Working in a profession where I have to constantly deal with people can lead to a lot of headaches. The students – mostly children – are rarely (if ever) at fault, but their parents … well, that’s a different case altogether. I can deal with them constantly asking me to:
- work on my days off
- work during my lunch break or too early/too late in the day
- constantly change my schedule to suit them
- provide make-up lessons or refunds for lessons missed
and so on. Most of the time I just say “no” but sometimes I am a little more flexible, depending on the situation. But this particular situation has been worrying me quite a bit lately.
I have one student who started lessons with me in November, meaning she has almost completed 6 months of study. She was four when she started (turned five a few days ago). She is very bright, but most of the time I feel as though I’m baby-sitting her, begging her to concentrate because she usually just wants to draw/watch YouTube videos/talk/play etc. It’s not just down to her age – I have a LOT of preschoolers and I’ve never had any who behave like she does. She is totally, utterly spoiled (last week I had to hear her talk about her fleet of BMWs!) but also totally, utterly neglected by her parents, which probably explains her behavior.
Her mother never (ever ever) pays me on time (she’s currently owing for 2 months). Despite the fact that my policy clearly states “no make-up lessons” and I have repeatedly reminded her mother of this fact, her mum is constantly asking for make-ups. I don’t think she has ever been on time for a lesson (usually arriving 10-15 minutes late for a 30 minute class). In 6 months, she has completed what most other students of her age complete in half the time (not because she’s not capable, but because of the amount of times she misses lessons or is late for them).
I am seriously considering dropping the child, because her mother drives me up the wall, and because it’s just so darn difficult to get her to listen to me. But … I also know that this young girl loves piano lessons, and I’m sure they are benefitting her in some way.
So, what should I do? Do I drop the student because of the annoying parent and behavioral issues, or bite the bullet and keep teaching her for the good of the child? What would you do?