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I'm moving my piano studio from the church to my home. What should I do about the restroom. I don't want children thru my home. Is it appropriate to have a sign "no public restroom"? How should I handle having no one but the student in my teaching room. My home is small and I don't have a waiting room. Please advise and any other suggestions are welcome.
-- Gwen Weaver (email@example.com), December 03, 2002
Gwen, To be blunt, allowing a young child to use your restroom is better than the alternative! (can you say "wet carpet?") If you can't tolerate having a child walk through part of your house to your bathroom, and feel a strong sense of privacy regarding your home, you'd better seriously reconsider moving your studio to your home. I'll admit, there are times I wish I didn't teach in my own home, because I feel like I have to have the whole downstairs cleaned up on teaching days (because sometimes parents need to use the restroom too, and I'm too vain to let any walk through my kitchen if it's a mess.) But there is no way I'm going to tell a child or parent that they can't use my bathroom. That's basic courtesy if you ask me. I also allow a parent to wait in my dining room, which is adjacent to my piano room. (I did have to crack down on bringing in siblings, because that got too loud, plus siblings did feel a little too free to roam around my house.) Now, I suppose you could get away with a "no one but the student allowed in" rule, as a general rule. But I strongly believe that if a parent wants to sit in occassionally to observe, they should have the right to do so. It's kind of like when my kids were in elementary school, occassionally I felt the need to sit in the class and observe. I would have been furious (and felt a great amount of suspicion toward the teacher) if I had been told I could never come in and observe. Now, to be honest, most of my students' parents seldom want to come in and observe, but they know that they are welcome. Since you asked for other suggestions: 1) Have a rule that they take their shoes off (kids shoes can be so dirty!), and also that they wear (or bring) socks so they won't be barefoot when they take off their shoes. 2) Be careful about parking. I encourage parents to park in my driveway, after a careless neighbor backed out of his driveway and hit a parent's car that was parked in the street. (the parent was sitting in it at the time!) 3) Be sure to have an answering machine set to pick up right away so the phone isn't ringing and ringing. 4) One way to limit the amount of bathroom requests is just to remind parents that such breaks take away from the time you have to teach, and that they should arrive with hands already clean. (but sticky fingers do still occur, and I would rather them wash up in my bathroom than get the piano all sticky.) 5) Check with your homeowner's insurance agent regarding liability for an in-home business. Always be sure that the driveway, sidewalk, steps, etc, are well cleared if you live in a snowy area. You, of course, would be considered liable if a student slipped and hurt himself for any reason, so don't skip this insurance.
-- annie (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 03, 2002.
Gwen has a legitimate concern. There was no reason to insult her by the ridiculous question "can you say wet carpet"? If you can't be civil with people's questions you shouldn't answer them. There is no excuse for rudeness.
-- Private (pearl@practice spot.com), December 04, 2002.
I don't believe the response was rude (I actually thought it was kind of funny!). Lighten up. Annie gave lots of good, practical advice.
The bathroom issue is a real one. Your first students of the afternoon, especially, most likely have been picked up from school and come straight to the lesson. In all likelihood, they haven't had the chance to use a bathroom and their hands are always dirty.
You can walk them to your bathroom and wait outside the door if sending them off on their own makes you nervous. As far as dirty hands are concerned, keep a container of Wet Ones in the studio. That usually does the job. I also keep a bottle of Purell and a box of tissues for the snifflers.
-- Arlene Steffen (email@example.com), December 04, 2002.
Thank you Arlene. No, I was not trying to be rude at all, just light- hearted about an all too real problem. Believe me, I am not the "trouble-making" kind , so please accept my apologies Gwen, if you feel as "Private" did, and thought I was not taking your concerns seriously. I hope that the fact that I took time to think of several valid suggestions for you would show my sincere attempt to be of help. I have talked to many piano teachers who have regretted even asking that a student "wait just a few more minutes until the lesson is over," because they did end up with an "accident." In fact, since Gwen is wanting to consider all things, I'll also mention that many teachers consider it very important to keep a wastebasket beside the piano. (I have heard horror stories of pianos being ruined by children who got sick all over the keys). Not trying to be gross, just passing on a hint that I would never have thought of if other teachers hadn't warned me of this possibility.
-- annie (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 2002.
Hi Annie & Arlene,
I don't know who "private" is, but I don't agree. I appreciated the information from Annie. I didn't think anyone would respond negatively to my concern as "private" did. I want to apologize for causing someone to send such a message. I just need good advice and hope that no one else puts down the advice given by Annie and Arlene.
Thanks and if you two have any other suggestions feel free to email me.
-- Gwen Weaver (email@example.com), December 04, 2002.
Hi Gwen, glad no hurt was taken! I do have a question for you. You say you may move from a church to your home. Were there drawbacks or problems with teaching at a church you might want to share? Reading and answering your post has gotten me thinking about the possibility of doing some of my teaching at my own church (don't know why I never considered that before!) Like I said, there are times I get tired of feeling like I have to have my whole downstairs clean because students and parents are coming. But I can see that having families come into my church could be a problem if moms let siblings "wander around" and get into things. I'd have to be really firm about that, but I can't be 2 places at once, if there ever were kids wandering around in other parts of the building. Plus I'm not sure about the liability issues.
-- annie (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 2002.
I appreciate your response. Actually, I did not have any problems teaching at the church. My husband and I feel led to leave this church, so I know that I need to relocate my piano studio. The church had insurance that covered accidents. I played the piano and my husband was the song leader and the Pastor offered to use their building to teach. In the past, I taught music and piano lessons at another church. It would be great if you could teach piano at your church.
We are praying that God will lead us to a church where we can be used in the music area. I'm taking a month vacation to decide what I'll do about teaching at home. Maybe God will open another door.
Well, I hope this gives you food for thought and please let me know.
God Bless You,
-- Gwen Weaver (email@example.com), December 05, 2002.