant, resigned, stoical; More

I know what you are doing. You are thinking of:

PatientS/Patience... smile

These two words are spelled differently, but they have the same sound.

I know what you were saying, and I also know what kind of day you had.

I had one like that today myself. I lost so much patience, I wanted to scream at some of my patients (students).

This forum is for piano teachers, not grammarians, so when we smile, don't take it too seriously. And remember, most Americans could not speak (or type) another language if their life depended on it.

But I think AZN could. wink
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2153583 - 09/19/13 09:05 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Ezpiano, reading your post - it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc. If during a lesson you keep working toward having your student learn, using everything you know, and your behaviour is professional, then you have been a good teacher even if you are feeling miserable about what is happening. Your own teachers, when you were a student, may have kept a calm demeanour in front of you so that you think that this is also what they felt inside, and if you are not equally calm (inside) it means you are not as professional as they were --- but they probably had ups and downs in their feelings too.

Re: patience vs. patient(s)

The word "patient" as a noun (person, place, thing) means the person a doctor sees. When there is more than one, they are "patients", and that word sounds the same as "patience".

The word "patient" can also be used as an adjective or adverb:
"That teacher is very patient." (describes the teacher)
"He is patient with all his students." (describes how he is)
That is the meaning you were after.

When you want to use the word that means "the act of being patient", then you have the word "patience". Which sounds exactly the same as the word "patients" (people seeking medical help).

English is the most messed up non-standard language around. laugh

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#2153589 - 09/19/13 09:18 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
First of all, you should take for granted that most student do not progress over the summer.

Only a few very dedicated and enthusiastic kids can sustain their interest and effort over holidays.

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#2153635 - 09/19/13 10:14 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2398
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
But I am getting the sense from your post that it's not about skills and more about students who don't want to be there.


It is the combination of:
1. Skills regress
2. Students do not want to be here (depends, sometimes they are pretty good, but sometimes they drive me crazy!!)
3. We are behind of "OUR" goal (taking Level 2 is not only parent's goal, but also "MY" goal for them)
4. Then lastly, I lost my patient!!


EZ,

From your postings here, it's obvious you are not a bad teacher. You can't have full control over your students, you just have to accept that.

This summer, like every summer, I spend quite a bit of time in the Sierra Nevada, camping backpacking, climbing, on long weekends. So I've spent most of this summer apologizing to my teacher. And yes, I've regressed!

Such is the ebb and flow of life.
_________________________
Gary

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#2153648 - 09/19/13 10:40 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1382
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
EZ, you are a teacher with clear goals for your piano students, and I'm sure many parents are impressed by this. You also have a timetable for those goals. That's the trickier piece.

These kids sound wrong for you.

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#2153660 - 09/19/13 10:55 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: keystring]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4535
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: keystring
Ezpiano, reading your post - it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc. If during a lesson you keep working toward having your student learn, using everything you know, and your behaviour is professional, then you have been a good teacher even if you are feeling miserable about what is happening. Your own teachers, when you were a student, may have kept a calm demeanour in front of you so that you think that this is also what they felt inside, and if you are not equally calm (inside) it means you are not as professional as they were --- but they probably had ups and downs in their feelings too.



Ugh. I'd like to think that I was never a spoiled brat in my lessons. That I WANTED to be there, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today. Sometimes, you just have to send the student away. I did that yesterday, and I don't regret it. I don't have the time or patience to sit through a lesson where it's a circus, and all the kid is trying to do is pisss off the teacher and not listen to ANYTHING the teacher says. They don't want to be there, you don't want them to be there because of that. The parents obviously didn't care because they showed up for a SECOND time without ANY books.

Believe me I did everything I could. But I gave the kid two chances. He obviously does NOT want to be there, and I have no interest in teaching someone like that. I have 10 other students who are excited about playing every single time. I'd rather keep the spot open for someone who won't make me want to rip my own hair out. So in this case - no, I don't think I was being unprofessional. But you have to draw the line somewhere.

I suggested he try another instrument.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2153706 - 09/19/13 11:34 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Pogorelich.]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12222
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Originally Posted By: keystring
Ezpiano, reading your post - it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc. If during a lesson you keep working toward having your student learn, using everything you know, and your behaviour is professional, then you have been a good teacher even if you are feeling miserable about what is happening. Your own teachers, when you were a student, may have kept a calm demeanour in front of you so that you think that this is also what they felt inside, and if you are not equally calm (inside) it means you are not as professional as they were --- but they probably had ups and downs in their feelings too.



Ugh. I'd like to think that I was never a spoiled brat in my lessons. That I WANTED to be there, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today. Sometimes, you just have to send the student away. I did that yesterday, and I don't regret it. I don't have the time or patience to sit through a lesson where it's a circus, and all the kid is trying to do is pisss off the teacher and not listen to ANYTHING the teacher says. They don't want to be there, you don't want them to be there because of that. The parents obviously didn't care because they showed up for a SECOND time without ANY books.

Believe me I did everything I could. But I gave the kid two chances. He obviously does NOT want to be there, and I have no interest in teaching someone like that. I have 10 other students who are excited about playing every single time. I'd rather keep the spot open for someone who won't make me want to rip my own hair out. So in this case - no, I don't think I was being unprofessional. But you have to draw the line somewhere.

I suggested he try another instrument.
Yes, I think we've all had these kinds of students, and none of us want to teach in this situation, even if we need the money. This is partly why I insist on meeting students before agreeing to teach them (and them agreeing to study with me). No point in wasting everyone's time.
_________________________
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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#2153771 - 09/19/13 01:08 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Vancouver BC
EZPiano, I don't think AZ intended to pick on you. It was a very common mistake, and it was very funny in this particular context.

AZPiano does have an impressive dictionary like vocabulary, in terms of both accuracy and volume. I admit that I had to look up some of the words in his posts more than a couple of times. I wouldn't be surprised that he had won some spelling bee contests.

If anyone thinks learning piano is hard, the person probably has not learned a second language. Anyone who learned a second language to a survival level, should be proud of his/him-self.

I came to this country in my late 20's, went through a lot to be able to function in English (I did have years of English at school, but it was practically nothing). During the years, I found that people who spent time to correct me (mostly in private) are the friendly and open minded ones. People who judge people by color, by accent are often the "polite" ones.

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#2153774 - 09/19/13 01:10 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Morodiene]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4535
Loc: in the past
Yes Morodiene - we have trial lessons (up to 4). I put my thoughts forward after the second one.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2153785 - 09/19/13 01:26 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: M
This is partly why I insist on meeting students before agreeing to teach them (and them agreeing to study with me).


These kids are good sometimes, but driving me crazy sometimes too. Yes, I did meet with them at the interview and they are adorable!!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2153787 - 09/19/13 01:28 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: KS
it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc.


So, it is okay to feel these while teaching, but I guess it is unprofessional to let it out right? Should I keep it inside even I feel it? If yes, how do you do it? Can you teach me?

Thanks!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2153831 - 09/19/13 02:30 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5593
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: KS
it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc.


So, it is okay to feel these while teaching, but I guess it is unprofessional to let it out right? Should I keep it inside even I feel it? If yes, how do you do it? Can you teach me?

We've had this discussion in this forum before. Some feel it's a "teachers' forum" and thus teachers can come here and vent all they want. It's like what happens in the teachers' lounge at school. But then others objected to the fact that the venting is taking place in a public place (the Internet) where everybody can lurk around and read up on the gossip.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2153843 - 09/19/13 02:43 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
I am not venting. I am having a situation that I cannot solve, I am asking help from other teachers or parents. If people want to gossip (maybe someone like you? I do not know) then I have no control of this and I do not want to control this either.
Now, may I ask in a polite way, if you cannot help, please step away so that other who desire to help can help.
Thanks!!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2153844 - 09/19/13 02:45 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
If yes, how do you do it? Can you teach me?

Thanks!


Yes.

I have made some suggestions along these lines from time to time, but they have not been well received, so I have backed off.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2153853 - 09/19/13 02:57 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Yes Tim. You were suggesting that my heritage contribute to my problem, which I cannot alter my heritage. So, whatever you suggested is not helpful, I am glad that you backed off. For this, I thank you!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2153865 - 09/19/13 03:21 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3206
Loc: Maine
I thought Tim had other suggestions, unrelated to heritage.

As I recall it, the heritage question came up as *wondering* if it were an issue, linked to culture and language. There are many different cultures represented in the US, and that means there is a potential for cultures to clash. Or sometimes language can be a barrier. It was quickly established that heritage, culture, and language were not issues in this case, and Tim offered suggestions unrelated to heritage.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2153889 - 09/19/13 04:16 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1382
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Ez, you are raising interesting pedagogical questions, and they are equally life questions. How does one deal with frustrations? How does one avoid impatience? How does one practice kindness?

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#2153891 - 09/19/13 04:19 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Yes Tim. You were suggesting that my heritage contribute to my problem, which I cannot alter my heritage.


No. I used to teach RET at one of my previous jobs, and it was effective for some people in learning to react but not overreact. I could possibly suggest some reading material if you were interested.

I have also occasionally expressed the opinion that people tend to give away the power to control themselves, letting others force reactions rather than owning the responsibility internally. There are sometimes ways to avoid this as well.

The resistance to those ideas here has been fairly strong, and I've been reluctant to proceed further.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2153892 - 09/19/13 04:20 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1646
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Ez, you are raising interesting pedagogical questions, and they are equally life questions. How does one deal with frustrations? How does one avoid impatience? How does one practice kindness?







A mentor teacher of mine once told me that a good way to stay patient with students is to let your mind wander a bit when you feel your blood starting to boil. She told me she thinks of her grocery list.
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#2153932 - 09/19/13 05:23 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
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Tim, is this RET (Rational Emotive Therapy)? Is the Wikipedia page a reasonable introduction? I would be interested if you have suggestions for reading.
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#2153949 - 09/19/13 05:36 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Barb860]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Barb860
A mentor teacher of mine once told me that a good way to stay patient with students is to let your mind wander a bit when you feel your blood starting to boil. She told me she thinks of her grocery list.

Or you can silently count to ten. Or thirty.

Impatience is counterproductive only if you let it be counterproductive, by lashing out at students or by thinking "OMG, I'm horrible!" You can always channel impatience toward something positive and beneficial.
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#2153957 - 09/19/13 05:49 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Yes, I think we've all had these kinds of students, and none of us want to teach in this situation, even if we need the money. This is partly why I insist on meeting students before agreeing to teach them (and them agreeing to study with me). No point in wasting everyone's time.

I word about "meeting students".

One of the thing I most liked about the show "House" was his line - they all lie. smile

If we throw out "lie", which is a bit harsh, and simply say that people change, then I think we can assume that what student A, B or C says when starting lessons is often or usually very misleading in the long run.

I've said it before: I get some of the worst students you can imagine as recommendations from great students, and the opposite is often true. So even word of mouth does not necessarily tell me anything.

But beyond that, I swear some students, especially parents, will simply tell me anything I want to hear in the beginning, then a few months later I find out that I am in a bad situation that did not start out that way.

In short: we really don't know much in the beginning.

Meetings and trial lessons ARE helpful for me, because I can head of disastrous situations. But they are only a little helpful, because so much can change.
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#2153962 - 09/19/13 06:00 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: KS
it is not unprofessional to feel negative things: impatient, disappointed, frustrated, etc.


So, it is okay to feel these while teaching, but I guess it is unprofessional to let it out right? Should I keep it inside even I feel it? If yes, how do you do it? Can you teach me?

We've had this discussion in this forum before. Some feel it's a "teachers' forum" and thus teachers can come here and vent all they want. It's like what happens in the teachers' lounge at school. But then others objected to the fact that the venting is taking place in a public place (the Internet) where everybody can lurk around and read up on the gossip.

In her opening post, EZ wrote that she was worried about being a bad teacher, because she had negative feelings. Nobody is talking about venting here, OR criticizing those feelings. I wrote that it is ok to have negative feelings, and you are not unprofessional when you feel negative things while teaching.

My first degree is in teaching and my first professional work was as a teacher in a problem school.

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#2153990 - 09/19/13 07:15 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I get some of the worst students you can imagine as recommendations from great students, and the opposite is often true. So even word of mouth does not necessarily tell me anything.

Welcome to my world! One of my best students right now is a referral of a referral, and both of the referring students aren't so great. Many years ago, I've also taught a superior student, whose mother--bless her heart!--kept on referring me these clients who, unfortunately, were really bad. But I couldn't say no, or else it would make her look bad.
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#2154012 - 09/19/13 08:06 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Barb860]
Morodiene Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Barb860
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
Ez, you are raising interesting pedagogical questions, and they are equally life questions. How does one deal with frustrations? How does one avoid impatience? How does one practice kindness?







A mentor teacher of mine once told me that a good way to stay patient with students is to let your mind wander a bit when you feel your blood starting to boil. She told me she thinks of her grocery list.
Your mentor has a lot of gems, doesn't she? LOL, I love it! laugh
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#2154061 - 09/19/13 09:34 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: PianoStudent88]
TimR Offline
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Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Tim, is this RET (Rational Emotive Therapy)? Is the Wikipedia page a reasonable introduction? I would be interested if you have suggestions for reading.


Yes, that's it. The wiki is pretty good. I have to say I've been out of the counseling field for a long time now and none of my knowledge would be fresh. I retrained as an engineer halfway through graduate school. (I was working at a mental hospital making $14,000 and would soon graduate and make $19,000. Instead I got an engineering degree and started at $31,000, which wasn't bad in 1990. But it wasn't the money as much as being drawn to a more technical type of creativity.)

I used RET therapeutically in drug treatment programs and there was no doubt it worked, at least for some. Whether it really worked for the reasons claimed or for some other underlying principle was never clear; we who used it had not drunk the koolaid but did see the usefulness. It is not necessary to be a true believer to make parts of it work.
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#2154514 - 09/20/13 02:32 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
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Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Thank you for all your feedback so far....

I was rethinking about what I wrote here...

Originally Posted By: OP, myself
Mom is very supportive and understanding person, she reminds me that I had being not nice to kids today. I agree with her. I feel sorry about that.


I agree that I was not nice, I do feel sorry that I was not nice, but I feel that I have to be like that to take control...

I remember AZN taught me to be "menace" in this thread

Originally Posted By: ANZ
You don't have to scream. You just have to pick a tone that's dark and menacing. It takes practice, especially if that tone isn't natural to you. Heck, I hope I don't talk with that menacing tone all day long.


I practice that to my angry students and I do not see improvement of their behaviors. Now the mom is saying that I am not treating her kids nice.

This angry student thread is the same family as this thread here. Apparently yes, I receive a lot of stressful moment from them, I cannot enjoy teaching piano lessons anymore when I teach them.

Imagine this situation:

Teacher: [In a calm voice] Sorry, that note is wrong
Student: [Whine] What note is that (they are very depended to me, overall)
Teacher: Sorry, you need to figure out yourself, yes, you know the note
Student: [In angry voice] Yes, I am right it is D!! (Then play D extremely loud on piano)
Teacher: [raising my voice] No, it is not D, look again!
Student [even more angry] Yes, is D, is D, is D DDDDD! (then play D on piano extremely loud repeated ten times)
Teacher: [Now I am angry and I need to step up to discipline them] I close the piano lid and tell them they cannot do that to piano. Yes, I am mean when I discipline them, but if I am not doing this, then they will not afraid of me and there is no way I can control the situation! There is a Chinese proverb: "They will climb up onto my head!"

Mom says I am mean and not nice according to this situation. She said yes I can be strict, but I cannot be mean. She thinks that I lost my temper when I am trying to discipline the kids. Yes, I am raising my voice, but I really do not think I am losing my temper.

Looks like mom and I have different standard....
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#2154519 - 09/20/13 02:43 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
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Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
In fact, I did try
First resource: being firm
Second resource: keep silence
Last resource: being menace

All useless...
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#2154522 - 09/20/13 02:52 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
MomOfBeginners Online   content
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Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 125
Loc: California, USA
ezpiano,

I am a parent, not a piano teacher.

From your description, the student is disrespectful, and the mother opposes your attempt at discipline when the student is disrespectful.

You also mentioned that the mother is supportive and understanding. However, she certainly doesn't seem supportive and understanding in this case.

So the mother says that you are not nice. Are you supposed to be nice? After a student talks to you in a tone that conveys "You are stupid", I don't expect you to be nice.

Not being nice (especially in response to student lack of cooperation) does not mean you're a bad teacher.
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#2154571 - 09/20/13 03:49 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
In fact, I did try
First resource: being firm
Second resource: keep silence
Last resource: being menace

All useless...

There are no-win situations. We are not perfect, and we can't deal with all students and all parents. I might be able to work with this family better than you, but you might be able to work with some of my families better than I do.

If you are working with a family that is that disrespectful ( and pounding a key ***again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again** is something we simply should not tolerate, ever) then you have to decide where you draw a line.

My way of dealing with such wrong notes is to actually hold the finger down on the wrong note, then insist that the student tell me what he/she is playing, then identify the correct note in the music, and I simply do not let go of this point until we have a resolution. The resolution is that the child and parent in the room both understand, crystal clear, that I am right.

I then have the student play about 10 notes anywhere on the keyboard, one at a time, when I face the other way. Then I have the student take the hand off each key, and I then play the right key.

Then I ask if there is any doubt that I hear the notes correctly.

So far there has never been a doubt, with any student or parent.

That's it.

If the problem reoccurs, I repeat this.

One thing that may help you. When I do not get cooperation and really want to make a point, I try to say things very quietly.

I don't want to use the word "menace", but maybe that is in my voice and my eyes. If so, the people in question have earned it and need to know to back off.
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#2154575 - 09/20/13 03:54 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
The Monkeys Offline
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Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
In fact, I did try
First resource: being firm
Second resource: keep silence
Last resource: being menace

All useless...


This family has been too much a burden for you for too long. Find a way to part away peacefully.

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#2154810 - 09/20/13 11:42 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
As a student, after a bad session, often the question is more about how to make future lessons any better. What's done is done.

Especially for younger students, I think it's important that they remain interested, enjoy playing the piano, and making music. I think that's more important than getting a good score in a future exam.

Once lessons become frustrating, not fun anymore -- they become a chore to the student. Once they see the piano as homework, they will quit, sooner or later. (And that's a shame).

I imagine, to be a teacher, you also have to be a part-time child psychologist. A difficult task.

But I also believe the number one job as a music teacher is to teach the love of playing music. If you inspire your students to play, then you can't be a bad teacher, even if you have a bad day from time to time. (My opinion only).
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#2154831 - 09/21/13 01:02 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Candywoman Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 857
I think your anger came out because there were several issues at once and it was difficult to address each of them properly at that time. Your problems were:
1) the students would have been better off with some lessons in the summer.
2) the students weren't as respectful as they should have been.
3) you doubt whether they will meet the exam target, and this will reflect poorly on you at exam time.

You need to address these three issues. Exams are not a good idea for poor students, or students who take too much time off. I would have tried to avoid exams with these kids. But you want the exam, so you will need to explain to the mother that the kids will get a mark that correlates exactly to their effort. And you would like to see more effort.

If summer lessons are important to you, you must make them non-negotiable. Since you had not done this, you must accept your students' temporary regressions.

You DO need to insist on respect, but be patient. Kids often take a few lessons to get back into the swing of things. During the summer, they try out all sorts of rude behaviors on each other because it's fun. Now they need to show their civil side again.

How to deal with the stress? Look at the big picture. Your student is healthy and able to fight with you. That's actually better than having them lying ill in the hospital. That's better than them being unable to communicate with you due to autism. I think you need to joke with them a bit more. I think you need to experience one student getting a 65% and still feel like a good teacher.

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#2154912 - 09/21/13 08:35 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12222
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Thank you for all your feedback so far....

I was rethinking about what I wrote here...

Originally Posted By: OP, myself
Mom is very supportive and understanding person, she reminds me that I had being not nice to kids today. I agree with her. I feel sorry about that.


I agree that I was not nice, I do feel sorry that I was not nice, but I feel that I have to be like that to take control...

I remember AZN taught me to be "menace" in this thread

Originally Posted By: ANZ
You don't have to scream. You just have to pick a tone that's dark and menacing. It takes practice, especially if that tone isn't natural to you. Heck, I hope I don't talk with that menacing tone all day long.


I practice that to my angry students and I do not see improvement of their behaviors. Now the mom is saying that I am not treating her kids nice.

This angry student thread is the same family as this thread here. Apparently yes, I receive a lot of stressful moment from them, I cannot enjoy teaching piano lessons anymore when I teach them.

Imagine this situation:

Teacher: [In a calm voice] Sorry, that note is wrong
Student: [Whine] What note is that (they are very depended to me, overall)
Teacher: Sorry, you need to figure out yourself, yes, you know the note
Student: [In angry voice] Yes, I am right it is D!! (Then play D extremely loud on piano)
Teacher: [raising my voice] No, it is not D, look again!
Student [even more angry] Yes, is D, is D, is D DDDDD! (then play D on piano extremely loud repeated ten times)
Teacher: [Now I am angry and I need to step up to discipline them] I close the piano lid and tell them they cannot do that to piano. Yes, I am mean when I discipline them, but if I am not doing this, then they will not afraid of me and there is no way I can control the situation! There is a Chinese proverb: "They will climb up onto my head!"

Mom says I am mean and not nice according to this situation. She said yes I can be strict, but I cannot be mean. She thinks that I lost my temper when I am trying to discipline the kids. Yes, I am raising my voice, but I really do not think I am losing my temper.

Looks like mom and I have different standard....

I don't see that you did anything wrong here. Clearly the child crossed a boundary, and you let them know that is not acceptable. You should not feel bad.
_________________________
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#2154933 - 09/21/13 09:20 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Morodiene]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Thank you for all your feedback so far....

I was rethinking about what I wrote here...

Originally Posted By: OP, myself
Mom is very supportive and understanding person, she reminds me that I had being not nice to kids today. I agree with her. I feel sorry about that.


I agree that I was not nice, I do feel sorry that I was not nice, but I feel that I have to be like that to take control...

I remember AZN taught me to be "menace" in this thread

Originally Posted By: ANZ
You don't have to scream. You just have to pick a tone that's dark and menacing. It takes practice, especially if that tone isn't natural to you. Heck, I hope I don't talk with that menacing tone all day long.


I practice that to my angry students and I do not see improvement of their behaviors. Now the mom is saying that I am not treating her kids nice.

This angry student thread is the same family as this thread here. Apparently yes, I receive a lot of stressful moment from them, I cannot enjoy teaching piano lessons anymore when I teach them.

Imagine this situation:

Teacher: [In a calm voice] Sorry, that note is wrong
Student: [Whine] What note is that (they are very depended to me, overall)
Teacher: Sorry, you need to figure out yourself, yes, you know the note
Student: [In angry voice] Yes, I am right it is D!! (Then play D extremely loud on piano)
Teacher: [raising my voice] No, it is not D, look again!
Student [even more angry] Yes, is D, is D, is D DDDDD! (then play D on piano extremely loud repeated ten times)
Teacher: [Now I am angry and I need to step up to discipline them] I close the piano lid and tell them they cannot do that to piano. Yes, I am mean when I discipline them, but if I am not doing this, then they will not afraid of me and there is no way I can control the situation! There is a Chinese proverb: "They will climb up onto my head!"

Mom says I am mean and not nice according to this situation. She said yes I can be strict, but I cannot be mean. She thinks that I lost my temper when I am trying to discipline the kids. Yes, I am raising my voice, but I really do not think I am losing my temper.

Looks like mom and I have different standard....

I don't see that you did anything wrong here. Clearly the child crossed a boundary, and you let them know that is not acceptable. You should not feel bad.

Don't even waste your breath getting angry. I probably would just sit there and wait for the kid to find the note. If they started doing something actually dangerous to the piano, then of course I would stop them. And if they broke a string, THEY would pay for it. All of it.
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Polyphonist

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#2154983 - 09/21/13 11:47 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Polyphonist]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

Don't even waste your breath getting angry.


Bingo!

No reason to let an 8 year old kid control your emotions.
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#2154998 - 09/21/13 12:22 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: The Monkeys]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5593
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
In fact, I did try
First resource: being firm
Second resource: keep silence
Last resource: being menace

All useless...


This family has been too much a burden for you for too long. Find a way to part away peacefully.

For all these problematic students, my solution is to ship them off to one of the local "music schools." They'll blend right in with the crowd.
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#2155001 - 09/21/13 12:30 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Candywoman]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5593
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
3) you doubt whether they will meet the exam target, and this will reflect poorly on you at exam time.

You need to address these three issues. Exams are not a good idea for poor students, or students who take too much time off. I would have tried to avoid exams with these kids.

I don't know the specifics of this case, but in my experience many parents insist on having their kids tested, even though they have some of the laziest kids in the world. The parents are so clueless that they are raising the next generation of welfare recipients.

Our state exam is aimed at the "average" students. Some students are clearly below average and have no business being tested. Their parents are in denial. Or they are fully aware of their children's deficiencies, but they still want to get their kids tested, as if the certificate of "you passed" will give them a glimmer of hope that their kids are not so deficient.

My solution: Let them take the test. And fail. Kids and their parents need a dose of reality.
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#2155014 - 09/21/13 12:49 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
Sometimes I am glad to be a travelling teacher.

When a student begins to act up, and makes my teaching ineffective, I simply say to them, 'Could you please get your parent, and tell them that I am leaving now, because your behaviour is making it impossible to continue the lesson. I have other students who are keen to learn, and I would much rather be with them right now'

It works every time, and the lesson continues without any further problems smile
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#2155087 - 09/21/13 04:01 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: ROB
Could you please get your parent

Mom is sitting in another room, whatever happened in studio, she can heard it clearly. Whenever kids misbehave, she did not step up to discipline them, but relying on me to discipline them, but later commented that I am being mean to them. She said in her own word: You can be strict, but you cannot be mean. I do have one other kid who throw a tantrum in my studio when playing wrong notes and use his feet to bang on piano keys (very creative huh), the mom was immediately come over to scold him. This is what I expect the parents to do if they see something inappropriate happen in studio.

Originally Posted By: ANZ
I don't know the specifics of this case, but in my experience many parents insist on having their kids tested, even though they have some of the laziest kids in the world.


This family signup up November 2012 and saying they are interest in taking test track. I did not sign them up for CM test in March 2013, but only learning towards have a goal of taking test. My curriculum for them includes sight-reading, technique repertoire, ear training, and theory. I think they will be more than ready for CM Level 2 by March 2014, so, I tell the mom that they can take test March 2014. There is one thing that I misunderstand mom’s position. At first, I thought she wants her kids to take test in whatever it cost. Later, which is two days ago, she emailed me that her position is: Priority making piano lesson enjoyable, if they can take test, then it is a bonus for her. If I would have known this priority before, I would not pushing too much to meet the deadline of which materials has to cover before which date. If I would know this priority before, then I do not need to get angry and stress out when they cannot apparently respect me. Not saying that being disrespectful is okay for them to do, but at least I will not feel being rush to finish the material.

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
: And if they broke a string, THEY would pay for it. All of it.


Thank you for saying this, yes, I will include this in my policy that if students play piano in anger and broke a string, they will pay for it.



Originally Posted By: Candywoman
: I think your anger came out because there were several issues at once and it was difficult to address each of them properly at that time.

Yes Candywoman, you read it right and analyses it right. It has three reasons and it is too much and too overwhelming for me.


Originally Posted By: Candywoman
: If summer lessons are important to you, you must make them non-negotiable.


Yes, summer lessons are important to me, however, I took 3 weeks off too and not teaching for three weeks. I let parents choose their summer priority themselves, as I stated before, Summer 2013 is my best summer that I had the best attendance among my students population. Summer 2013, only 5 students took one month of, and this family of 3 took 2 months off.

Originally Posted By: CandyWoman
: Since you had not done this, you must accept your students' temporary regressions.


You are right, I must accept the reality that everyone would regress after summer time. What happen is that I was too stress out then I want to recover their regression as soon as possible, but I simply not receiving any cooperation from kids and mom is not helping to discipline and to see the importance of this very critical moment to make sure everything goes smooth.

Originally Posted By: Peekay
: As a student, after a bad session, often the question is more about how to make future lessons any better. What's done is done.


I am totally agreed with you!!! I immediately send an email to mom requesting from next week, she has to sit in studio instead of in the waiting room and help me with two things:
1. Discipline the kids when they misbehave
2. Let me know right away that if I was too strict according to her standard (I have to say that my attitude with them is the same as for other kids if other kids are doing the same thing as them, but somehow, my behavior falls into the category of “mean” when I am strict in this mom’s eyes. All I can say is that she has different standard than most the parents I know)


Originally Posted By: Peekay
: Once lessons become frustrating, not fun anymore


I am totally agreed with you!! They are frustrated because they are not good yet (especially in the area of sight-reading and technique) However, if a student follow my instruction, they should not frustrated. For example, when I said look carefully, that note (then I circle it), it is not D. If the student look one more time, use their brain to figure out, then they will know it is not D. Instead of looking, they would just keep playing D ten times and scream at me saying it is D. I am not sure why can’t they follow what I said. My studio's name is EZPiano, because my motto is to make everything easy for students. The last thing I want to do is to frustrated my students. In this case, I think they are making themselves frustrated by not following my instruction.
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Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
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#2155092 - 09/21/13 04:06 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
My solution for next week...
Have mom sit in studio instead of waiting room.
She has to...
1. Discipline kids whenever she sees the need to
2. "Discipline" me not to be mean to her kids whenever she sees the need to

If both parties can behave themselves (students and teacher) in piano lesson, I am sure the lesson can go smooth and I can finish delivering whatever the material I have in mind huh?

Any thought in this?
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#2155120 - 09/21/13 04:54 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12222
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
My solution for next week...
Have mom sit in studio instead of waiting room.
She has to...
1. Discipline kids whenever she sees the need to
2. "Discipline" me not to be mean to her kids whenever she sees the need to

If both parties can behave themselves (students and teacher) in piano lesson, I am sure the lesson can go smooth and I can finish delivering whatever the material I have in mind huh?

Any thought in this?
I like #1, if she does not want you to discipline her kids or doesn't like the way you do it, then she needs to step in and do it for you in the manner she thinks will work best.

I do not like #2 however. In no way should the parent criticize, instruct you, discipline, etc. the teacher in front of the students. This will undermine your authority as the piano teacher here.

They can discuss concerns with you out of earshot of the kids, of course. However, if the parent is disciplining the children for you, then there should really be no need for #2.
_________________________
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#2155129 - 09/21/13 05:10 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1382
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
You want a parent to discipline you, the teacher, in front of her child, if you can't moderate your teaching to the parent's liking? And you want her to discipline her child in front of you, if her child can't moderate her lesson behavior to the parent's or the teacher's liking?

This is getting bizarre, not ez.

How about this instead? Just start next week's lesson by saying, "I'm sorry about last week. I think we were all a bit stressed. What would you like to play for me today?"

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#2155138 - 09/21/13 05:30 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12222
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
You want a parent to discipline you, the teacher, in front of her child, if you can't moderate your teaching to the parent's liking? And you want her to discipline her child in front of you, if her child can't moderate her lesson behavior to the parent's or the teacher's liking?

This is getting bizarre, not ez.

How about this instead? Just start next week's lesson by saying, "I'm sorry about last week. I think we were all a bit stressed. What would you like to play for me today?"

This is probably the best. We don't know what kind of issues the child had at school, and they don't know what kind of issues you had teaching that day. We all have bad days, and the child's regression over the summer is water under the bridge - meaning we can't change what has happened. Do what you can to get the kid back on track, and if they're not ready for exams, let the child know that if they participate they will not be up to standard. Then discuss that with the parents, and let them decide.
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#2155142 - 09/21/13 05:37 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Originally Posted By: M
However, if the parent is disciplining the children for you, then there should really be no need for #2.


I agree with you.

So, I hope and hope this for next week. I will keep you posted.

Maybe I should not use the word "discipline the teacher", but in mom's eyes, I was over the top being too mean for her children, so, wouldn't it be nice if she can let me know her line too, where should I not cross?
_________________________
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#2155162 - 09/21/13 06:05 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12222
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: M
However, if the parent is disciplining the children for you, then there should really be no need for #2.


I agree with you.

So, I hope and hope this for next week. I will keep you posted.

Maybe I should not use the word "discipline the teacher", but in mom's eyes, I was over the top being too mean for her children, so, wouldn't it be nice if she can let me know her line too, where should I not cross?
The rest of what I had to say answers this: the parent should not do it in front of the child, because it undermines your authority over the child.
_________________________
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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#2155169 - 09/21/13 06:12 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
For example, when I said look carefully, that note (then I circle it), it is not D. If the student look one more time, use their brain to figure out, then they will know it is not D. Instead of looking, they would just keep playing D ten times and scream at me saying it is D. I am not sure why can’t they follow what I said.

Sometimes with kids we have to give them "tools" to help them figure things out (even for things they should already know).

For example, maybe one "tool" to identify the right note is to count up/down from C. So if the kid gets stuck with the wrong note, we can remind him, "how do we find the right note? Let's find C and count to the right note". Then let the kid find C and realize the note can't possibly be D, and praise him when he finally finds the right note.

If the kid is still stuck, then you have to help him. "Look here is C, we count, one-two-three... D, E, F... it must be an F." And he will immediately see and agree, instead of continuing to argue with you.

In your situation, the kid really thought the note was D, and he doesn't have the "tool" to figure out why he was wrong, so he ends up being frustrated.

Notice in this way, we don't just give him the right answer, but we give him a tool so he can find the right answer himself. Yes these "tools" are crutches, but some kids will need them until they eventually learn as they gain more experience.
_________________________
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#2155177 - 09/21/13 06:28 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Peekay, believe me, they have all the tools they have such as:
1. Bass clef line note Girl, Boy, Dog, Fish, Alligator
2. Treble clef line note..blah..blah...
We memorize this since our first lesson.
From time to time we quiz on flash card, then ipad game...

Problem right here is, when I say "Look", they are not looking.

Let me give you another situation:
Teacher: [In a calm voice] Sorry, that note is wrong
Student: [Whine] What note is that (they are very depended to me, overall)
Teacher: Sorry, you need to figure out yourself, yes, you know the note
Student: [Stop playing and look at the page and take one minute to figure out]
After one minute, student still no clue

Then,

Teacher: [Close the book] Okay, looks like you need help, okay I will help you.
Teacher: [Take out the magnet board and put that wrong note on the magnet board]
Student: Oh!! It is C, not D!!
Teacher: [In a clam voice] Sorry, still wrong, it is not C, not D, here let me help you. Is this a line or space note?
Student: Space note
Teacher: Treble clef or Bass clef?
Student: Treble clef
Teacher: What do you know about treble clef space note?
Student: Erm, I forget
Teacher: [take out all our tools and display in front of him] Treble Space is FACE..
Student: Oh, it is space E!!

This is how it should be...

They also learn skip, step and same too which is useful when sight-read.

Believe me, I have two types of students: students whom I am their first teacher, and students who are transfer students.

All students who started with me has no problem in reading. All students who are transfer students took at least one year to be familiar with the tools that I present to them as how I present to students who started with me.

This student right here do not even look when I say look, THAT is the problem, it is not because he do not have the tools.
_________________________
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Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
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#2155241 - 09/21/13 08:22 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
ez,

I think that there are two separate issues here, and it might help to think of them separately. Or not, I've seen it work both ways. Since my cultural heritage is Viking, I'll proceed. <PS that's supposed to be humor>

One is that you tend to be pretty reactive when people (students, parents, forum members) don't meet the expectations you've set for them, whether they are realistic or not. (I know you believe them to be realistic, but sometimes I might disagree.) That's a personal issue, and what you do about it is to vent here, and that's probably the most healthy approach. Just don't be too offended if not everyone jumps to validate your reaction.

The other and completely separate issue is student behavior management. My perception is that you're a pretty skilled music teacher but lack some important tools when it comes to managing problem behavior. Most of your kids are going to be unusually well behaved, as piano is an extracurricular activity with some choice and affluent parents involved, but you're going to run into the occasional kid whose behavior is more average. The average classroom teacher would kill to have ANY kids who behave as well as your average. But that means you haven't had to develop the skills to keep them in line without causing yourself or them stress. This is an area you could easily improve. You don't have to change your personality, just pick up a few tips on teacher effectiveness and pay attention. Now, you can just dump any student you consider to be a problem, but often that isn't necessary, and the ones outside the norm can be very rewarding.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2155258 - 09/21/13 09:38 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: TimR]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12222
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: TimR
ez,

I think that there are two separate issues here, and it might help to think of them separately. Or not, I've seen it work both ways. Since my cultural heritage is Viking, I'll proceed. <PS that's supposed to be humor>

One is that you tend to be pretty reactive when people (students, parents, forum members) don't meet the expectations you've set for them, whether they are realistic or not. (I know you believe them to be realistic, but sometimes I might disagree.) That's a personal issue, and what you do about it is to vent here, and that's probably the most healthy approach. Just don't be too offended if not everyone jumps to validate your reaction.

The other and completely separate issue is student behavior management. My perception is that you're a pretty skilled music teacher but lack some important tools when it comes to managing problem behavior. Most of your kids are going to be unusually well behaved, as piano is an extracurricular activity with some choice and affluent parents involved, but you're going to run into the occasional kid whose behavior is more average. The average classroom teacher would kill to have ANY kids who behave as well as your average. But that means you haven't had to develop the skills to keep them in line without causing yourself or them stress. This is an area you could easily improve. You don't have to change your personality, just pick up a few tips on teacher effectiveness and pay attention. Now, you can just dump any student you consider to be a problem, but often that isn't necessary, and the ones outside the norm can be very rewarding.
A well-thought out post. I especially agree with the behavior management part. Perhaps do some searches online for how teachers handle difficult students or certain behaviors? My studio and teaching is far from perfect, but I learned quite a bit from teaching Kindermusik and K-5 general music for a year that was very valuable to me.
_________________________
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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#2155261 - 09/21/13 09:48 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: TimR
ez,

I think that there are two separate issues here, and it might help to think of them separately. Or not, I've seen it work both ways. Since my cultural heritage is Viking, I'll proceed. <PS that's supposed to be humor>

One is that you tend to be pretty reactive when people (students, parents, forum members) don't meet the expectations you've set for them, whether they are realistic or not. (I know you believe them to be realistic, but sometimes I might disagree.) That's a personal issue, and what you do about it is to vent here, and that's probably the most healthy approach. Just don't be too offended if not everyone jumps to validate your reaction.

The other and completely separate issue is student behavior management. My perception is that you're a pretty skilled music teacher but lack some important tools when it comes to managing problem behavior. Most of your kids are going to be unusually well behaved, as piano is an extracurricular activity with some choice and affluent parents involved, but you're going to run into the occasional kid whose behavior is more average. The average classroom teacher would kill to have ANY kids who behave as well as your average. But that means you haven't had to develop the skills to keep them in line without causing yourself or them stress. This is an area you could easily improve. You don't have to change your personality, just pick up a few tips on teacher effectiveness and pay attention. Now, you can just dump any student you consider to be a problem, but often that isn't necessary, and the ones outside the norm can be very rewarding.
A well-thought out post. I especially agree with the behavior management part. Perhaps do some searches online for how teachers handle difficult students or certain behaviors? My studio and teaching is far from perfect, but I learned quite a bit from teaching Kindermusik and K-5 general music for a year that was very valuable to me.

I agree with both of you. I would add that in the end it maybe what we do with people who are "outside our comfort level" that probably says the most about how well we teach.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2155276 - 09/21/13 10:35 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
piano2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/11
Posts: 83
When I am teaching a student, I do not want parents interfering with discipline during the lesson.
You need to be in charge and teach the student how they should behave. If Mom or Dad keep having to interject, the student will never respect you.

I notice a lot of teachers talk about a student's bad behaviour when the parent was sitting in the next room. Well, what about you, the teacher? You were in the same room and allowing a student to misbehave.

Sometimes a lesson needs to be ended early if the child is able to learn anymore during that lesson.
More often, a change of activity is all that is needed.

Teaching piano is not just about the music. Our students are people too. So are their parents. And their parents are paying you to teach piano and be in control of the lesson.

If a lesson didn't go well due to poor behaviour, tell the parent about it. Even if they were sitting in the next room.

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#2155287 - 09/21/13 11:27 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
piano2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/11
Posts: 83
Please excuse my typo in the last entry - it should say the lesson might have to end early if the child ISN'T able to learn anymore.

Whoops!

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#2155288 - 09/21/13 11:33 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: TimR]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5593
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: TimR
Since my cultural heritage is Viking, I'll proceed. <PS that's supposed to be humor>

How is that funny? Are you making a comment about the Viking culture??
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2155316 - 09/22/13 12:47 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Vancouver BC
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org

Student: Oh!! It is C, n
ot D!!
Teacher: [In a clam voice] Sorry, still wrong, it is not C, not D, here let me help you. Is this a line or space note?
Student: Space note
Teacher: Treble clef or Bass clef?
Student: Treble clef
Teacher: What do you know about treble clef space note?
Student: Erm, I forget
Teacher: [take out all our tools and display in front of him] Treble Space is FACE..
Student: Oh, it is space E!!

This is how it should be...



How old is the student? How long has he been playing?

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#2155339 - 09/22/13 02:54 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Monkey, you mean this student here that actually look at his note on the page or the one that gives me headache?
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#2155347 - 09/22/13 03:12 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Vancouver BC
I thought you were comparing students with similar ages.

For students that can read English (or any language), this elementary note recondition phrase should pass fairly quickly, no? I understand students can be slow at reading, or make occasional mistakes, but not able to read at all?

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#2155548 - 09/22/13 01:52 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: piano2]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12222
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: piano2
When I am teaching a student, I do not want parents interfering with discipline during the lesson.
You need to be in charge and teach the student how they should behave. If Mom or Dad keep having to interject, the student will never respect you.

I notice a lot of teachers talk about a student's bad behaviour when the parent was sitting in the next room. Well, what about you, the teacher? You were in the same room and allowing a student to misbehave.

Sometimes a lesson needs to be ended early if the child is able to learn anymore during that lesson.
More often, a change of activity is all that is needed.

Teaching piano is not just about the music. Our students are people too. So are their parents. And their parents are paying you to teach piano and be in control of the lesson.

If a lesson didn't go well due to poor behaviour, tell the parent about it. Even if they were sitting in the next room.
I like the whole post, but the bolded part in particular. I think mainly this is a student management issue that the teacher needs to learn how to correct, starting with themselves. What things can I do as a teacher when the lesson isn't going the way I'd like it to? I think also perhaps things got this way over a period of time, and not the student suddenly showed up with an attitude. I could be wrong - especially if the student is of the middle school age, where they can be two different people sometimes laugh.
_________________________
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#2155604 - 09/22/13 03:42 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Quote:
I notice a lot of teachers talk about a student's bad behaviour when the parent was sitting in the next room. Well, what about you, the teacher? You were in the same room and allowing a student to misbehave.


Yes. Imagine this:
Student X did Y and I did Z to discipline him.
Then later he did Y again, then I did Zx2 to discipline him.
Then later he did Y again, then I did Zx3 to discipline him.
Then later he did Y again, then I did Zx4 to discipline him.
Then mom said my Zx4 are too mean to her child.

I am in the same room, no, I did not allow him to misbehave because I discipline him when he misbehave. But later he did continue his behavior anyway as if he all my Z, Zx2, Zx3 has any effective at all.

The problem is that I am kind of agree with this mom that Zx4 is too mean for a child, but somehow it leads to Zx4 from the basic Z. That is why my title of the thread is that I am a bad teacher!!
_________________________
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#2155607 - 09/22/13 03:51 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Most students return to well-behaving when I did Z. Sometimes I did variation of Z such as being silence, like Bard said, stop for 1 minute and say nothing. Sometimes I pick up my stress ball (I have one with on piano) and squeeze it and when I return after one minute, it was like a magic, the kid behave right away. Basically, not only these kids from this family is misbehave in my studio, many others too, it is just only these kids from this family did not stop even until now.
_________________________
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Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
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#2155671 - 09/22/13 05:53 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
piano2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/11
Posts: 83
I'm sure all of us teachers have students that misbehave at one time or another. Here are some strategies that I use:

*Young kids love games. They also like to win games - especially against the teacher. If you want the student to find the next note, ask who will play it first - the student or the teacher. The teacher has to go over to her/his piano, take some time, and if the student has gotten it correct, maybe teacher can even get it wrong (sometimes).
Start with notes the student definitely knows, and the first person to play the 5 correct notes is the winner. I also shake hans at the end of my games and say "Good Game" like at a soccer or hockey game. This helps them to understand that they will sometimes win these games and sometimes lose, but being a good sport is important. A kid's temperament should be taken into consideration here.

*Young kids love humour. If they say something is too hard, use a bit of humour to help them along. "Too difficult for you? The person who is a C Major scale specialist???"

*If kids say something is too hard, sometimes they just need a jump start. Maybe they need to hear you play it once first, so they can remember what you are asking for. Sometimes you need to just tell them the answer - ask them if they'll remember that one note name or if they should write it in their music.

*Give choices - do you want to start with the G Major Scale or some Sight Reading today?

*Switch Gears - get off the piano bench and "walk" to the rhythm
-do 5 jumping jacks, stretch, sing a song

Those are just some things that I do with wiggly students, and students who are somewhat reluctant at times.

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#2157655 - 09/25/13 08:23 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
I had one of the best lesson today with kids!!!

Kids are...
--polite,
--not playing piano when I am talking,
--no more banging on piano,
--ask for permission when they want to do something that is not what I request(such as starting from the beginning when I said let's start from second measure)
--being up front they really do not understand the theory concepts
--responds to my instruction when I said it ONE time!! (no need to say 2 times or 3 times or "n" times)

Can you believe that??

However, I still cannot finish the materials I prepared for today, but I am not sad about this, I am actually okay with this because mom already told me her priority: Let them enjoy music and if possible, taking test is a bonus!!
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2157705 - 09/25/13 10:30 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
peekay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/13
Posts: 184
That's awesome ezpiano!!
_________________________
Working on RCM Grade 8

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#2157715 - 09/25/13 10:42 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: peekay]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2754
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
That's great!
I had a 'grocery list' moment with one of my autism kids today. *eye roll*
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2157774 - 09/26/13 02:05 AM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: ezpiano.org]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
you mean the same kid?!?!?! If so then WOOOOWWW!
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2158014 - 09/26/13 12:45 PM Re: I am a bad teacher today! [Re: Nikolas]
The Monkeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Vancouver BC
So no more Zx4, bravo!

Moral of the story, a conflict once for a while is not always a bad thing, it expose issues and solve issues, at least sometimes.

Cheers

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