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!