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#958846 - 03/08/05 12:46 PM What to say when a teacher complains...
kimdoan2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 41
Hello all,

My child's piano teacher is an extremely competent and dedicated person. As a matter of fact, she's one of the most passionate teachers of any kind that I know. I'm very grateful for all her efforts.

Being a dedicated teacher also means that she gives lessons longer than an hour, especially when time comes for competition and such. Last year, I tried to pay her for the extra time. She turned me down. This year, I send my child over for 2 one-hour lessons a week, thinking this will reduce any free time she might offer.

She complains about the free time she gives to students a couple of times in presence of myself and another parent. I know she gives quite a few free lessons to the other kid because his parents are going through some tough time. But today, she left a message on my voice mail saying that she should stop all the free time after this year competition, which is few weeks from now. She said it's not fair to her, and that her rate is ready lower than the standard going rate and such and such.

I was so upset with that message. I called her back right away. Unfortunately (or fortunately), she wasn't there so I didn't leave a message.

Frankly, she's been unfair to imply that I take advantage of her. I always show up at the lesson on time, pay what she asked for. I even offered to pay any extra time she spends with my kid on several occasions. She declined all the time. It's what I meant to tell her when I called.

I know piano teachers don't make whole lot and the hours are demanding. But I don't ask for anything more than what I pay, that is two one-hour lessons per week. I pay what I was asked.

Should I say something to her? Or should I just keep quiet and if, in the future, when my kid's lessons ends and she's over 5 minutes, I just remind her that she should finish up the lessons?

Thanks for let me venting out here! \:\)


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#958847 - 03/08/05 03:25 PM Re: What to say when a teacher complains...
Mathilde Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 309
Loc: Decatur, Illinois, USA
I think you should just not say anything to her.

If she isn't *always* whining about "overage", then it must not be a big issue with her, overall. She may have left that voicemail message in a moment of peevishness, or self-pity, or feeling put-upon, or simple poverty (maybe she found out the piano teacher down the street is getting away with charging 33% more than she does, or maybe somebody close to her busted her for giving away freebies).

Anyway, going out of your way to bring it up again might only embarrass her, which would ultimately make it all worse.

It actually sounds to me like she's feeling (a) poor, and (b) put-upon. When somebody's feeling like that, there's not a lot anyone else can do to pull them out of their snit.

I'd just not say anything.

And I also wouldn't get too involved in "bean-counting" as regards the number of minutes, seconds, and nano-seconds she spends teaching your kid. Let it slide. Overall, you've got a good relationship with a good teacher, and getting all prissy about however many extra nano-seconds have or have not been paid for will just ruin everything, and tick her off eventually, because you may come across as snippy, and then your kid is caught in the middle of a parent-teacher war.


Send her some flowers, why doncha. The kind that come in a reuseable "I My Teacher" coffee mug. She may be regretting the voicemail, and this will tell her that everything's copacetic.

#958848 - 03/08/05 06:37 PM Re: What to say when a teacher complains...
beandoc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 52
Loc: Victoria, BC
Let's see.....

- you like the teacher and thinks she's worth what you pay
- you have in the past and presumably still are willing to pay for overtime, extra time, whatever
- the teacher is now stating she doesn't want to teach overtime for free

I suggest that you let previous discussions reside in the past where they belong. Next time you speak to the teacher acknowledge you got her message: tell her you think she's a great teacher; tell her you agree that her time is worth being paid for and that you will be happy to pay anytime she spends more than the agreed-upon time with your child.

If you stay the high road and don't get into quibbling over the little stuff, while being generous when appropriate, you'll keep a great teacher happy and prepared to continue working with your child!


John, Eh?
John, Eh

"Remember, wherever you go, there you are" -- Buckaroo Bonzai

#958849 - 03/09/05 12:06 AM Re: What to say when a teacher complains...
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3630
Loc: Virginia, USA
It is very possible that she did not intend that message for you.

Maybe she is putting her foot down with the other student, and she is including you just to appear fair and soften the blow a bit. You did mention that she'd made these comments in the presence of both of you.

I would take it in that spirit and not miss a chance to keep my mouth closed. (NMACTKMMC)

There is one bad habit some parents and students have that you should avoid. The timer beeps, the lesson ends, the next student is waiting, and you ask a question that doesn't have a simple answer. It's easy to do this but you should try to resist.
gotta go practice

#958850 - 03/09/05 06:01 PM Re: What to say when a teacher complains...
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
I think she doesn't handle this very professionally, I think she probably think she should get paid more, not just once when the class is over time, but perminately, however, she didn't have the courage to just say that the rate needs to go up because of her great effort.

Do you really feel that she deserve to be paid at a higher rate? When you child is working 2 hours a week, is it really productive? or it's just simply he is there longer, but not better.

I would feel I need to pay moreif it's necessary for my child to be there for 2 hours within one week and he/she is making noticable progress, not simply becuase he is there longer.

#958851 - 03/09/05 11:51 PM Re: What to say when a teacher complains...
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3630
Loc: Virginia, USA
I have a half hour lesson.

My daughter has a half hour lesson.

By the end of mine, my concentration is gone. I wouldn't get much good out of an hour. Also, it's all I can do to prepare material for a half hour, with only a week to get it ready.

Of course that's just me, and I know other people do benefit from longer lessons. I don't really understand it though.
gotta go practice

#958852 - 03/12/05 11:35 AM Re: What to say when a teacher complains...
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Exactly...quality vs. quantity, which is better?


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