I admit it. I want everyone to be happy; even me! This fall I took a few surveys to help me better understand what behaviors and circumstances promote happy students, happy parents and happy teachers.
It is much easier for me to know which behaviors in my clients make me happy as a teacher. Some of these things are important enough to be included in a policy statement—a place where clear communication can set healthy boundaries and solve problems before they happen.
Here is what I included in my registration packets this fall:
Keep Happy Teacher
- be willing to try new things, and new ways of doing old things
- listen to directions and follow them at home
- read your assignment notes over at home each week
- enjoy the songs you are learning
- have a respectful attitude
- practice faithfully, and record it in your assignment book
- smile a lot
- tell the teacher frequently that you love piano lessons
- always bring all your books to your lesson
- participate in studio activities
- take good care of borrowed books and return them on time
- offer your child support, incentives and encouragement at home
- set aside practice space and time in your child’s schedule
- say uplifting things about piano lessons in front of your child
- provide an adequate instrument on which to practice
- keep your expectations high, but fairly close to reality
- help your child participate in studio activities and recitals
- respond to studio emails in a timely manner
- rarely cancel lessons, and call ahead on those rare occasions
- drop off and pick children up on time
- pay your tuition on time each month, without a reminder
- call me when you have a concern or problem so we can resolve it
- remember that I thrive on appreciation, and your kids thrive on praise
That covers my side of things, but what about the students’ or parents’ perspectives? For the last few weeks I have been surveying students and parents from my studio, as well as parents with other teachers in my local association, about what makes them happy with a piano teacher. Below is my compilation of the student and parent responses.
I expected certain things to be high on the parents’ list: keep tuition rates low, limit the number of outside activities, high tech studio, make sure we get our perfect time slot, be flexible with sport schedules, vacations and illnesses, have a location close to school or home, have lots of degrees, certifications and professional performance experience.
I was wrong. Not one of these items was mentioned. Read on to find out what was [···]