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How to word it ?


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#31 ma non troppo

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 22:03

Edge, don't worry about it. I'm very grateful for the moral support in a very difficult situation that I can't really be openly more specific about.

I do think that this forum does enable teachers to help teachers - although sometimes it is depressing reading (hence my thread about positive experiences which I am enjoying reading .)

Don't be sad!
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#32 jenny

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 09:27

Sad that ma non troppo's interesting question has developed in such an unfortunate way as the posts have progressed.

I thought this forum was set up for 'teachers helping teachers'

 

I was thinking the same thing. It was obvious that ma non troppo had reasons for not being specific. Let's be kind and helpful to each other. 


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#33 elemimele

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 12:54

It's certainly best not to give reasons, except possibly a bland "I have no vacancies at this time". The trouble with reasons is that they invite discussion - whatever reason you give, you run the risk that the person you don't want to teach will alter their terms to try to conform to your objection, and you'll have to find another 'but'. I once got a job that I really didn't feel able to do, and I thought was destined to catastrophe. At the time, my boss advised me to quote an astronomical price so that the client would go elsewhere. I did, they accepted the price, and I had to move heaven and earth to try to do an impossible job, with the added pressure that for that price, the client was expecting complete devotion, professionalism, and the odd miracle thrown in (and I don't blame them either, considering what they were paying). It was a catastrophe.

If you mean No, stick to No, with as little icing and decoration as possible.

(but I wish I could take my own advice)


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#34 ma non troppo

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 15:55

Thanks to all for the great suggestions.

I don't actually have any vacancies and I do have a waiting list that is quite long. I've told them that I am not taking on any pupils at the moment and kept the message as brief as I possibly could. So far, no response, which I am pleased about - hopefully that will be the end of the matter.

As a wider issue, I don't think anyone should have to teach someone on a one to one that they don't feel comfortable around. I also don't think they should be obliged to give reasons.
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#35 BadStrad

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 16:14

I don't think anyone should have to teach someone on a one to one that they don't feel comfortable around. I also don't think they should be obliged to give reasons.

Totally agree.
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#36 RPassacaglia

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 13:44

Thanks to all for the great suggestions.
I don't actually have any vacancies and I do have a waiting list that is quite long. I've told them that I am not taking on any pupils at the moment and kept the message as brief as I possibly could. So far, no response, which I am pleased about - hopefully that will be the end of the matter.
As a wider issue, I don't think anyone should have to teach someone on a one to one that they don't feel comfortable around. I also don't think they should be obliged to give reasons.

I agree. As a private teacher who can often end up alone in a room with a complete stranger, your personal safety is of utmost priority. I have been in situations where I have felt unsafe whilst alone with with a client, and as a very small female with no immediate means of escape or self defence if I find myself alone with a person I don’t feel comfortable with, I would rather not put myself in that situation again to begin with. Giving reasons would only trigger certain people. Sometimes for your own safety it is best not to open a dialogue.
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#37 ma non troppo

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 14:38

I completely agree. But by saying this you are apparently leaving yourself open to being labelled as being "vile by every assessment"!

;)
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#38 RPassacaglia

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 15:03

I completely agree. But by saying this you are apparently leaving yourself open to being labelled as being "vile by every assessment"!
;)

Unfortunately true, but rather that than the far worse alternative. Let’s put it this way - I would rather be labelled “unprofessional” than end up stalked/attacked/worse because I didn’t trust my instincts. I think that maybe some people have trouble understanding the extra precautions that a lone female has to take. However, in my experience most people do understand, and the ones who have objected the most strongly to me trying to protect my personal safety have turned out to be the ones I needed to be most cautious about.
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#39 zwhe

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 15:23

I once refused to take someone on after he had asked me "to help him with his profound loneliness". He demanded that I explain why I wouldn't teach him. I decided to take him at face value, and suggested a councellor may be better placed to help him with that, but I did find him very creepy - it sounded like he was under the impression I was offering services quite unconnected to piano playing! He was quite aggressive about it - I wish I had just said no without giving a reason.


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#40 RPassacaglia

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 15:53

I once refused to take someone on after he had asked me "to help him with his profound loneliness". He demanded that I explain why I wouldn't teach him. I decided to take him at face value, and suggested a councellor may be better placed to help him with that, but I did find him very creepy - it sounded like he was under the impression I was offering services quite unconnected to piano playing! He was quite aggressive about it - I wish I had just said no without giving a reason.


It’s a strange thing. I’ve also had the occasional creepy enquiry from someone who seems to be assuming I’m offering a service completely unconnected with piano playing! I have a friend who also teaches piano and has also had the same problem. It led to my friend and I speculating as to whether “piano lessons” might be a euphemism for something! ????
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#41 violinlove

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 16:11

I've had this before with men wanting to book piano lessons. I'm in a small village in Austria and everyone for miles around knows who I am and all about me etc.

These men were not wanting piano lessons as I understand piano lessons....

Anyway, I've got wise to this now and can filter them out pretty quickly. I don't automatically assume every man is up to no good as they clearly aren't - but if a man phones asking for lessons I do spend a lot more time asking background questions to find out if they really do want to learn the piano.

Also, I prefer to teach married men in their own homes in the evenings when their wives are hanging around and I've not had a problem with this. After a couple of bad experiences I am not comfortable with teaching men in my own flat where I am alone and they know I am.

The married ones who are up to no good back out pretty soon when I explain I would be teaching them at their home.


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#42 RPassacaglia

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 16:19

I've had this before with men wanting to book piano lessons. I'm in a small village in Austria and everyone for miles around knows who I am and all about me etc.
These men were not wanting piano lessons as I understand piano lessons....
Anyway, I've got wise to this now and can filter them out pretty quickly. I don't automatically assume every man is up to no good as they clearly aren't - but if a man phones asking for lessons I do spend a lot more time asking background questions to find out if they really do want to learn the piano.
Also, I prefer to teach married men in their own homes in the evenings when their wives are hanging around and I've not had a problem with this. After a couple of bad experiences I am not comfortable with teaching men in my own flat where I am alone and they know I am.
The married ones who are up to no good back out pretty soon when I explain I would be teaching them at their home.


Sounds like you’ve got it well figured out. I’ve always worried about turning up to an adult male student’s home to find that there is no one else in. I always get them to come to me when my husband is in. The ones who have dodgy intentions are quite flustered to find my husband home and never come back!

I must stress to anyone reading this and taking offence, I also don’t automatically assume every adult male enquirer is up to no good, but after a few bad experiences I’ve learned to put my safety first.
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#43 Dorcas

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 17:41

As I work alone, and am not married, I have had to deal with students without others present or in the building.  The Suzy Lamplugh Trust used to be a good source of advice about lone working.  I understand the comments by posters above, but would also remark that I am also wary of females, particularly when they are guarding their young!

 

:ninja: 


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#44 elemimele

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 21:01

... i didn't really want to add anything, as I also agree that a private tutor should be able to refuse a pupil without stating grounds. I think it's necessary for practical reasons: A: you cannot in any case ascertain whether the tutor is telling the truth; and B: even if he's refusing to teach you for the most silly of reasons, a teaching relationship is never going to be successful if the teacher really strongly wants to be somewhere else.

 

But my agreement is restricted to these practical grounds. I don't agree on moral grounds at all. It's obviously fundamentally wrong to refuse a student because they're black, or because you don't like their religion. On the other hand, the right to feel safe is very fundamental too. But there's a huge grey area between the two: is it OK to refuse a student because they're a big-built bloke with a strong regional accent? And how do we explain to small boys that they're going to be treated as dangerous when they grow up? It's a difficult balancing act to get right, and I honestly don't know the answer.


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#45 ma non troppo

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 21:46

I think that's just common sense in most cases.

Trust me, I have very strong reasons for not wanting to teach the student in my OP, and they are not "dodgy reasons" in the slightest. I couldn't care less about race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, size, regional accent (!?)

What I do care about is not being harassed (very frequent attempts at contact), spoken to inappropriately, having my personal space invaded, having to sit through obvious recounting of fantasies etc etc.

Small boys, if taught basic manners and awareness have nothing to fear from a reasonable person. And if that person is not reasonable, then I don't think they should be wanting lessons from them anyway.
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