“What if you don’t like the parents?”
This is a question asked on a teaching blog I read recently. The blogger (an experienced school teacher) replied that teachers are only human but generally succeed in separating the parent from the child.
I disagree with the second part of this answer and here’s why: it should never be necessary to separate the child from his parents because we must never allow ourselves when teaching to get emotionally involved in disliking anyone in the first place. This doesn’t make us any less human but it does make us a lot more professional.
This problem can be especially prevalent for private music teachers because of the close working relationship we must often have with the parents of our students, especially the younger ones. We see our students maybe a half an hour a week and their parents must help them practice at home. This means that we are teaching our students and their parents. Given that private music study is not part of compulsory education (unless an illuminated parent sees it that way) we must often convince the parents of the value of steady practice and listening, the importance of a decent and properly adjusted instrument, etc. Therefore a good relationship with the parents is of utmost importance. No separation here of student and parent here! School teachers have their students all day and have much less contact with the parents. Perhaps they can permit themselves to like or dislike a parent but we can’t also for the following reasons. Continue reading