Teacher’s code of Ethics

said: Oct 16, 2009
 1 posts

I have never posted, but just got off the phone with a parent and am a bit perplexed.

I am a fairly new Suzuki violin teacher with a program of about 30 students. I live quite close to a University which has a well developed and well known Suzuki program. I have in the past taken the Summer Institute training there.

The girl who’s parent I just got off the phone with has been a student of mine since about Feb. She is making wonderful progress, has support of parents. She picks up songs very quickly by ear and is already on Perpetual Motion.

Prior to her parents signing her up at my studio, they looked into the Suzuki program at the University I mentioned. Daunted by the long waiting list for violin, they instead put her on the waiting list for Suzuki piano, which she has just recently begun. I have had concerns that this little girl will be a bit overwhelmed taking two Suzuki instruments, but have respected her parents decision—She is only 6 yrs old. At the piano Suzuki program, she was asked about her involvement in Suzuki violin. It seems she was asked to play violin for one or a few of the teachers there, afterwhich she was invited to tranfer over to their Suzuki violin program, bypassing the long waiting list. Her mom called me today to tell me about all of this, which just took place within the last week! The mother asked me what decision she should make—should she leave my studio and pursue violin lessons at the University. I tried to be very clear wit the mom that I could not make that decision. Of course I would love to go on teaching her daughter and I am very proud of the progress she has made, but it is the parents decision to do what they feel is best for the child.

I can’t say my nose wasn’t a little bent, but what suprised me was that I thought that the Suzuki code of ethics encourages a high level of respect for our colleagues. I would not want to take a student away from their current teacher without tconsulting with that teacher personally first. And I would probably only do so if the parent came to me requesting to transfer into my studio from another teacher. This topic was clearly discussed in my Suzuki training. I myself had asked the teacher trainer what was the proper code of ethic because I myself was faced with a situation where a student participated in a summer program at my studio who studied under a different violin teacher. Whe was obviously lacking good training in posture and set up even though she was playing Seitz. I posed the question to the Suzuki trainer, what should I say to the parents? Should I suggest that she might receive “better” training elsewhere. The teacher trainer was clear. No, It is not my place to come between a studdent and teacher—they may have already developed a rapor and I am not aware of other circumstances involved in her musical development.

I think that my student who is being asked to transfer was on the contrary, recognized for her positive abilitiies and was complimented on her posture—which I am glad to hear. I am just perplexed that such a renowned Suzuki program would proceed in this way.

Sorry about the length of this post! Am I just over-reacting based on my somewhat bruised pride, or am I justified in my confusion?

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