Lack of Parent Involvement

Mary Wittrup said: Nov 23, 2013
Mary Wittrup
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
3 posts

I have some parents who have become so busy that they stopped coming to the lessons. Some are not even helping their children at home or playing the CD for them. I realize it’s my fault for not educating them well enough in the beginning. But how do I handle it now without being negative? Recently, a parent came in after I had finished the lesson with her 8-year-old. The girl had completely lost focus and I was unable to teach her anything. I told her mom that she isn’t supposed to have to do this on her own. She needs a parent to help her at home. The mother seemed overwhelmed (she home schools 4 children ages 4 to 12) and just replied, “It’s so hard!”

Laura said: Nov 23, 2013
Laura Mozena
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Palm City, FL
105 posts

I have this same situation with several of my students, Even when the parents have had all the necessary education at the start. I have a couple moms that came to every parent class, read tons of books about the Suzuki method and still have trouble getting to the lessons and practicing at home. I have learned to understand their busy lifestyles and to have expectations that are reasonable. It is not an all or nothing situation. I understand when a parent needs to return a phone call during the lesson or work with another sibling with homework, if it is not every time. Depending on the age of the child, If the parent makes an effort to be present at most or at least half of the lessons I usually don’t say anything. But if the parents absence becomes the norm I will say something like “I have noticed you haven’t been able to be here for the lesson in a long while. Could you make sure to plan to be here next week so that we can show you how hard we have been working on the Bowhold. That way you can know how to help more at home practice”.

Emily said: Dec 2, 2013
 59 posts

I agree with Laura. As teachers, we have to understand that parents do have busy lives outside of Suzuki lessons. We cannot expect it to consume most of their day as it does ours, because it is our job. It is the parents job to be at as many practices as they can be and help with practicing as much as possible, but we need to remember that life happens, we can’t expect perfection when they have other responsibilities as well. We have to be flexible. I would say something if it was a habit, but not if they miss one here or there. We have to cut them some slack.

Emily Christensen
Music Teacher & Writer
www.musiceducationmadness.org

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