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Piano teachers - please help!

(17 Posts)
11112222 Fri 27-Jan-17 17:45:55

I want to stop teaching two children because their mother is quite frankly, rude and agressive. I do not need people like her breathing down my neck.

The children are lovely kids though, so it is a shame. I teach them at school so they will see the others having lessons and are bound to ask me why they don't anymore.

What shall I say? And how shall I phrase the e mail to the mother? I ask for 3 lessons notice for the pupils to stop, do I need to give notice to stop teaching them?

In all my years teaching, I've never felt the need to stop teaching a child before.

Fleurdelise Fri 27-Jan-17 18:08:00

I'm not a piano teacher, hopefully somebody who is will come with some advice, but didn't want to read and run.

Would it not be possible to not deal with the mother directly anymore if you teach in a school? Or call her on her behaviour and tell her if it doesn't stop you will not teach the kids anymore? I think you probably need to talk to the school head of music or head teacher to ensure there is no breach of contract or anything on that line.

If you do give up teaching them I would suspect you will need to give them notice and "come clean" about the reason as I can't see how you can phrase it if you continue teaching there.

Personally I would first try to address it and give the mother an ultimatum before anything.

Out of curiosity (as my DD is having piano lessonssmile) what is the mother doing? Just to ensure I am not doing it without knowing. grin

No problem if you don't want to share. smile

7SunshineSeven7 Fri 27-Jan-17 18:09:55

I think its good you've decided you're going to do something about the situation. Perhaps you could say something like:

Due to a change in circumstances I will be unable to continue teaching [children's names] after [certain date - 3 lessons notice maybe?], I'm very sorry for the situation but will be happy to give you a report of your children's progress/level so far and possible next steps needed in their learning. (Just a little thing about what grade they're playing at and maybe what scales they need to learn next etc.)

[Maybe add some recommendations of other teachers you can pawn them off to?]. Don't say what the circumstances are, just explain they're serious and personal - let her think of that what she does.

Mistigri Fri 27-Jan-17 18:26:07

If you teach in a school, and the lessons are organised via the school, would it be possible for the school to deal with this parent and keep her away from you?

The notice period will depend on the terms of your contract. Do you contract directly with the parents or does the school organise it?

onlymusic Fri 27-Jan-17 18:50:58

I would say make sure you do not have open confrontation with the mother (I am a parent). We, parents, discuss our teachers a lot and can create a negative reputation. Music world is a small world and I know quite a few local teachers who have certain reputation, this is coming from clients I guess.

11112222 Fri 27-Jan-17 18:59:31

Thanks all.
In this school I deal direct with the parents, the school don't have any input in to the lessons other than they let me use the room and piano.

The other teachers at the school think I should just stop teaching the kids, as the mother has upset most of them too!

Fleur - don't worry! Unless you insult the teacher, call them incompetant, and ask what they actually teach your dc, you should be ok!

Broccolirevolution Fri 27-Jan-17 19:06:15

Is there no head of department or senior person who could step in on your behalf? I work in a school with a similar set up but on occasion when pupils haven't paid or not attended lessons the head teacher has stepped in. Even though you are paid privately the school does have some responsibility for you, and their pupils.

I have dropped pupils because of parents too - not down to rudeness ye. I've had parents insist their kids sit grade exams they are nowhere near ready for, but they don't insist the kids do their homework. Then sadly I stop teaching them.

I think it's inevitable that parental behaviour influences your desire to teach.

11112222 Fri 27-Jan-17 19:10:07

Broccoli - thanks for this. How did you go about dropping them?

onlymusic Fri 27-Jan-17 19:31:07

11112222 you don't have some terms and conditions form, do you? Smth you could refer to? If parent is as you describe it is horrible, and you should not put up with such insult....

onlymusic Fri 27-Jan-17 19:36:16

Can you say you want to reduce hours? Or need to be somewhere else on a regular basis? Unless it reflects on your income of course...

AppleAndBlackberry Fri 27-Jan-17 19:48:21

I think I'd wait until the next time she's rude to you (unless it's been recent) and then let her know you're terminating the contract on the grounds of her unreasonable/threatening/unpleasant behaviour. If you make up an excuse then you'll come into difficulties if you want to then fill those two slots. Plus she needs to know that she can't treat you like that.

Fleurdelise Fri 27-Jan-17 19:53:31

Gosh I'd never say stuff like that, if I wouldn't be happy with my DD's music lessons I would look for another teacher, ultimately it is fine to not always agree as long as you stay polite.

I'd probably quote incompatibility between teacher/pupil in a very polite manner as a reason of terminating lessons.

Good luck!

neweymcnewname Fri 27-Jan-17 19:57:20

Another angle would be to say to her that the things she has said suggest she isn't happy with the lessons you provide, so you are willing to let her out of the notice commitment as she would clearly be happier finding her kids a different teacher, and you have other kids who would like to learn.
If she protests that she doesn't want to stop the lessons, tell her that you are not going to deal with further insults and rudeness, and if it happens again, you will end the arrangement.

I had a similar talk with a work colleague, and he turned out to think I was doing a great job and to want desperately for me to continue, he just had terrible social skills and needed telling - so you never know, the mother may just need someone to set her some limits.

Broccolirevolution Fri 27-Jan-17 20:26:31

Hi, When I told the parents I wouldn't be continuing I offered names and numbers of alternative teachers (but I called them first and explained the situation) and then told the parents I would be finishing after the next holiday e.g. spring break. When they asked why I explained that I didn't feel their children were ready for their exams and I wasn't willing to put them forward regardless so they should try another teacher.
There is always the possibility they will do much better with another teacher.

If this parent was rude and called your work into question I might email with something like 'after our conversation on -date- I am aware you are unhappy with your children's progress with me. Lessons will stop on -date- and I can offer you the details of an alternative teacher if you would like.

Then I wouldn't get into an argument I would just politely repeat. Like one of the other posters warned, parents do talk. Teachers don't have to take abuse though!

11112222 Fri 27-Jan-17 22:42:43

Yes, latest incident was this week. I was thinking along the lines of
"after our recent conversations it is clear you are not happy with my teaching of child x and child y. I will therefore not be continuing to teach them after the half term. I wish them both the very best for the future."

Then when the kids ask me at school, I'll just say that me and their mum didn't agree on how things were going.

What do you think?

onlymusic Fri 27-Jan-17 22:50:18

Broccolirevolution, Teachers don't have to take abuse though! - absolutely not! And good teachers are well known too obviously, and highly regarded and oversubscribed. I mean, there are very few teachers who are not good, it is just a matter of finding the best fit for a particular child, but humans are humans, there are some occasional weird parents and teachers out there....

Broccolirevolution Sat 28-Jan-17 17:58:32

11112222 sounds perfect. Obviously not the friendliest email she'll ever recieve but it's perfectly clear.

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