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Lousy Teacher (Read 1612 times)

Offline ameliatan

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Lousy Teacher
« on: November 09, 2016, 06:37:55 AM »
Hi fellow teachers. I have been teaching for about 7 years now. It is a challenging yet fulfilling job. I have a few students who also enjoy lessons, practice well, and pass exams with very good marks. I also have quite many (unfortunately) who donít or do little practice, BUT seem to enjoy my lessons, are attentive and listens to my instructions well. Their progress is very slow but parents donít seem to blame me for it. An example are 2 beginner students, both same age, who started with me. One student reached grade 5 in 3 years with quite a high standard of playing. The other has only reached grade 2 and has been with me for 6 years! He plays like a tortoise, steady but VERY slow. I always have to push him to play faster every a few weeks.  :-\ I feel like a lousy teacher with the 2nd student. However, the parents are still happy, and just continue sending him for lessons. The strange thing is the parents tell me I am a good teacher.  Have you had any parents like this? Will they quit anyway, after they realize they are just wasting their money or should I just continue teaching them but I also depend on these students financially! 

Offline debussychopin

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Re: Lousy Teacher
«Reply #1 on: November 09, 2016, 08:20:38 AM »
You sound young bc of your simplified perspective.  If the parents deem you a good teacher and value your instruction to their child although not progressing in piano, perhaps they see something else of value they believe their child is receiving from you. Maybe mentorship, maybe life structure and principle to a child,  a whole slew of things.
L'Isle Joyeuse

Offline dogperson

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Re: Lousy Teacher
«Reply #2 on: November 09, 2016, 10:07:14 AM »
There are two questions here:
First, the student who is not progressing absolutely will quit------ eventually.  He will probably, as he grows older, find something of real interest to him, or realize that he is not progressing and decide to stay home and watch video games.   Who knows when that will happen.

Secondly, whether you want to continue to teach this student is much a personal decision:  is the student pleased to be taking lessons?  are you pleased to continue teaching him?  Is he happy with the lack of progression.   As per DebussyChopin's post, there are intangibles you may be providing this student that please both the student and the parents.  The parents may not have any expectation of 'progress' but rather seeing their child enjoy an activity.

If your student is concerned about the lack of progress, consider if there is any change that could be made to how he is taught.... or how/whether he practices.

If I could make a suggestion?  You do what you can to give him a love of music during the lessons-- play a few minutes for him of beautiful music.  Give him a little personal information about the composer you are playing.  Whether he progresses in his skills or not, he will develop a life-long love of music... and that is worth a lot. 

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Lousy Teacher
«Reply #3 on: November 09, 2016, 10:57:15 AM »
ms.amelia, if your contact with the 'slow' student is limited, you can't see what the parents see as far as the difference piano makes in their child's life.  on a utilitarian level, you're a contractor, you are not defrauding anyone, and the customer is satisfied with your service.  if you're not excluding other work in order to continue with this student, what is the compromise or sacrifice involved on your part to continue  ?

thinking of finding a teacher, myself.  in general, have to take everything at a slow tempo to get it right, and it takes months to learn relatively simple pieces, practicing daily an hour to two hours.  already have doubts a decent teacher will want me as a student.  thank you for this glimpse into a teacher's perceptions and standards.

Offline vaniii

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Re: Lousy Teacher
«Reply #4 on: November 09, 2016, 03:27:07 PM »
ms.amelia, if your contact with the 'slow' student is limited, you can't see what the parents see as far as the difference piano makes in their child's life.  on a utilitarian level, you're a contractor, you are not defrauding anyone, and the customer is satisfied with your service.  if you're not excluding other work in order to continue with this student, what is the compromise or sacrifice involved on your part to continue  ?

thinking of finding a teacher, myself.  in general, have to take everything at a slow tempo to get it right, and it takes months to learn relatively simple pieces, practicing daily an hour to two hours.  already have doubts a decent teacher will want me as a student.  thank you for this glimpse into a teacher's perceptions and standards.

That fact that you practise diligently would mean I would want you as a student.

The first hurdle for teachers is convincing a student to practise on their own time, not just in sessions.  For this reason alone many fail to even begin to reach their potential.

Honestly put, slow progress does not instantly mean bad student, it might mean they are simply taking their time and savoring the moment.

Some one already stated in a recent post, they would rather a student who practises over a student who wants to progress and has an ego.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Lousy Teacher
«Reply #5 on: November 09, 2016, 03:52:19 PM »
Will they quit anyway, after they realize they are just wasting their money or should I just continue teaching them but I also depend on these students financially! 

As a parent who paid for his children's piano lessons, I will say it depends on their goals.

If their goal is virtuoso performance, they are wasting their money.

If their goal is enrichment, and maybe laying an early foundation for later exploration should the child choose, then you are likely doing exactly what they paid for.  Take their money and enjoy the journey. 

I knew my children would never become accomplished performers but I also knew if they didn't get that early exposure, and later in life developed a desire they would be handicapped, so I sent them to lessons.  Neither plays piano as an adult but both have some musical interests that resulted. 
Tim

Offline quantum

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Re: Lousy Teacher
«Reply #6 on: November 10, 2016, 03:24:08 PM »
Agree with timothy42b. 

It helps to define the objective and goals of your student.  If they are aiming for university study in music, it may seem like they are slowly progressing.  However, that is not the only path for private lessons.  What may appear slow to you could be making an enormous difference in their lives.  One may consider would happen if this student did not have music lessons in their lives.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline vaniii

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Re: Lousy Teacher
«Reply #7 on: November 14, 2016, 01:12:17 PM »
Everyone can, not everyone will.

My students started to make the most progress when I accepted this fact.

It is possible for a newcomer (absolute beginner) to learn to play the piano well in only a few months providning this is their goal.

If it is not, we cannot impose this on them.  Some consider lessons to be no different to a casual pottery class; you cannot expect them to sit and rehears scales and exercises.  Others want to play like a professional, but don't put in the effort. There is a difference.

Bad teaching however takes many forms:

A teacher who lacks skill in the subject they are trying to teach.
A teacher who lacks the basics of teaching training.
A teacher who is both of the above.

Not to mention the many other demoralising personality traits that can inhibit learning:i.e megalomania, bullying, egotism, vanity.

Simply put, a good teacher puts learning above all else and caters it to the individual they teach; knowing when to push and when to relent is also worthy of consideration.

The fact you are here asking means you care enough to try; you are not lousy.