Thoughts on babysitting your students

Posted by: Beth_Frances

Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 01:49 AM

I've just recieved a request to babysit one of my students and her sister this Friday night, for a fairly generous sum of money. I can't think why I shouldn't, but I was just wondering if anyone else has had a request like this and whether you would or wouldn't take the family up on it?
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 01:53 AM

I would be against doing that. Not because I'm a male, but because I would be mixing up my position as a teacher.

Still at the current economic situation here in Greece, I would accept it, but only because of the money and nothing else.

If you don't need the money, stay away from mixing up who you are for your student and her sister (a potential student as well).
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 05:43 AM

I think it takes away your position as a professional and would advise against it.

Would they ask their Dr to babysit?
Posted by: wouter79

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 06:11 AM

Yes kids may not see any difference between the you doing the baby sitting job and you doing the teaching job. But I suppose that's fine as long as they pay you appropriately and you keep the jobs separate (no teaching while baby sitting and vice versa, unless they pay you to do both at the same time).

There are many people that have multiple jobs, potentially for the same client, right?
Posted by: Nannerl Mozart

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 06:38 AM

Is there a wrong in mixing up your role as a teacher and as a babysitter? If we were to talk ethics on an institutional level and setting, it is not ethically wrong to baby sit your piano students. I tend to think in terms of relationship between the child and the teacher, it is not really a great difference. Sure, the service is difference but the relationship is ultimately the same. It is ethically wrong however for the child's DR to be the babysitter of the patient. The difference between a doctor and a patient is the doctor must be objective and spending excessive time around the patient could alter their judgement and their decisions may not be in the best interests of the patient. Having said that, in rural areas were there aren't that many citizens, a lot of the time those ideas get blurred (e.g. the Doctor's child goes to the school of one of his patients children and the kids are good friends). Of course, as teachers we must be objective, but I tend to think spending more time with your piano student will not alter your objectivity or judgement when you teach the student.

Having said that, I suppose there are pros and cons about everything. As teachers have already suggested, you blur the line and that could lead to a few things - parents asking you to babysit their kids regularly, word spreading through the community that you also babysit as one of your other services, people not taking you seriously because of the sad way we see the world - seeing babysitting as the job that any idiot can do. The child might want you in the other setting, that they want you to come again. These ways of thinking might not ever happen though.

I personally would do it, but given my age (20) and current status (undergraduate student majoring in music, novice chef at another place) I appear to be young, broke and not fully qualified or experienced - so therefore I haven't built much of a reputation and I could get away with it.

I thought I'd let you know, I've befriended some former teachers. Invited them to my concerts, called them, have them as friends on facebook. I email them occasionally if I have a query on teaching or managing concerts. I guess the reason that was allowed to happen was that these are former teachers. Sometimes people blur or over step lines, and sometimes the consequences are good.
Posted by: malkin

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 08:34 AM

Medical professionals have a formal code of ethics forbidding (among other things) dual relationships. Music teachers? You tell me.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 08:43 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I would be against doing that. Not because I'm a male, but because I would be mixing up my position as a teacher.


That is how I feel.
Posted by: Ann in Kentucky

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 08:43 AM

Beth,

I used to know a real estate agent who babysat for a living. She lacked common sense about how to prepare a property for sale, and therefore relied on babysitting income. Babysitting would signal that you're not having success in your profession.

OTOH, when you're young and enthusiastic people accept a change of hats easily. People know you're just getting started in teaching and are willing to do odd jobs while you get yourself established.

I recall reading in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien that Tolkien would mow lawns on his way home from teaching at university. Money was tight and he was willing to do what work was available.
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 09:02 AM

I wouldn't do it. People already compare babysitting to piano teaching. It lowers your professional image.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 09:06 AM

Are you friends with the parents? If you had a relationship prior to teaching their child or have become close with the family, you can certainly babysit but ask that the parents not let word get around that you do that.

Personally, I would not do this. The reason being is not that there's anything unethical about it, but that the position of babysitter is one where you are under the parent's authority in relation to the children. The parents tell you how they want you to care for their child. As a teacher, you are the professional in the relationship, and you are in authority over the child's musical education and therefore more a role of consultant. You can suggest things to the parents on how they can work with their child in regards to their musical progress. As a babysitter, you can imagine how any suggestions to the parents on how to raise their child would come across! This I think is the crux of the issue: it flip-flops the roles of your relationship with the parent from consultant to employee, and undermines your authority as a teacher.
Posted by: Ann in Kentucky

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 10:12 AM

Beth,

One thing that makes the offer special is that the parents are willing to pay "a fairly generous amount of money".

You could say that "I don't babysit, but I'm willing to hold a piano camp for your kids during the time you requested and for the same fee that you offered." Just re-frame it as a camp. Plan music activities, and feel free to add in a pizza party and movie as part of the camp.

If camp is too much trouble but you need the money, and would enjoy watching the kids, then I say to go ahead and babysit.

If you feel accepting babysitting would detract from your professional image, you can justify accepting the work by using the money to enhance your studio library.

I personally wouldn't babysit, though, because kids get on my nerves. laugh

Posted by: Ann in Kentucky

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 12:03 PM

Another thought:

Someone who writes prescriptions to help folks manage their sexually transmitted diseases gets respect. The psychiatrist who ineffectively treats an emotionally disturbed kid gets respect.

The mother who prevented her kid from becoming emotionally disturbed gets negligible respect. Those dedicated to a child's development get little respect.

Society says a job is important if you get paid well. But just because society says so doesn't make it true.

There is a lie afoot: Money matters and people (especially kids) don't.

So the more I think of it, if you enjoy babysitting, then go for it. It's an important job IMO.
Posted by: Ann in Kentucky

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 01:10 PM

OK. One final thought and then I'll get on to preparing re-baked potatoes.

Before we look down on spending time with kids, let's consider this quote by Plato: "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

So you spend some time playing Monopoly and getting to know the kids better. Could be an interesting adventure.
Posted by: NMKeys

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 03:49 PM

My first piano teacher babysat me and we both lived through it. Who knows, seeing a different side of you may help.
Posted by: Stanny

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 04:26 PM

I don't see a problem with it. They are paying you more than an average sitter, and perhaps you can include some piano games/playing during the caregiving time.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 10:50 PM

Are you open to the possibility of babysitting regularly for them, at that price? If so, then go ahead and say yes. If you'd prefer not to, then say no. Once parents find a good babysitter, they cling onto them like barnacles. grin And once you've set the precedent that you're willing to babysit for them, it would be difficult for you to turn down future requests.

I like Ann's "piano camp" idea a lot, actually. It allows you to do them the favor, and you to earn the money, without suffering a dual relationship problem.
Posted by: Beth_Frances

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/13/12 11:25 PM

I really like that Plato quote Ann! So true. This is a student who I don't have as good a rapport with as I'd like. She's very quiet and I tend to get along with boisterous children better, since I am quite placid myself. I'm thinking it might be a good opportunity to get to know her better.

I have said I'll do it. I'm feeling a little bit hesitant about it and honestly my intuition is telling me I've done the wrong thing, but hopefully it's proven wrong.

If it turns out well I wouldn't mind babysitting for them on a semi regular basis (twice a year? :P ). I used to do nannying full time before I became a piano teacher and I enjoyed it. I can see where the conflict of roles may come into play - certainly with some children/families. This is a gentle and respectful family though so I think it should be okay.
Posted by: Ann in Kentucky

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/14/12 08:11 AM

Originally Posted By: Monica K.


I like Ann's "piano camp" idea a lot, actually. It allows you to do them the favor, and you to earn the money, without suffering a dual relationship problem.


smile
Posted by: Ann in Kentucky

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/14/12 08:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Beth_Frances
I really like that Plato quote Ann!


Glad you liked it. smile
Posted by: malkin

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/14/12 08:28 AM

"Piano Camp" will sound pretty good on a resume too!
Posted by: Ann in Kentucky

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/14/12 08:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Beth_Frances

I have said I'll do it. I'm feeling a little bit hesitant about it and honestly my intuition is telling me I've done the wrong thing, but hopefully it's proven wrong.



Feelings have arisen for a reason. Was there anything offensive about the way the parent asked you to babysit? Is it bringing up an old issue you had as a nanny? Do you see babysitting as an embarrassment?

I think it's helpful to write out your feelings in a journal. A good way to get to the bottom of it, and move toward resolving it.

http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20...van-pelt-1-.jpg
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/14/12 10:41 PM

MOM!!!! Never ask the piano teacher to babysit me again!!!! She made me practice the whole time!!!!

Kidding, couldn't resist.....seriously, I would decline.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Thoughts on babysitting your students - 11/14/12 10:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Barb860
MOM!!!! Never ask the piano teacher to babysit me again!!!! She made me practice the whole time!!!!

Kidding, couldn't resist.....seriously, I would decline.


Haha thumb

3-hour practice session, coming right up!