How to deal with parents out of line


Katie Avery said: Apr 10, 2013
Katie AveryViolin
Whitehorse, YT
6 posts

So, I recently received a rather upsetting e-mail from a parent that was full of what I’d consider destructive criticism (rather than constructive). I found out afterwards that it had been Bcc’d to an unknown number of other parents. The e-mail itself was bad enough, but sending it out publicly? I think this is way out of line. But I’m too upset to figure out the appropriate way to respond to such an action. So I’m hoping someone out there can help me. Thanks My wonderful colleagues!

Martha Morehart said: Apr 10, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
3 posts

When parent/teacher trust has been broken I drop the family from my studio. This has only happened a couple of times in 15 years. Teaching music is a labor of love, and the monetary compensation I receive can never pay for what I offer. I do not allow clients to brow beat me.

Martha Morehart

Nicole said: Apr 10, 2013
Nicole Ballinger
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Vero Beach, FL
9 posts

Wow! I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you. Yes, I agree, in addition to dropping the family from your studio you may want to also consider legal counsel- as defamation of a teacher in a public forum is illegal. My husband is an Orchestra teacher and over the years has occasionally received very defamatory emails. All emails and phone calls to teachers are public record and may be accessed for legal suit. I’m not sure about studio teachers but I imagine its a similar law you may want to look into. I hope that it works itself out. At the very least you may want to send an email to the rest of your studio apologizing for their being rudely involved in this parents poor manner of communication. And that you are always willing to positively resolve any concerns with each of your parents on a personal basis. Most people in this situation will recognize the one who was truly in the wrong here- and I wouldn’t worry too much about how others in your studio view you- especially if you’ve already established a good reputation. Above all don’t let it get you down- your other parents will probably rise to the occasion and let you know how they really feel about you as a teacher- and that will be something really positive that comes from this :)!

Mircea said: Apr 10, 2013
Mircea Ionescu
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Crestwood, KY
23 posts

Dear Katie,

What Martha and Oceanstrings is very helpful. I have had to drop families when things were not being resolved. It was painful and discouraging.

At the same time, I needed to face the criticism to see how much of it was true. Even in these kind of situations I was confronted that the parent or student was right in one way or another. So I have grown very much even in these painful events.

I also try to speak respectful to every parent and of every parent no matter the situation. I have noticed teachers and parents giving in to gossip because they feel the other person deserves it. Gossip is only destructive, never builds trust, respect and relationships.

Do not give up teaching, or on parents, or on students. There are many good parents, even though they struggle in their parenting. Thank you for being open!

Margy said: Apr 11, 2013
Margy Barber
Suzuki Association Member
34 posts

I agree with ocean strings…dropping the student is important here. Send a respectful, concise email to the rest of the studio apologizing, that if they received a copy of the email, it was inappropriate and you regret they were brought into it. That you are always open to positive discussion about how to improve as a teacher, but in a one on one conversation. Leave it at that and don’t say anything at all negative about the departing family…either in that email or other lessons. If asked simply say you are sorry to be losing the student and enjoyed the chance to teach them and learn from them.

André said: Apr 11, 2013
André AugensteinViolin, Piano
55 posts

This is a great topic to be discussed,because i have (mostly my stepparents and siblings
out trick also others)that are a true embarrassment to my professional life…

este é um ótimo tópico para ser discutido pois tenho parentes(principalmente meus padrastos e irmãos,fora também outras pessoas capciosas…)que são um verdaeiro estorvo para minha vida profissional…
André Gomes Augenstein
Violin Teacher(ISA/95/Dublin)
Violin Teacher(ISA/96/Brasil:Yasuki Nakamura)

Violin Student(International Suzuki Association) in Germany 1987
Violin teacher (International Suzuki Association) in Dublin 1995

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