Thursday, July 19, 2012

Letting Go...Moving On

It's the middle of July, which means that I am starting to think about the fall term. I've already had several families inquire about fall lessons, so I've spent some time this week thinking about the fall calendar, picking a recital date, creating the registration form...and deciding to let some students go.

I've previously posted about my thoughts on letting students go and how this doesn't mean you've failed as a teacher. That realization has been so healing for me. I've come to discover that knowing when to let go is actually a sign of respect, both for the student and for yourself.

That being said, I made the decision this week to finally let go of a family whose respect toward my time and resources has been nonexistent. I'd been trying so hard to just make the best of it, but it only resulted in mounting stress from one term to the next. I've finally come to the decision that the best scenario for all parties involved is to let them go. As I made the decision, a HUGE weight felt like it had been lifted off my shoulders. There's something so freeing about realizing that as a teacher you have an option, you're not just stuck with what you get! There's no rule that says we as teachers have to put up with a lack of respect, and it's not being respectful of myself when I let other people treat me that way.

It's taken me awhile to embrace this mentality and feel comfortable with the idea, but now that I've accepted it my entire approach toward teaching has changed. I feel so much more positive about lessons! I'm really hoping that this decision will help foster a better perspective toward lessons as the fall term gets closer.

Have you ever had a family who showed little or no respect toward you as a teacher or as a person? Did you feel guilt over getting rid of them? What helped you to step up and decide to respect yourself and your rights as a teacher?

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you.

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  2. Sarah, I'm glad you had the courage to do this. I,too, have had to let a family go in the past. I taught their 3 children, and it had become a great burden instead of a blessing. I understand your feeling of relief! This particular family in my case still owes me over $100 in tuition fees. I tracked it down until I was blue in the face, and finally let that go too. Their slots were soon filled with students who wanted to learn, so it was a winning situation for me all around. Hard, but good. :)

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    1. How ironic! This was a family of 3 as well. If it had been one, I'd probably have been able to handle it better. I'm not feeling a huge amount of stress over this loss either as I'm actually trying to downsize for the fall. So it was DEFINITELY the right time :)

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  3. I also had to let a student go for similar reasons, and felt the same huge sense of relief when I did. And now I have another student where the same issues exist mostly to do with late pick up ... Late notice of absences etc, expecting me to mind the child beforehand. Interestingly both students were friends of my daughters. (hmm) But somehow I am coping with this other student much better than the previous one, so am giving her parents a second chance this term to pick up their game!
    Once I stopped teaching the first girl, she and my daughter became best friends! Good all round for us all.
    Fiona @ www.womanofnotes.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Fiona,

      I think it largely depends on HOW these issues are approached. I have some students who have issues with late pick-up, payment, last minute changes, etc. but some handle it in a very humble manner and are willing to admit their guilt in the matter (and pay). Those I'm fine in dealing with- unless it just gets TOO frequent and I decide it's not worth my time or their money. The ones I really have a hard time dealing with are those who seem to expect ME to always pick up the slack- ie- not make them pay for last minute cancellations or do them little favors like change at the last moment, but just never seem to reciprocate. Those families are the ones that really frustrate me.

      I'm glad things worked out for you! :)

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  4. I wish I had read this sooner. My situation ended up with the mother blowing up at me for random reasons and asking me to leave her house. So many times I wanted to let this family go and didn't but I should have trusted my instinct so it didn't get to the point it did.

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    1. Elexa,

      I feel your pain! It's difficult, especially when you want a full studio, to turn away students, but you also have to draw the line somewhere. Sorry to hear that things ended so badly for you!

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