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#20236 - 08/12/05 06:04 AM Re: Kinda bummed
songbird Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 03/06/01
Posts: 425
Loc: USA
actually, on a side note, wolf packs are highly intelligent social groups. Go on netflix and if you're a member, there's a great DVD about Wolves and their social structure. Sometimes makes me think we might all get along better if we imitated them!

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#20237 - 08/12/05 06:13 AM Re: Kinda bummed
Amily Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 547
Oh. Well. Something then, because people don't act civilized anymore. It reminds me of Bill Maher's "I'm Swiss", if anyone has seen that. It's embarrassing how backwards our society is in nearly every area.

What happened to us? Most people have bad judgment, are selfish, don't know how to interact with others in different sitations, shift blame for everything they do or don't do. Generally very childish (and usually worse, as many children have better judgment than adults I know, but I don't know what to call that).

Very embarrassing.

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#20238 - 08/12/05 06:33 AM Re: Kinda bummed
Marcia Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 11/18/00
Posts: 354
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
GeeTee, I'm very familiar right now with those self doubts. I'm losing 7 students, even though most of them took lessons through the summer. Thankfully I've been gradually replacing them through referrals from my satisfied parents. Several thoughts:
1. Have you taught any students who also figure skate competetively? Most of them are never going to be Olympic stars, but they excel at passing tests on increasing levels of expertise and they treat piano lessons the same way. One of the new students I took on this summer is 16, has passed the highest level of skating tests, and is now teaching figure skating to younger students. She's mastered one thing and now will focus all her attention on excelling in music. There's nothing wrong with your reaction to your talented student suddenly dropping; there's much amiss with parents that think their children "know enough." Their commitment to studying music is the problem, not you.
2. I interview 3 types of families: first are those who "just want to try lessons" - very uncommitted; second, those who want a good music education, but are not totally committed to never quitting, no matter what; and third, those who make it clear their kids will study until they graduate from high school. I rarely even accept students who are in the first group, unless I have an opening mid-year. Those from the 2nd group are most upsetting when they quit. They may have come a long way, but when the going gets rough or the fees go up, or the schedule gets tough, their level of committment is not sufficient to keep them going in the long haul. I must confess I lose respect for students and their families in this group who end up quitting, but I also know it's not my fault. I can't get inside their head and change the way they think.
3. Keep offering the wonderful program I know you do (Do you remember having a meal together at the NCKP in Oak Brook, Ill. 2 years ago? I do. You are a great teacher!) and the right kind of students will gravitate to you. Just be faithful to what you know is good teaching.
4. Each time a student quits I try to see it as an opportunity to replace them with a more internally motivated, committed student, which makes my job easier.

Hope you'll be encouraged in your work these next few weeks. Take real joy in all the students you teach who are making their lives more beautiful through music!

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#20239 - 08/12/05 06:41 AM Re: Kinda bummed
Marcia Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 11/18/00
Posts: 354
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
[QUOTE]Originally posted by songbird:
[QB] . . . (That's when you get to explain your nifty little policy of 30 days notice ~ no more of this 1 month crud. I, too, have had parents in the summer try to say since they're not able to come to lessons for a whole month, and therefore not paying for those lessons, that that still counts as 1 month's notice, even though they are not paying or coming! what a load of crock!) . . . :p

You can fix this by the wording in your policy. Mine says One month paid tuition notice. This has never failed to work for me.

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#20240 - 08/12/05 06:58 AM Re: Kinda bummed
GeeTee Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest
Marcia, thank you so much for your reply. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I really like how you put in writing the 3 types of families you interview. This painted such a accurate picture of those we encounter in our jobs. I will keep this picture clearly in mind from now on, if only to prepare myself for future disappointments.

While I so appreciated your generous praise of me and my teaching, you are unfortunately mixing me up with someone else...

 Quote:
Originally posted by Marcia:
3. Keep offering the wonderful program I know you do (Do you remember having a meal together at the NCKP in Oak Brook, Ill. 2 years ago? I do. You are a great teacher!) and the right kind of students will gravitate to you. Just be faithful to what you know is good teaching.
I've never been able to attend the NCKP, and have never been in Oak Brook. \:\( Wish I had.

Anyway, I do pride myself on being a quality educator and try to give my students 150% of myself to helping them love and enjoy music in a way that can only enhance their lives. I will chock this disappointing situation up to experience, brush the dust off my shoes, and look forward to fall lessons and those students who are choosing to return and continue making music at the piano.

Thanks again. \:\)

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#20241 - 08/12/05 07:04 AM Re: Kinda bummed
songbird Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 03/06/01
Posts: 425
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Marcia:


You can fix this by the wording in your policy. Mine says One month paid tuition notice. This has never failed to work for me.
30 days is more specific than one month,and thus doesn't leave you wide open to a parent's weenie interpretation. At least I've had trouble with the one month wording before because people will try to get away with anything they can (human nature, I'm the same way ;\) )

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#20242 - 08/12/05 07:30 AM Re: Kinda bummed
Marcia Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 11/18/00
Posts: 354
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Oops, sorry GeeTee. I know I've had some things you've sent me online, assignment sheets and whatnot - wasn't that you?

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#20243 - 08/12/05 11:49 AM Re: Kinda bummed
GeeTee Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest
Marcia, possibly, but I still have never been to Oak Brook IL or the NCKP.

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#20244 - 08/12/05 12:39 PM Re: Kinda bummed
Marcia Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 11/18/00
Posts: 354
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
I believe you. So now you need to go to the NCKP! I didn't go this year because it was in the middle of our family vacation, but hope to in 2 more years. In 2003 I took a group of 4 friends there in my van (from Minneapolis, Minnesota) and did meet up with a few teachers I had met online. I realized when I posted the "oops" that I must have had you confused with the one of the teachers we met with in IL. Anyway, I've got an assignment sheet saved on my computer as "GeeTee's assignment sheet" and it shows you put a lot of thought into your teaching. I've noticed it from your posts here, too.

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#20245 - 08/12/05 01:04 PM Re: Kinda bummed
GeeTee Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 391
Loc: Midwest
Thanks, Marcia. Yeah, I'm a little over the top when it comes to dedication sometimes. You should see my new Practice Plan Outline I worked on this summer for intermediate students to use as a "goals" guide for practicing... \:D \:\)

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