Some students don’t stick with oboe very long, and I can often predict the quick departers. I can’t allow my ego to be crushed every time I lose a student, but sometimes they leave after we’ve worked together for a while and I then spend some time puzzling over what I might have done differently to keep them as students. It’s not that I want them for the money, but I want them because I truly enjoy teaching and I want students to leave when they’ve had a good experience and are just moving on to a new teacher or are going off to college.
I think I’m just too demanding for some students. That I can’t change. I have heard people say that they’ll take the money and run should a student never practice, but I really can’t teach that way and I have to push those students to give the oboe the appropriate time and energy it deserves.
I’m honest with students when they aren’t progressing as they should. Sure, I could smile and say, “Great job!” every time a student played, but I refuse to lie. If they aren’t at the appropriate level I tell them. I try to be kind about it, but I tell them.
But I must be honest. Sometimes I simply fail to be what the student needs. Perhaps I’m not demanding enough for some students (at least some parents think so!), or I’m too strict on time (if students aren’t late I don’t add time at the end of the lesson to make up for that). I’ve also been told that I’m intimidating to some. I hate that they find me scary, and I should work on that. I try to balance my demanding ways with humor, but my sense of humor IS something that might not appeal to all.
In any case, I lost two students this year that I regret losing. I miss them.