Students asking for water in class
Sandy B., California
I have quite a few students who come in (say 7-10 year olds) and after a minute or two say, “Mrs. B, may I have a glass of water?” Sometimes I’ll say, “Class is only a half hour long, I think you can wait that long”, but then the mom gives me ‘the look’. Sometimes I let them go get a drink, but I think “I don’t want them to have a drink!” They can get one before they come, or wait. Once in a while, if I think they’ve come straight from school, I let them because it may be a long time since they’ve had a drink. How do you handle this?
Francine V., Australia
I just thought the other day that I might have to update my studio policies and give them out again. I thought I would write in it “please make sure students eat and drink and go to the toilet and wash their hands before they come to their lesson”.
Anne S., Nebraska
I tell my new students at the first lesson that I don’t allow food or drinks in the studio, mainly because it’s a distraction. Also, because I teach in my basement which does not have a bathroom, I tell them they need to take care of business before they come to class. Of course I let them go upstairs if it’s an emergency, but usually the parent will say something to the child about waiting 15 more minutes until piano is over. I just make it clear at the very beginning, and if they then ask I’ll say “No, sorry! That’s my rule!” and move on.
Kerry V., Australia
I get it for them. Usually they have their own water. Water is a must to help with mental activity. Sometimes one doesn’t know they are thirsty until the time comes. It is only water, have a jug and glasses nearby if it is a time thing. Alternatively, just ask them to make sure they have their water in a bottle with them and explain you are concerned for loss of teaching time otherwise.
I guess it goes to show, if an issue bothers you, it comes up until you learn how to not have it bother you. Yes, food and other drinks are not allowed in my studio but water is positively supported. All my parents really have a great respect for my rules so I guess setting them up right from the beginning really does work.
Leeanne I., Australia
Studio policies! Some stuff you only learn as you go along, so I update mine at the beginning of every year. I’m the same as Anne, no food or drink except I allow them to bring water in a bottle with a lid. The water bottle is not allowed near the piano though!. I ask parents to make sure children have been to the toilet before they come to lessons Put things in writing and enforce them. I have a tube of hand sanitizer for nose blowers, so they don’t waste time going to wash hands.
Patti P., Hawaii
It rarely happens in my studio. I let them bring a water bottle with a lid as well, which they keep under their chair.
Jacqui G., Canada
My studio policy says no food or drink, no chewing gum, no hats, hair off the face, clean hands and short fingernails. As students enter, I as “Are your hands clean?” which send most of them to the washroom down the hall. It has a dispenser of small disposable paper cups, and a decorative bowl containing hair elastics and nail clippers. While students are taking care of ablutions, I have a few minutes with the parents. During class, if someone needs a drink or potty break they just go deal with it but we don’t wait for them.
It’s easier to enforce the rules if they have the option to self-correct. I go over my policy at the first lesson, and after that a polite, neutral reminder is all that’s needed. “Would you like to hang your hat in the entry, or keep it under your chair?” “You’ll find nail clippers in the washroom.” “Hair?”