As I have been adding more years of teaching experience under my belt, I feel more and more weary that people make lame excuses to suddenly cancel on me. Yes, it’s not so rare that someone do that almost five minutes before the scheduled lesson. Or even after the lesson…They don’t even remember their own schedule. And I am not talking about any situation that has to do with medical emergencies or unusually heavy load of school assignments.
So I want my students, my students’ parents/guardians, and potential future clients to know some facts about me. First, I am a very easy-going person. Every fiber of my body is made of out soft stuff. “Forgiveness” and “loving kindness” are oozing from every pore on my skin. But after the 10th time of forgiving someone for deciding to take their kids to Disneyland instead on a moment’s notice, I will turn into Snow White’s stepmother.
Secondly, I am really smart. So don’t insult my intelligence by texting me polite, but insincere messages. It reads on my side of the smartphone screen “I don’t value your time or expertise as much as a movie night with my new date and a pepperoni and extra jalapeno six cheese pizza on sale, and 6-packs of my favorite beer. “
I can dig “Oops, I totally forgot that I had a lesson!” than ordinary, uncreative excuses. If you work a little bit harder, you can at least humor me and entertain me with your witty (even charming) uniqueness. Yes, I may even look forward to your next excuse to cancel your lesson, thinking, “Wow, I can’t wait to hear what Rowan can come up with this time!” See, what I am interested in is getting some compensation. So here are some examples of what you can say:
– I found a stray guinea pig in the middle of my kiddy pool. I’ve got to find its owner.
– My grandfather is about to declare war against his neighbor for all the dog poop on his front yard. I’m driving 300 miles to his town to stop him.
– My right middle finger has been twitching like crazy for the last five days. It’s a nightmare! It jumps up involuntarily. Until my doctor finds a cure, I don’t think I can practice that beautiful Debussy without turning it into a Stravinsky. What a circus!
– My iPhone died. I dropped my mac in the bathtub. My washing machine died. My car’s transmission died. Oh, by the way, my grandmother died apparently this afternoon.
– I just didn’t feel like coming to the lesson. (My personal favorite. Honesty, hooray!!)
– I have been meaning to tell you you SUCK as a teacher. But instead I have been rubbing a small amount of chili pepper on the envelope with my monthly tuition check inside. Yes I’m a coward. How are your fingers? Itchy? Turning red?
– I have a long bucket list of things to do before I die. Now that I’ve knocked off “learn how to play piano,” I must move on to “race with Egyptians on the back of a camel.” I’m moving to Cairo.
– I wanted to learn a Chopin to win the heart of a girl. I found out today she is deaf. I have to learn a Shakespeare Sonnet in sign language instead.
– I had a lesson today? Oh man, I must have had sugar coma after my sixth Apple Cider doughnut. Blame Trader Joe’s…
– I told my dad to take a lesson on my behalf. …Dad, did you forget again?
– I just realized that there is more to life than planting my ass on the stiff wooden bench and squinting at black and white tadpoles on the paper. (Another favorite excuse of mine. I sometimes feel that way too.)
Whatever it is, don’t lie. I am interested in becoming your true friend. And you know what, friends don’t lie. A good music teacher cares. And when you don’t care about her feelings, it hurts. If blatant honesty isn’t your thing, at least come up with creative excuses to console her. Trust me, I’ve heard most of your boring excuses. Don’t give me “My car broke down” bit again after five times. If you’re really telling the truth, maybe it’s time for you to get a new car. Or Uber app.