Have you ever decided to let a student go? How did you go about having that conversation with the student / parent?
I am currently debating whether to suggest one of my pupils stops lessons with me. She's 7 and has been having lessons with me for about two years. I know there are two good teachers who teach violin at her school so I do have somewhere to suggest she goes instead, but this would be coming entirely from me and not from the pupil / parents themselves, and I'm not sure I'd know what to say. Lessons at school actually came up at one point in passing conversation, but they stated they weren't considering them because they are happy to stay with me.
The thing is, I'm not so happy. There is no major problem - it would make the decision much easier if there were - just a growing sense that this family don't really fit in to my studio and I would prefer not to have them on the books. There have been a few niggles with parents questioning me, taking a while to be 100% on board etc, and there was an incident last year where I had to cancel lessons last minute due to a family emergency and she was very unsympathetic, which upset me at the time. Their daughter is the only one out of my entire studio who does not participate in anything - concerts, group lessons, ensembles etc - by parents' choice. She does practise regularly and has made good progress, although she is strong-willed and tends to think she knows best, so she can be reluctant to follow instructions. The parents are of the "my child is special" variety; they will listen to me and support what I say, but I do always have to justify myself first. Dad is a violinist himself, which has sometimes been helpful and sometimes not!
Anyway, I have never 'sacked' a pupil before! I have had conversations of the "If your child isn't going to practice then we're just wasting your money" variety, and sometimes that has led to parents stopping lessons of their own accord. But I've never actually got to the point of having to let someone go. I suspect this family, Mum in particular, would take it very badly if I suggested / insisted upon stopping lessons. But if were entirely my choice (which I suppose it is!), I would prefer not to teach this pupil any more. But I feel so guilty for even thinking that! Since it's all just minor grievances, the type that we meet with all the time and I am quite used to putting up with, I feel like I should just stop moaning and get on with it! And I don't want to let any of my students down. But there is also that niggling voice in the back of my head that says, "It's your business. All it would take is one conversation, and then they would be gone!" (Oh dear, that sounds more sinister than intended! ) I do have a long waiting list so could fill the spot straight away. It's very tempting...
What would you do? Have any of you ever taken the plunge before? How did it work out?