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An interesting debate has developed at our music shop, and I'd like to get other teacher's opinions.
The issue is this...What is considered a bad choice when it comes to teaching, as far as boundaries go?
We've had a bit of a problem here, sometimes a teacher will E-mail a musically appropriate link or .mp3 to a student, maybe a link to a recommended band to listen to, or an article on the web, and they've gotten their parents' permission. Some of the instructors feel that E-mailing a student is risky, especially to kids. What about providing a copy of a CD so a student can hear a tune or become familiar with an artist or style? The 'nay-sayers' say it can be risky to give a student gifts. "There's appropriate boundaries, and if you cross the line, trouble could develop" We did have a parent get upset when a teen student recieved an E-mail from a teacher, just as an inspirational note prior to her trip to band camp.
Just trying to get a feel on other shops' policies, or other instructors feelings, no right or wrong answers here.
 
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Man , I'm glad I don't teach today !

In response to the email problem. My kids school sends out a permission slip for the parents to fill out. This would solve your problem, and the slip could explain it would be used for teaching and instructional purposes only ! This way, they can choose.
 

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Communication! Develop a relationship with the parents and let them guide you. Keep the parents in the loop.

Address all material to the parents and ask them to pass it on to their child.

I've been writing up individual lessons and hand-outs, sending Cds, tipping the kids to youtube links, lobbing jazz movies to them on DVD,tracking down instruments, repairing instruments, finding mouthpieces, etc...

So far, no problems.

A lot of the parents have become friends and will invite me to stay for dinner or a BBQ etc.

That said, I have had overzealous teachers sticking their noses in and creating big problems. ie: a please explain from the school principal. Fortunately, the parents came to my rescue and the whole matter was resolved amicably. Just use common sense and watch your back. There are some folks out there that think anyone teaching kids is a sick twisted pervert just waiting to pounce. Mud sticks to the innocent and guilty just the same. For all that, do what you do with, love, care and sincerity and don't be afraid to show the kids you care. Kids need caring, interested, teachers now as much as ever. Don't be afraid of the bogey man. Just do what you do as best as you can do it.

DP
 

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My personal advice is to not teach minors.

When I see kids I run. This world is full of people who love to throw accusations at men.

I'm 33, single and have no kids. At this point in my life I won't even date a women that has kids and aside from that I have nothing to do with kids period.
 

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Everything you say is true.

But why give in?

Our kids a re losing their connection to their most valuable resource....the experience and guidance of the elder generation. Our young men are increasingly being led astray by adolescent thugs, due to a lack of mentoring and guidance by more mature role models. This is increasingly important in these dark days of divorce and boys without fathers in their lives.

Make a difference. As long as men avoid the kids for all the reasons you stated, we tacitly validate and confirm the supicions held by many due a sick few.

We owe it to our kids to carry on being there, even if doing so puts us in harm's way.
 

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Everything I do is through our School E-mail system. I do not respond to student e-mail but will respond to parent e-mails. I "loan" CD's or rather copies of recorded instrumental music ONLY. I NEVER respond to student e-mails through my personal e-mail.

It is tricky teaching in today's world. I try to keep a professional distance and be the ADULT and not some hipster-I-want-the-kids-to-dig-me person. In my experience, long-term respect and learning comes via serious, meaningful connections with kids.
 

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I don't have that problem so my only response would be to keep Dog Pants' suggestion in mind to keep the parents always in the loop.

I used to subscribe to a magazine of an american private teachers association and was caught by total surprise once about an article that was full of suggestions (always keep the studio door open, for example) on how to avoid suspicion and legally protect yourself as a private teacher. I teach young girls and boys in the privacy of my home and I live alone. I guess in the US that would just be asking for it but I've had no problem here.

Regarding the skittishness of some of your teachers, it's not clear to me, but is some of their nervousness regarding copyright material being sent over the internet? You might be cautious about what you send (i.e. the latest best-selling CD in full) but normally reproduction of copyrighted materials for educational purposes (within reason) is permitted.
 

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I don't teach - I'm just a doctor. But it's a shame we've reached the point of denying all adult role-models to kids, plus the opportunity to learn to handle risk, for the sake of avoiding proportionately tiny risks.

When I were a lad I only encountered one adult male who acted suspiciously. As it happens it was a music teacher, but it could have been a first-aider, a sports instructer, an angler, a canoeist, a Sunday School teacher or anyone of the many adults from whom I learned life skills and enthusiasm for leisure interests. It could even (and statistically more likely) have been a parent or other relative. It was knowing how the others behaved that got my antennae waving about the exception.

In real terms, the risk to a kid is as low as the risk of dying when learning to abseil or sail - and to deny the latter experiences to people is to guarantee a stunted development.

In the UK, at least, we're already inhibited by press hysteria, parental paranoia and by police checks (I've needed 2 just to keep practising as a doctor). Reasonable precautions and probity, yes. But let's not be cowed into making childhood even more fearful than it already is, and certainly than it ought to be.
 

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I agree with everyone on this topic. I would however urge you if you live in America to keep a professional distance at all times. Strictly business and don't even think about being their buddy.

I'm telling you the single moms out there are looking for any man they can to point the finger at for their kids weird behavior. Most women and some men think it's strange for a grown man to even want anything to do with kids. I know this is a warped way of thinking and clearly the kids lose in the end, but all it takes is one accusation and you will live in the shadow of doubt for many years.

I know this because one of my best friends is a elementary teacher, single and has no kids. He's passionate about teaching, but he'll be the first to caution anyone that you should keep your distance at all times.

I use this motto when dating as well though. I simply refuse to date women with kids anymore. I have in the past and I have been kind to their kids and shown them attention that their real fathers don't care to, but when the relationship turns for the worst then all sorts of lies start up and it can really tear you apart inside when you've been nothing but kind to both of them and now the mom is trying to get back at you any way she can.

Personally I don't know how it is in Germany Gary, but if you lived in America you'd be asking for trouble big time unless you had their mom sitting watching their kid take the lesson and even then there's some real basket cases that will say you tried something while they used the restroom for 30 seconds.

You couldn't pay me a six figure salary these days to teach anyone under the age of 18.
 

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Kudos to Dog Pants.

I don't accept the email addresses of the kids and only deal through the parents. I invite the parent to stay at lessons every chance I get.

One elementary age private student of mine came to lessons at a small college where I do some teaching. Often there were only practice rooms without windows available. I sweated that one every time. Nothing bad happened, but I will never make myself so vulnerable again.
 

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JAZZNSKA said:
An interesting debate has developed at our music shop, and I'd like to get other teacher's opinions.
The issue is this...What is considered a bad choice when it comes to teaching, as far as boundaries go?
We've had a bit of a problem here, sometimes a teacher will E-mail a musically appropriate link or .mp3 to a student, maybe a link to a recommended band to listen to, or an article on the web, and they've gotten their parents' permission. Some of the instructors feel that E-mailing a student is risky, especially to kids. What about providing a copy of a CD so a student can hear a tune or become familiar with an artist or style? The 'nay-sayers' say it can be risky to give a student gifts. "There's appropriate boundaries, and if you cross the line, trouble could develop" We did have a parent get upset when a teen student recieved an E-mail from a teacher, just as an inspirational note prior to her trip to band camp.
Just trying to get a feel on other shops' policies, or other instructors feelings, no right or wrong answers here.

1) get parents' permission to email, or send the email through the parents
2) a CD or an example of something is not a 'gift'...it's teaching material, again, if there's a concern, include the parents and let them know that you gave the student a CD with something that you feel is important for the student to hear

I think that following the basic 'include the parents' principle will keep problems from happening...

bigtiny
 

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I don't need to reiterate what DP has said, since he did so eloquently, and with passion.

I just want to add that male teachers need to have courage, and make sure your behavior is above reproach. Don't deny the kids, and don't be fake---be who you are.

If you don't like kids, or working with kids, or having kids around, by all means don't do it. But fear is a terrible reason to do or not do anything.
 
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