Politely Not Accepting Students
Found in: Studio Management
Carrie L. Michigan
I met with a prospective new student (adult male about my age in mid-30’s) and I just felt strange about the student. I have him coming at a time when I’ll have a sitter with my son in the very next room (the sitter is an older adult).
I just wonder how do you go about teaching male students as a female teacher or vice versa.
I have three adult male students right now. One is my father’s age, another is a little younger than me and another is a father of one of my students. I’ve never felt awkward and schedule them late in the evening when I know my husband will be in the next room.
I tend to get ‘strange’ students from Craigslist.
Although I started two students (adult) from Craiglist and felt awkward with them at first and they turned out to be lovely students.
If I was in that situation, I would schedule when my husband was home, also.
Firstly I would like to say that you should never take risks on your safety. In my experience, if someone gives you a funny feeling, they turn out doing something a bit funny. I (fortunately) haven’t had any strange ones at home yet but I have at the music shop where I teach. Luckily I told my bosses and they made sure he wasn’t allowed near me again. If you had an employee in your situation, you would need to protect that employee. You are your employee.
People who are “strange” do still deserve to learn music but they should be learning it from someone who is comfortable around them, maybe a male teacher. I would just explain to him that my timetable had changed and that I was unable to fit all my students in. It’s probably not a good idea to say that he is strange, though some would disagree with me. Maybe even find him a teacher who won’t be scared of him in his area.
You could try to figure out what is so strange about him but I would trust my instinct.
Victoria S. California
You might also want to consider that honesty might work best. I had a student who was uncomfortable with me the moment she met me. She asked her mom to find a new teacher but her mom didn’t have time to look. I tried everything to get through to her but by the time they left the studio it was a relief for all of us.
I would rather have heard her say, “For reasons that seem to be below the surface of conscious recognition, I’m not comfortable with you, so, in both of our best interests, I would like to find another teacher. Thanks for understanding.”
I actually wish I had told her “For reasons that seem to be beneath conscious recognition, I am not comfortable working with you. Since I care about you and I want both of us to have the best experience possible, I would like you to find a better matched teacher.” Then I would have referred her to the website.
Let us know what you actually do, and how this turns out. You’re not the first nor the last with this situation.