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Just a moan


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#1 Aquarelle

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 09:57

I have often said on this forum that I am fortunate to have such nice pupils and parents. However for three years I have been gently steering clear of any conflict with one mother whose children I took on before being warned that she was a trouble maker. So far it  I have managed to keep things on an even keel though I have  been careful not to give her any opportunity to over rule me.Yesterday she blew me up in front of her young daughter, shouted and generally disgraced herself.  Each time I tried to express my point of view over the difference of opinion we were having she yelled "That's enough!" Actually I think she suffers from a bi-polar personality. It is apparently my fault that her son hasn't learnt his Grade 2 scales well enough, I should have punished him and shouted at him until he did the work. Of course she didn't mention the fact that at Easter she arranged for him to be a weekly boarder in a school where there are no practice facilities and that I only found this out by accident. His failure to progress dates from that time. The boy is a nervous wreck at the moment. He was apparently boarded because he "doesn't work." 

 

She was also offered a free lesson during the Easter holidays for her two children as I always offer one free lesson to those taking exams. She accepted and accepted the timing. On the day the boy didn't turn up and I wasted an hour waiting for the next pupil. Two days later I got a  phone message from the boy (thirteen) apologizing and saying he had forgotten to come. When he arrived at his next lesson he was  very stressed and started to apologize again.In my view it was the mother's  responsibility to see that her son got to his lesson and to apologize if she had forgotten to bring him. You can't really expect a thirteen year old boy to remember the day and time of a piano lesson in the second week of his Easter holiday without a little  parental help. Well, that's my view anyway.I made the mistake of taking this point up with the mother and she gave me a mouthful putting the blame entirely on the boy.

 

This week she quibbled about the exam timing though I went to great lengths to see that she had a time which would not conflict with her religious obligations on  Sunday morning. My traditionalist Catholics all say that if they have to accept a morning time they will attend early mass. However knowing her,  I put her children at a time which would leave her the choice of either early mass or sung mass. She  said they always went to sung mass and would do so and added "We'll arrive when we arrive." so I warned her that if they missed their time the examiner might refuse to see the children. He does have a very tight schedule. I had already checked that there would be time to arrive and  take the exam after sung mass. However she turned to the children and said "What time does the mass finish" - which if she goes every week she really ought to know! Neither child answered her. She also said I had promised her an afternoon slot, which I had not. For various complicated reasons to do with sibling groups and a candidate arriving from another town 70 kilometres away I can't offer her a change of time.

 

Anyway, since she told me several times "That's enough" I have decided that it certainly is. I will say nothing until after the exams and the end of year concert. then I will give her a refund for the remaining two lessons of the year, which I always use as preparation for September. There won't be any point in doing these two lessons.  I will tell her that I have decided not to take her children back next year. There are some other difficulties and a couple of incidents last year which I managed to smooth over but I want this to stop before it goes any further. I am sorry for the children but my life is complicated enough without having to manage this mother.

 

Well, please excuse the moan but I wanted to get it off my chest!


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#2 Minstrel

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:10

Sending you a virtual hand-hold.
Itt sounds like you're making the best decision. I can understand that you want to do your best for the children , however this parent as gone way beyond anything acceptable.
I would say something like 'Due to changes in personal circumstances I am having to make changes to my teaching schedule and can no longer accomodate LittleDears . I'm refunding you the last two weeks to give you the opportunity to find a new teacher in time for the next school year.

Then get yourself some kitty/doggy cuddles and a good piece of cake/something stronger.

Wishing you lovely replacement students !
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#3 porilo

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:12

She certainly doesn't sound like a very pleasant person but how do you offer pupils time slots? I thought it was the exam board who decide on the time slots not the teacher? I contacted them a few days ago to ask whether I could move one of mine an hour later than scheduled and they said no. sad.png


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#4 Latin pianist

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:19

I think if it's a Special Visit you can choose the time slots. I use one most years and the organisers ask me what suits my candidates. You used to be able to rearrange your students' order at a Public Centre just by giving the steward a list. Not sure why they've stopped that. I suppose sometimes swapping exams of different lengths might impact on the examiner's break.
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#5 porilo

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:23

Oh I see. I've never had to use a special visit and the original post did not say that it was a special visit. 


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#6 Latin pianist

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:26

Well, I don't know if it is but seeing as abrsm don't have centres in France, I assumed it was.
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#7 porilo

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:28

Well, I don't know if it is but seeing as abrsm don't have centres in France, I assumed it was.

 

Where did France come from? There's no mention of France either. 


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#8 BadStrad

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:37

Well, I don't know if it is but seeing as abrsm don't have centres in France, I assumed it was.

 
Where did France come from? There's no mention of France either.
Aquarelle lives in France.
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#9 Latin pianist

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:38

Oh, sorry. Aquarelle is such a regular poster on here that I sort of assume that most forumites know she lives in France.
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#10 porilo

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:39

Ah, I see. I didn't know that. 


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#11 elemimele

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 10:41

Aquarelle, I feel so, so sorry for her children, but there is no reason why you should tolerate that behaviour (many would argue that the more people tolerate it, the more she'll be able to get away with it). You are quite right to distance yourself and stop teaching her family. Hopefully her kids will eventually make the break, become adults, and will probably spend the rest of their lives recovering and avoiding her - sad, but that's what some parents cause. You can't fix a problem that huge. I'm almost glad the kid got sent off as a weekly boarder, because although I personally feel that kids should grow up with their parents, it might give the poor boy a bit of peace and escape from nagging and pressure. She sounds like a walking disaster.

 

From what I've seen of traditionalist Catholics in the UK, I get the impression that where there is most pressure to attend mass regularly, the churches usually provide plenty of alternative times for mass, including a "Sunday" mass that is actually the previous Saturday afternoon (we have, here, a large Philippine community who are mostly in nursing and health-care, so they often have to work Sundays, but who are also often devout Catholics). The Catholics I know tend to be quite sensible about blending religious and secular life in a harmonious way. In effect, it's probably the mother's rigidity, rather than her religion, that is at the bottom of the problem.


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#12 violinlove

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 11:09

"From what I've seen of traditionalist Catholics in the UK, I get the impression that where there is most pressure to attend mass regularly, the churches usually provide plenty of alternative times for mass, including a "Sunday" mass that is actually the previous Saturday afternoon (we have, here, a large Philippine community who are mostly in nursing and health-care, so they often have to work Sundays, but who are also often devout Catholics). The Catholics I know tend to be quite sensible about blending religious and secular life in a harmonious way. In effect, it's probably the mother's rigidity, rather than her religion, that is at the bottom of the problem."

 

^This!

The family have the option to go to the early Mass. They do not need to go to the sung Mass to fulfill their Sunday obligation. The early Mass is also valid! They may *want* to go to the sung Mass but sometimes you have to be a little flexible. They could also look for a vigil Mass somewhere - don't know how widespread that is in France - but there are certainly more options than making a fuss and demanding the teacher moves the exam time when that simply isn't possible.

I'm a Catholic by the way so I know a bit about our Sunday obligations :-)


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#13 BadStrad

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 11:14

My word, what a horrible situation. Poor kids and poor you.

Best wishes for finding replacement pupils with more reasonable parents.
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#14 HelenVJ

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 11:49

It rather sounds as though the mother was just spoiling for an argument, and it wouldn't matter much what you said or did. The scales, the exam timing - just poor excuses. Hopefully it'll be quite satisfying and empowering to refund the remaining 2 lessons. On the rare occasions when I've done that it's felt pretty good!

Hope your exams all go well.


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#15 Aquarelle

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 11:52

Thanks all for the comforting words. I am indeed very sorry for the children and I won't go into here what I know about an older sister. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that we can get through the exams and the concert without any nastiness. I shall lie as low as possible.

 

Yes, there are several other mass times available here for the traditionalists and I have had one family actually offer to be very flexible if necessary and drive to another town to fulfill their obligations. In general I am very flexible with this group as far as their religion is concerned - pilgrimages,  retreats, different school holidays etc. I can usually manage to sort that. Occasionally they miss a lesson I can't catch up but they keep me well informed of dates so on the whole it works smoothly.

 

Yes, the situation for organising exams here is a bit different from that in England. It's a sort of halfway house between a centre and a special visit. The timetables have to be drawn up bearing in mind the examiner's travel schedule both in France and  sometimes also other European countries. We have to take account of plane and train times etc and also the big distances some candidates have to travel to get to an exam. so it's usally the person hosting the exams (in this case me) and the local representative (here for the whole of New Aquitaine and sometimes further) who generally work out the timings.


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