Transferring Students: Handle With Care

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					 Forum Focus: Independent Music Teachers                                                       By Carol Wallace Payne




Transferring Students:
Handle With Care

    not accomplished gracefully, the
Iftransfer ofcan seriously damagestudio
to another
              students from one
                                   rela-
                                           of the route often chosen that is most
                                           disturbing. Typically, the parent will
                                           contact a second instructor without
                                                                                        own remarks as well. If possible,
                                                                                        encourage the student to postpone
                                                                                        transferring until the end of the school
tionships between colleagues. Like         the knowledge of the current teacher         year or semester. The student may not
most long-term private studio teachers,    and try to arrange a meeting or              realize that it is inconvenient and
I have been on both ends of this situa-    lessons. This puts the approached            upsetting to teachers when students
tion several times, and it has become      instructor in a very troublesome posi-       leave their studios in the midst of
apparent to me that clear and prompt       tion. Should he or she contact the           recital preparations, contests and the
communication is critical when han-        other teacher? What will happen when         like. Finally, make it clear that before
dling this awkward and often emotion-      the other teacher finds out? When a          you can allow the transfer into your
ally-charged predicament.                  circumstance such as this arises it is       studio, he or she will need to speak to
   The MTNA Code of Ethics states:         important to remind oneself that             their current instructor.
“The teacher shall respect the student’s   although students come and go, the              If the student is serious about work-
right to obtain instruction from the       previous instructor will likely continue     ing with you and has agreed to inform
teacher of his/her choice,” and “The       to be one’s colleague for a long time.       the teacher, you may tell him or her
teacher shall participate in the stu-         If you are approached by a potential      that you will also be contacting the
dent’s change of teachers with as much     student, pause to consider the conse-        other instructor. This is in line with the
communication as possible between          quences of your actions. If not handled      MTNA Code of Ethics, which encour-
parties, while being sensitive to the      properly, this transfer may cause the        ages “as much communication as possi-
privacy rights of the student and fami-    other teacher to suffer disappointment,      ble between parties.” There is no easy
lies.” While reasonable, the second        hurt feelings and anger. Do you want         way to handle this situation; the
statement doesn’t specify who should       those feelings directed toward you?          teacher is going to be unhappy to learn
communicate what to whom, or when          Imagine yourself on the other side of        that the student wants to transfer to
such communication should take             the transfer and think about how you         you, but ultimately will be grateful for
place. Both teachers and students are      would like to be treated.1 It is neces-      your candor. Invariably, an uninformed
often confused about how best to pro-      sary both to act professionally toward       teacher will later say that a phone call
ceed with a studio transfer.               your colleague and to respect the stu-       would have been appreciated.
   Students and their parents seek new     dent’s needs and privacy. Consider this         In this conversation with the current
teachers for a variety of reasons.         course of action:                            instructor, it is essential to assure him
However, it is the “clandestine” nature       When a prospective student con
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: The MTNA Code of Ethics states: "The teacher shall respect the student's right to obtain instruction from the teacher of his/her choice," and "The teacher shall participate in the student's change of teachers with as much communication as possible between parties, while being sensitive to the privacy rights of the student and families." [...] make it clear that before you can allow the transfer into your studio, he or she will need to speak to their current instructor.
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