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#925998 - 07/26/05 12:31 PM Gritting my teeth!
prbell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 17
Loc: Washougal, Washington
I am a new teacher (within the last year). For the most part it has been an enjoyable experience. I have a young girl (age 8) that is giving me gray hair. I'm not a firm believer in ADD but this girl cannot focus. The mother is a single mother and tends to be a little self indulgent. I use stickers as one of my incentives...if the the girl gets two stickers for accomplishing a certain task, the students gets further rewards at home. She cannot remember basic notes and we have reviewed simple finger positions in treble/base cleffs repeatedly. Do I keep on month after month? She is at the primer level in the Faber series. She is enthusiastic about being there and we have a good relationship...I just feel guilty taking $$ for her being there! Ideas?
Phil

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#925999 - 07/26/05 01:50 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Phil -

I feel for you. I'm not teaching yet, but a very good friend of mine is still teaching in her mid-80's. She has a couple of students like yours, and we've discussed them at length. She feels guilty about teaching these kids because she feels like she's taking the parent's money, yet the students love coming to her house.

My feeling is that the parents really don't care because you are acting more like the kid's babysitter and or nothing more than another activity. I'm sure your student is also taking dance, playing soccer, and attending some other kind of activity.

Good luck,

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#926000 - 07/26/05 04:09 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Jamie D. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 102
Loc: Louisville, Ky
Ugh. I feel for you.

If it is not working, cut her loose man. You do not need the hassle, headache or the dread when you know it is going to be torture when she walks through door next lesson. Your time is more valuable than that. Do you think that perhaps she is just there for her mothers satisfaction? The hardest part is telling the parent.

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#926001 - 07/26/05 10:24 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 845
You need to ask yourself, "What does this girl need to learn?" and then proceed to teach her these things. For instance, she needs to learn how to focus. She needs to learn how to read notes. By the way, this can take many years for some students. I had a student who was still puzzling through notes after 6 years. Each person is different. It's not a reflection on you. Do not give up. Parents of single mothers need extra attention and God has chosen you to help. That's how you should see yourself, as a big help to this girl.

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#926002 - 07/27/05 01:41 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Jamie D. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 102
Loc: Louisville, Ky
Candyman you are obviously a very nice and caring person, but I have to disagree. My guess is that Phil wouldn't have even posted this unless he has already put a lot of thought into it.
I am only offering up what I said through my own past experiences and frustrations. In each case where I had felt the way he does it had been when the student clearly showed signs of not wanting to be there, not practicing, not listening to direction (because they didn't want to be there)and simply not putting any effort into it whatsoever. Furthermore, the parent wouldn't cooperate with my suggestions and when (if ever) I actually did see them, they were ultra-defensive.
On the other hand I have had single-parent students who have been exceptionally slow learners and had enthusiasiam through the roof, listened well and participated whole-heartedly. Even though their pace was set a little slower than the rest, I personally got the most satisfaction out of teaching those students and looked forward to their time each week above the rest of the lot. True joys.
What if this child simply would like to do another extra-curricular activity or learn a different instrument? Piano could simply just not be the ansewer for her. Some of the students I did have "the do-you-want-to-be-here" talk were SO relieved when I was the one who broke it to their parents. Really.
(interestingly- in the just for the fun of it forum, there is a personality test that seems to focus a lot on how our parents judging of us has a lasting effect on who we become- yeah, it is obvious- they raised us, but it is worth it to have a look anyway.)
I am not trying to say this little girl is a bad seed or her mother is a heathen, just that maybe she is afraid of telling her mother she doesn't like piano and will just go along with the flow as long as her mother takes her to lessons.

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#926003 - 07/27/05 01:46 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Ancient Upright Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 384
I have agree with Candyman. :rolleyes:

If her mom wants her to have piano lessons, teach her piano. Just because she doesn't learn as fast as other kids doesn't mean that the day won't come when it just clicks in her mind, and she starts to make progress.
_________________________
Remember, I'm pullin for you, we're all in this together
-From a TV Show

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#926004 - 07/27/05 03:36 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Jamie D. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 102
Loc: Louisville, Ky
Sotwo2 people who don't want to be there is acceptable? Taking someones money and getting nowhere is acceptable? Oh, sorry nowhere now-at present. Some day something might happen.
Meanwhile may as well turn away possible students who might not be a waste of time because your schedule is too full trying to help everyone who wants to(or whose parents want them to)learn.
I am not saying after the first lesson you are a little dissapointed with them get rid of the student, but realistically there comes a time when weeks and months have gone by and you are still where you were a very long time ago.

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#926005 - 07/27/05 03:37 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Jamie D. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 102
Loc: Louisville, Ky
So two people who don't want to be there is acceptable? Taking someones money and getting nowhere is acceptable? Oh, sorry nowhere now-at present. Some day something might happen.
Meanwhile may as well turn away possible students who might not be a waste of time because your schedule is too full trying to help everyone who wants to(or whose parents want them to)learn.
I am not saying after the first lesson you are a little dissapointed with them get rid of the student, but realistically there comes a time when weeks and months have gone by and you are still where you were a very long time ago.

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#926006 - 07/27/05 03:38 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Jamie D. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 102
Loc: Louisville, Ky
My lovely wireless internet connection is about to get K.O.'d by yours truly.
Sorry about double-posting.

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#926007 - 07/27/05 03:48 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Ancient Upright Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 384
 Quote:
Originally posted by prbell:
She is enthusiastic about being there and we have a good relationship...I just feel guilty taking $$ for her being there![/b]
See, Jamie? She likes the lessons, she just isn't making progress.

In the end, Phil is the only one who can make the decision.

_________________________
Remember, I'm pullin for you, we're all in this together
-From a TV Show

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#926008 - 07/27/05 04:04 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Jamie D. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 102
Loc: Louisville, Ky
Ok ok ok!!!

I see your point. I tend to grill a point into the ground, though.

However, a child trying to impress an adult and act like they are interested in what is going on in the lesson is one thing. A child who cares, actually spends time on the tasks you set forth as a teacher and comes to the next lesson trying, but not getting anywhere is another. As a teacher you know who is and who isn't into it. As a teacher you have to be able to see that in yourself and change accordingly, address the situation and your approach.
But when it is reoccurring week after week...
There is nothing wrong with having a chat with the student and finding out what is up with the situation. Teachers underestimate children's level of thinking as far as opinions and feelings are concerned. Relationships are very important. Trust is very important. Who is to say that you may not be a positive influence on the student in the long run anyway? Talk to the student Phil, see what her wishes are. It doesn't have to be a negative thing.
See? Now I've gotten long-winded. I really try to keep it short and sweet, people!

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#926009 - 07/28/05 11:56 AM Re: Gritting my teeth!
prbell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 17
Loc: Washougal, Washington
Thanks to John, Jamie, Candyman and Upright for your responses...some great input. This week was much better. She was so proud of the fact that she had practiced (albeit not for long periods). I think it's going to be one of those cases that progress is going to be sssslllllllllooooooooowwwwwwww. We'll keep at it. Thanks again for the input.
Phil

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#926010 - 07/28/05 04:57 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Ancient Upright Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 384
Glad to hear that, Phil!

And Jamie, I don't think children are very good liers. But, time will tell whether she really wants to learn piano. ;\)
_________________________
Remember, I'm pullin for you, we're all in this together
-From a TV Show

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#926011 - 07/28/05 11:09 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 845
Also, everybody has at least one difficult student.

Further to Jamie's comments: you might think there is someone better out there who could replace the original poster's student, and whom he could REALLY help. But that better student can find any good teacher, or bad teacher for that matter. The worse student will be shafted from one teacher to another until he quits, if your opinions were universally held. But he would also feel undervalued because kids take everything personally.

As for taking people's money, I charge a fair chunk. People know if their kid isn't succeeding. The recitals will help them see this. But they want to keep trying so they know they did their bit as parents. I never turn away a paying customer.

The student of the original poster was but a babe of 8 and Jamie would drop her??I've heard of teachers dropping 5-yr-olds after a two-month trial period. That's ridiculous. A great teacher can make lemonade from lemons.

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#926012 - 07/28/05 11:11 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 845
Also, everybody has at least one difficult student.

Further to Jamie's comments: you might think there is someone better out there who could replace the original poster's student, and whom he could REALLY help. But that better student can find any good teacher, or bad teacher for that matter. The worse student will be shafted from one teacher to another until he quits, if your opinions were universally held. But he would also feel undervalued because kids take everything personally.

As for taking people's money, I charge a fair chunk. People know if their kid isn't succeeding. The recitals will help them see this. But they want to keep trying so they know they did their bit as parents. I never turn away a paying customer.

The student of the original poster was but a babe of 8 and Jamie would drop her??I've heard of teachers dropping 5-yr-olds after a two-month trial period. That's ridiculous. A great teacher can make lemonade from lemons.

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#926013 - 07/28/05 11:14 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 845
The five year old in this case was rejected because she couldn't properly adapt to the Russian piano teacher's demands, not because she wasn't ready for lessons. (I personally don't believe many 5 year olds are ready for lessons, mind you.)

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#926014 - 07/28/05 11:15 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 845
The five year old in this case was rejected because she couldn't properly adapt to the Russian piano teacher's demands, not because she wasn't ready for lessons. (I personally don't believe many 5 year olds are ready for lessons, mind you.)

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#926015 - 07/28/05 11:42 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
Schindler Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 18
Loc: Mexico
I know my little sister wouldn't be ready for lessons. If you're going to spend all that money, I say, have the kid really get something out of it.
_________________________
Life is a Highway

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#926016 - 07/29/05 01:01 AM Re: Gritting my teeth!
bach enthusiast Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 847
Loc: Tucson Arizona
_________________________
JOHN

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#926017 - 07/29/05 01:07 AM Re: Gritting my teeth!
bach enthusiast Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 847
Loc: Tucson Arizona
_________________________
JOHN

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#926018 - 07/29/05 11:08 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by Candyman:
The five year old in this case was rejected because she couldn't properly adapt to the Russian piano teacher's demands, not because she wasn't ready for lessons. (I personally don't believe many 5 year olds are ready for lessons, mind you.) [/b]
Five year olds are tough to teach. I've discussed this also with my former teacher. She won't start any kid before 8. Seeing my very active nephew on occasions, I think little kids like that have an attention span of about 20 milliseconds or less. He has shown an interest in music and piano, so I'll wait a bit and see where he goes with it. If he still show interest in a few years, I'll suggest lessons for him.

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#926019 - 08/05/05 08:54 PM Re: Gritting my teeth!
ljohnson Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/04/05
Posts: 17
Loc: USA
There are several points I would like to make. First, if any teacher is agonizing over a student, I think that alone is reason to stop lessons. It can't be good for the teacher or the child to be in this situation.

I am very surprised that no one has offered to talk about teaching children with disabilities. I find this appalling. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a number of people are afflicted with ADD, ADHD, and various other conditions. If you have considered the subject and decided that you don't want to or simply don't know how to teach these people, then so be it. If you make the choice to take on challenged learners, there are many ways to teach these individuals effectively--and believe me, you will earn every penny of your money! I have learned to teach all kinds of children. I limit the number of students I keep that have difficulties, but I do have ways of dealing with them. I insist that a diagnosis be made by a professional and that I am informed as to all conditions. I will not teach unmedicated children who have little self control without it. Get primer level big note books. Try The Music Road. Use a striiped down set of flash cards. See that she has activities at home that support each tiny skill. The secret to success with some very active, but slow children is to provide intense attention to the task that has been broken down into very basic levels. Don't expect too much and you will enjoy the progress the child makes. Relax! I have an autistic student (high-functioning) who I started teaching using things I learned from teaching young children. She is doing quite well. These children simply don't make fast progress. Teach them simple 5-finger scales to begin with. Use lots of clapping games . Use a lot of imitation--they will get the hang of it this way. Lots of primer note spellers--or write your own easy worksheets. I am not saying that teachers should teach everyone, but a little education on the teachers part will prepare them for handling situations that arise with slow learners.

As for the other issues, I leave every one else to sort them out.
_________________________
Lea
clearfuture@erols.com

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