You may find it odd that this spring, I’ve actually decided to let go of my private lesson students and move solely to group lesson teaching. Yup — I’m downsizing.
It was a difficult decision because I’ve been teaching private lessons for longer and built a close relationships with my students and their families, but we recently welcomed home our second child through adoption, and it has become clear to me that I need to be at home more to meet the needs of my own children.
And so begins the awkward process of letting go of students.
I’ve let go of students a few times prior to this under different circumstances. In group classes, were the students lack of respect and commitment to practicing was hindering the progress of the group (after already issuing warnings, of course), it became necessary to remove students from the situation. Here’s what I do when I have to let go of a student:
- I call the family. Even though it would be so much easier and less awkward to e-mail, I want to show them the respect and consideration of a phone call and give them the opportunity to ask questions and talk things through.
- I call other teachers ahead of time to find out who has openings, and provide a list of those teachers for my students in a follow-up e-mail.
- I phrase things positively. When I let go of students for not practicing/listening, I tell the parents, “I think another teacher would be more effective.”
- I allow for the possibility of letting go of students in my studio policy, when I warn that students who repeatedly refuse to practice or become disrespectful in lessons may not be able to finish the year under my instruction.
If you have a student who is giving you a lot of grief and not meeting the expectations you outline on a regular basis, don’t feel as though you are beholden to the situation. It’s okay to let students go in order to maintain a healthy studio.