Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Failure to Communicate


I love giving flute lessons. I love my students, I love the process, I treasure the relationships that are forged.

I have been teaching flute since I was 16 and afraid that I would render the junior highers under my care permanently un-fluteworthy.

It has always been easy for me to anticipate and spot lame excuses for not practicing, being late to lessons, and general laziness. Why? Because I employed each and every one of those lame, lazy excuses myself.


I can safely say that in all my years of teaching I had never been taken by surprise by an excuse. Ever. That was until Saturday.

A talented high school senior had been encouraged by her flute teacher to schedule a flute lesson with me. This young lady is considering attending APU in the fall. I am always happy to meet with prospective students, and this one came highly recommended.

She called me last week to set up a lesson time. I asked her if she wanted an hour or a half hour lesson. After agreeing on an hour lesson we went through our schedules to find a time agreeable to us both.

After comparing schedules we agreed on Saturday afternoon. I said, "I have you scheduled for an hour lesson at 2pm." She said she would send me her contact information via email and asked that I send directions to my home in reply.

Said email arrived and I sent the following reply (along with directions to my house which you don't need to see here):

"I will see you Saturday from 2-3. I'm really looking forward to meeting you."

Saturday afternoon 2pm came and went with no sign of the student. 2:05. Nothing. 2:10. Nothing. 2:20. Nothing. At 2:33 my phone rang. It was the student cheerfully informing me she would be there in about 15 minutes. I gently (go me!) told her that I was expecting her for a lesson at 2pm.

She was utterly horrified, apologized very profusely, then said, "Your email said the lesson was from 2 to 3 so I thought I could show up any time between 2 and 3."

I had never, ever heard that one before.

What we had was a failure to communicate...

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