Posted by: Marie | May 24, 2014

(928) Organic unfolding – Part 1 of 8

Post #928
[Private journal entry written on Friday, August 24, 2012]

Today was therapy session day . . .

Edward and I went through our usual greetings and settling-in routines . . .

Once we were settled, we inquired, in turn, how each of us has been lately . . . Edward gave a brief update on his status and I reported that I’ve been doing well . . .

————–

Me: Oh, by the way, let me give you a “five-minute warning” . . . I don’t have anything in particular that I want to cover in today’s session . . . I mean, I have a few little things that have happened that I would like to tell you about, but that will only take a handful of minutes . . . so, in a few minutes, I will be looking to you to help figure out what to do with our time today . . . alas, the “five-minute warning” . . .

Edward: (Grinning) Okay, thanks for the warning. I don’t think it will be a struggle for us to figure that out together.

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Photo by Martin Chen

Me: (Smiling) I agree!

So, first, I wanted to thank you for the great advice you gave me regarding my 11-year-student, Renee . . .

Edward: You sent me an email about her . . .

Me: Yes . . . I am so pleased with the change in her attitude, and I’m quite certain it is because of my implementing your suggestion to share the experience of playing piano rather than setting it up so it is me observing her play. She is doing so well . . . she is really blossoming. So, thank you for that great advice! You were right on the mark!

Edward: You are most welcome! It is my pleasure to witness what is becoming of it!

————–

I went on to explain a bit more about the skills she is picking up . . . I inquired if he has much music background – if he knows what I mean when I talk about steps and skips . . . he said he had taken a few ill-fated piano lessons as a child, but that, beyond that, he really has no knowledge of music.

So, I gave him a brief explanation of those intervals and how the related skills build on one another, and how she is learning each of those skills so quickly. I told him how, during the sight-reading exercises in this last lesson, she played by herself for the first time since I implemented his advice . . .

————–

Me: The way we have her lesson set up now is that she comes directly from school, and then her step-mom swings by on her way home from work and picks up Renee. That arrangement allows Renee and I to talk without parental supervision. I think that will allow her to feel freer to open up to me about what is going on in her life.

Edward: And I’m willing to bet that you are one of the few – if not the only – mature adult with whom she can have that kind of conversation.

Me: That’s what I’m thinking, too . . .

I do have a concern about that, though . . . I wouldn’t put it past her to accuse me of inappropriate behavior if it served her purposes . . . I believe she is very manipulative and I believe she would throw me under the bus in a heartbeat if it served her purposes.

However, she’ll be there during regular business hours, so people from the other two businesses that use the space will be walking around . . . my space is wide open and is accessible by everyone . . . the other businesses can see and hear everything that goes on in my studio. So, I feel fairly protected by that.

My only concern would be if I ever had reason to do a lesson with her without her parents and when the other businesses were not in the building . . . there should never be a situation like that, but it would concern me if there ever was, for whatever reason . . .

Edward: You know, if you find yourself in a situation where you are concerned about that, you could always record the lesson. Then, if you ever were accused, you would have evidence to protect you.

Me: But I’d have to disclose to the parents that I’m recording it, correct? I mean, I assume I don’t have to tell the student, but I’d have to disclose to the parents that I’m going to . . .

Edward: Yes, that is true. You could have a clause in your studio policy . . . do you have a written studio policy?

Me: Yes . . . the parents are required to read and sign it . . .

Edward: You could state in your studio policy that you reserve the right to record lessons. If anyone questioned you about the reasons for it, you could say something like you use it as a way to review your interaction with students as part of your process of improving the quality of your teaching, or as a subjective way to record the progress of your students.

Me: I like the idea of putting it in the studio policy . . . however, I would prefer to give an honest answer if someone asked me about my reasons for it. I could say that I might record a lesson when there is no parental supervision as a way to protect both the student and myself. If I lied, I think the parents – at least most parents – would be able to detect that and then it would compromise their trust in me. Besides, I don’t like to lie . . . I’d rather just tell the truth.

Edward: Honestly disclosing your reasons would be a good idea if you feel your clients are the kind of people who would be okay with the idea of the lessons being recorded as a way to protect you . . . but not every parent is going to be okay with that. It might cause them to have concerns about their child’s safety around you. I’m not sure you want to start planting unnecessary worry in their minds.

Me: I would hope that the parents of my students are already concerned about the safety of their children while in the care of another adult . . . I would want them to check me out. My ideal client would be someone who would think about those things and who would be glad for the extra protection a recording might provide . . . my ideal client would embrace the idea of having that protection.

I do think it would be wise for me to be careful with how I worded it . . . I would want to word it so it didn’t sound like I was expecting there to be trouble. I could present it in a way that emphasized how the recording would be a layer of protection for all of us . . . just to be safe.

Edward: I think there are benefits to having that option . . . depending upon how you handle it.

Me: Yeah . . . I think I’d need to learn more about the legal ramifications before implementing it . . .

(There was a lull in the conversation as we both were lost in contemplative thought for a few moments . . . then, I moved the conversation onward . . . )

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

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