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What hours do you teach?


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#1 Suzy

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 08:54

Hi everyone, I am interested in what hours other teachers work as I am having a dilemma with mine! I live in Scotland so teaching piano in schools is out of the question, hence the majority of my pupils are after school. I currently teach 3.30pm - 6.30pm Mon-Fri and also have some adults on a Tues and Wed morning.

My husband works off-shore and I have 2 lovely sons, one of which is away from home at the moment doing his RAF basic training. We have no family in the area so it is just my younger son and I for most of the time these days.

My problem is that all of a sudden most of my adult pupils are no longer able to come for lessons in mornings due to work and study commitments. My after school hours are full and I have quite a long waiting list so I will probably have to start teaching in the evenings. However, that is the only time I see my son and I often have to drive him to football training etc. Weekends we try and keep as family time for when my husband is home.

So, do I sacrifice my time with my son (who will be fleeing the nest in the next year or so like his big brother) or do I sacrifice some pupils. I’m really struggling with this as I feel that no matter what I do, I’m going to be letting someone down ????
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#2 Misterioso

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 09:20

Your family is important, and you shouldn't feel a need to be sacrificing time with them, although obviously this could depend on your financial situation. Just a few thoughts that occurred to me:-

 

Make sure your adult students actually do have commitments that mean they can't come in the mornings. Sometimes if you tell a student that you don't have any other slots, they are suddenly magically able to manage their original time after all. (I don't mean to cast aspersions about your adult students! - But it is one possibility that may be worth exploring.)

 

You could tell your adult students that if they can't manage their original time, you will have to put them on your waiting list for when a suitable slot become available; but if you prefer to keep after-school slots for kids, be honest about your policy.

 

If you have some time (for instance, if your son has a regular commitment outwith your home) you might schedule a couple of students there, and you could suggest they come alternate weeks to maximise your time. Some adults are glad to come fortnightly, especially if they are busy with work and study, as it allows more practice time. Alternatively, you could perhaps accommodate some on Saturday mornings fortnightly, so you still have every other weekend as family time.

 

Edit: Just realised I haven't answered you headline question! I teach pretty much the same hours as you, although I have recently had to schedule one pupil on Saturday afternoons due to family circumstances.


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#3 jenny

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 10:13

Your time with your son is precious and I know how much you must be struggling with this. I would say that if you can afford to wait until he is no longer at home, then you might be quite glad to teach in the evenings. For me family always comes first and last year, when my grandson started school, I changed my teaching schedule so that I could pick him up and look after him on the 3 days that my daughter-in-law was at work. This meant that I had to start teaching on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which is something I've never done before. Luckily, my pupils agreed to this - in fact some families prefer a weekend lesson to an after school weekday slot. I have some adult pupils who can come during the day, and so their slots haven't had to change. 


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#4 Piano Meg

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 10:24

I don't think you need to worry about letting pupils down. If their situation has changed, I'm sure they will realise that you may not be available at an ideal new time. I've also had similar experiences to Misterioso - that if I explain other slots are not available, a student ends up finding that they are able to continue in their present slot after all! You don't get unless you ask, so of course pupils are free to ask for a preferred time, but equally, you can end up regretting it if you say yes, so you should always feel able to say no to pupils if it's not a time you want to teach. It may be they could come another morning if that suits both of you.

 

If you don't have a financial need to teach in the evenings, I'd say give yourself time with your family, especially since your husband is away during the week. When your second son leaves home, you can always re-evaluate. I'm in a situation where I have to turn down a lot of potential pupils due to other family commitments (and health) so I can understand your situation in terms of feeling bad for pupils on a long waiting list, but I think as long as you're communicative and they know where they are, you don't need to worry about letting anyone down. In my case, that means letting them know it's likely to be a long wait. In your case, that may mean letting them know that you have a long waiting list for afternoons and you don't teach on weekends and evenings. And then stick to it (if that's what you want to do) - I've sometimes had pupils ask 5/6 times if I will move them to a Saturday - eventually they get the message that I'm not going to say yes!


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#5 ma non troppo

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 12:57

I teach 2pm to 9pm Monday to Friday. I used to teach Saturday mornings too but only do it now in extraordinary circumstances.
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#6 zwhe

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 14:12

I think its important to remember that you are running a business. If they cannot fit around your working hours, they can go elsewhere - you are not letting them down! If your dentist only opens Mon-Wed and you prefer appointments on a Friday, they are not letting you down, and the same applies here. It can be easy to get too involved with pupils as you develop relationships with them, but they are not friends/family (usually!) and should not impose on the time you need for yourself.

I agreed my timetable with my daughter at the end of the summer, so my teaching fits around her commitments and allows time for relaxation. It looks a little odd on paper with breaks for feeding her/collecting her, but it works. The only day we don't eat together is Wednesday. I do teach Saturday mornings, as I am the only person in my family who gets up before lunch time at the weekend, but I never work on a Saturday afternoon or on a Sunday so I can have a break.


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#7 mel2

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 14:19

Family can sometimes load on the guilt, even without meaning to, so you find yourself turning cartwheels to oblige them and rarely is it reciprocated.

I'd say do exactly as you please, and pay for the consequences. This means not earning as much as you might, if you choose to be available for your son.

I've decided to restrict my teaching days to Tues-Thurs, being open to offers more or less any time from 9am to 7pm. Trouble is, I don't earn much.  ;)

 

Adults do tend to come and go; I've lost 3 recently which is a pity because they can sometimes use up the daytime fallow hours, and often request longer lessons.

 

I used regularly to drive my young sons to various activities without a word of complaint and yet now they are adults they generally relate more to their dad who declined ever to inconvenience himself on their behalf.  :rolleyes: (It's not as bad as it sounds, and we are not a dysfunctional family- it's just I've gone off all this Family Comes First stuff!)

 

Why is teaching in schools not possible in Scotland? Is there a different system there to the rest of the UK? 


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#8 jenny

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 14:52

Family can sometimes load on the guilt, even without meaning to, so you find yourself turning cartwheels to oblige them and rarely is it reciprocated.

 

I'm so sorry you feel like this. Just in case this was aimed at my part in this discussion - it couldn't be further from my situation. We had a discussion months before my grandson was due to start school in which my son and daughter-in-law asked if I would be able to help with picking him up from school on three days a week and, if so, which days would work best for me. They were, and still are, immensely grateful that I wanted to help and the hours that I spend with him are very precious to me.  


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#9 violinlove

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 20:02

Decide what you want to do and stick to it. As others have said I've found that some people magically do suddenly have time if you're very firm saying there are absolutely no other slots available. I think sometimes it's not that they can't do a particular time, it's because they don't want to because it's not the most ideal time for them and involves some inconvenience. I had one a couple of weeks ago turn on the waterworks (the parent I mean) and it turned out it was because she wanted to take both children to music lessons in the village, one after the other, rather than having to do a 10 minute drive twice. If I'd had a better slot I'd have given her it but I didn't and said it was the slot she had or nothing as I am fully booked. There was no way the other music teaching was moving the other child's slot.

 

I teach Mondays to Wednesdays from 9 am to 9 pm (although mornings are sparsely populated - no one on a Tuesday for example). I have a second line of self-employment which I do on the other days of the week and on Tuesday mornings. I have had a lot of people pushing pushing pushing for Thursdays but I'm not starting with that. I could start teaching on Thursdays and take on some extra people but I want to keep that day for my other work or for free time for myself.


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#10 cel

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 20:08

I fully understand your dilemma having similar age boys and a husband who works away and is late etc.  I would suggest in the first instance that you offer your adults an option of still coming in the morning, but every other week.  This may help them with the pressure  of their own work/study commitments.  They could also possibly alternate each week which each other?  A lot of teachers do that particularly if they have a family.  If they say no can do, then at least you have tried to accommodate them.  Don't whatever you do, be forced in to something that you will regret later as you will only resent them coming and that's not healthy.  You will never get that time back with your boys and the youngest is at an age where he needs you more, even if it is only to chauffeur him to his various activities!

I know because I'm doing exactly the same with my son.  Once he learns to drive or goes off to Uni then you can take on more pupils, if you want to.

 

It's a juggling act at the best of times even with a supportive husband, so explain to your adults that you have to have a good work/life balance and I'm sure they will understand...!

 

 

 

  


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#11 funkiepiano

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 07:40

4-7 or 730pm M-F. I also do 4.5 days in school, peri and pianist work. Weekends and holidays are free! I don’t have kids so can work a lot. You have to do what fits in around your family and what works best for you, and don’t feel guilty about it!
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#12 Latin pianist

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 08:49

Like Mel I'd like to know why you can't teach in schools in Scotland.
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#13 Suzy

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 09:44

Thank you all for your replies, I really appreciate the advice and am feeling much better and clearer about it all. It helps so much to hear of other teachers in a similar position. One adult in particular always messes me about, cancels frequently with 10 mins notice, doesn’t pay termly like all my other pupils and then doesn’t bring the cash weekly as promised because she can’t afford it and is always needing to change her day and time. So I’m thinking it might be better just to let her leave!

Schools in Scotland only offer violin, brass and chanter/pipes lessons, piano is not ‘on their remit’. I played at the primary school both my sons attended voluntarily for around 10 years, played at all their assemblies and concerts. When I decided to start teaching (which is about 5 years ago) I reached out to the head of the instrumental tuition department for our region and asked if there was anyway I could teach piano in the school through school hours. I’d had a lot of parents asking me if I would teach their children over the years. His response was that it was purely a money-making scheme on my part and that piano was not on their remit. It was a very abrupt email and he never even thanked me for all the voluntary work I had done! When I started teaching from home, the school asked someone else to play for them, very hurtful and disappointing.
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#14 jenny

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 09:57

When I decided to start teaching (which is about 5 years ago) I reached out to the head of the instrumental tuition department for our region and asked if there was anyway I could teach piano in the school through school hours. I’d had a lot of parents asking me if I would teach their children over the years. His response was that it was purely a money-making scheme on my part and that piano was not on their remit. It was a very abrupt email and he never even thanked me for all the voluntary work I had done! When I started teaching from home, the school asked someone else to play for them, very hurtful and disappointing.

 

That is so hurtful! Some years ago, I did some piano teaching in a local primary school (during after school hours) and offered to start a choir there. I loved working with the children and put in a lot of hours of preparation etc. When I decided to teach at home instead of at the school (mainly because of the terrible school piano) the headteacher got someone else in to take the choir without informing me. I only found out at the start of the new school year, when a piano pupil told me about their new choir leader!!  


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#15 ma non troppo

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 10:01

Purely money making? What is his job then?! What is anyone's job?
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