Thursday, May 30, 2013

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!!

I'm just so disturbed with the way human beings are. You really can't trust anybody. It's all about MONEY! MONEY! MONEY!

My kids' piano teacher was so perfect in her communication, in her mannerisms and the way she was so organized in delivering the classes - planning ahead of time, writing notes, detailed instructions. Everything was smooth in first year, but little bit of insincerity showed up in her way of teaching, the perfectionism was missing, but I still gave her benefit of doubt - being tired or too much traveling or whatever. I did not want to be picky about everything and not be a destructive  force in kids' future.

She made my kids' go through RCM exams which is no doubt good, but very expensive. Because of her suggestion, even though we did not plan, we went along with her. When you pay $100+ for theory and technique separately, and top of that dollar per minute for her teaching, is it wrong to expect a score in nineties, when kids' are ready to work hard. My son is like me, what he did wrong bothers him more than what he right. The testing day, he really felt bad that he did not get enough ear training to be perfect in his answers. Is it not teacher's responsibility to teach kids to work hard for higher score than think about passing score.

As a teacher, she should notice who is genuine and plan accordingly, but she has time for it. Luckily, I noticed a Concerto competition and informed about it, and then, that's a good plan.  I'm musical illiterate, she was supposed to be guiding us, but for her teaching to kids is a secondary job, earning something in the side, not a permanent, relying income. My advice to parents is when you choose a piano teacher, fund out her/his other part of life i.e., other than teaching as if they are deviated, they won't focus on your kid's needs. 

This is second time, I'm going through this hell, start off nicely, build up trust and bond, make students follow certain path, and when long term future is building...tada! raising fees! Pay or find another teacher, just like that pull off the plug. If not you, I have more kids, lined up - that's the attitude. Just 18 months ago, we joined her, and she wants to increase 11% or else pay full semester without installments. How can anyone rely on someone for such a long term by paying ahead of time? 

The higher you advance, the more money minded people you come across. Either they deliver or not, doesn't matter, pay us our money, we are high class people. And what can parents do, apply brakes on kid's goals. No! So you play the game!

The other day, I asked a well known for help when I got stuck on an actuary problem. He was the one who suggested to email him with questions or comments. He replied within a second to my email by asking who are you and why should I help. 

I was shocked, and thought to myself what an odd reply from a well known professor. I replied by saying that I am stuck and don't know, how you reached to that particular solution, and his reply was...

"But that is not an answer to my question. What is the basis for you demanding this work?
- Are you my student? Not to my knowledge.
- Are you an original purchaser of my manual? Then please send receipt.

I have hundreds of students, who are important and valid customers. My time is valuable to them."

I first thought that his email got hijacked. Otherwise, who will reply to some stranger, when they don't even want to help. You can always choose to be silent.

Coming back to piano teacher, morning she instructed me to find another teacher if I don't like the hike. And later in the evening, when I did not enroll for next semester, she emailed by saying....

"I did not receive the fall schedule request form, so I am assuming that you will not enroll for this fall. You may be disappointed with the fee increase, but I had no choice to make the increase due to yearly increases in fees I have to pay as a music teacher, such as association dues, office supplies and website use. I have attached a document for your review, which lists what the lesson fees cover. As you will see, lessons with a qualified teacher involves more than just the lesson time."

Her attachment states:

WHAT YOUR LESSON FEES COVER

Private piano lessons are considered more than weekly standing appointments, in which a specific time slot is reserved for the studentOther than the actual lesson time, the tuition fee includes several teacher services:

 

1.
Annual dues incurred by music teachers for national, state and local memberships, which allows students to participate in contests and performances
2.
Mandatory volunteer services during local contests and performances
3.
Fees and time organizing for Annual Spring Recital
4.
Hard copy of a semester-end report and summary, which allows the student to view their progress and achievements
5.
Attendance of monthly teacher meetings as part of professional development toward improvement of teaching
6.
Monthly website fees to maintain organization of studio and accounting
7.
Mandatory semi-annual tuning and maintenance of piano due to frequent/daily usage
8.
Daily teacher availability and access to email for communication with students and parents
9.
Office supplies, including printer ink and paper for photocopies of music available to students as needed, as well as printing of recital programs and newsletters
10.
Music store visits to pick up music books and supplies as needed by the student for their convenience.

I understand, but what bothered me is her attitude. Why will she advice me to choose another teacher.  Why couldnt she just say these are the reasons or this is how it is, then I'll make decision whether I can afford or not. Why should she be like I don't care for your kids or their future or the plans which we made, all I care is my money. Where us that attachment, sense on duty or connection? See the caliber of a student, then act accordingly. Value someone if they are genuine. 

What surprises me is when you are a doctorate in music, you as a teacher should enjoy teaching a kid who is adapting to your teaching and progressing immensely, and under no circumstances should lose such a student as his prosper ness is guiding you to popularity and giving you self- satisfaction as a teacher. But naaaa..., I want my money right now. Teaching is not my hobby, it is just one way of earning money. 






Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Right Amount of Attention can do Wonders

End of mensuration periods or some other reason, I don't know for sure, but feeling good today - kind of feeling good about myself. Just now, returned from my kids' school. They had Invention Convention Fair, where each kid displays their invention and talk about the reason behind their invention. Basically, they try to sell their idea, and you try to buy by investing fake dollars into their idea.

First, I approached unpopular kids, gave them confidence by listening, by interacting, by encouraging, I noticed wonders in their behavior and later on, I went to each and every student, gave them the needed attention. All had wonderful ideas, well prepared speeches and loved my camcorder recordings. Teachers' appreciated my time and effort in listening to each and every kid.

What I noticed about human behavior is when you're successful, or when your child is doing amazing and achieving laurels, everybody at school will start giving you attention and will start giving you respect, which in turn has boosts your confidence, makes you feel like I am accepted and which in turn makes you feel like doing good things, be more helpful, be more open to ideas, suggestions and they too will listen to you with right frame of mind as you earned their respect. One and half year ago, the school had terrible misunderstanding about me like as if I am a pushy parent or a person who causes trouble, and during that accusation time, I did not feel like doing anything related to school or my kids' school studies.  Following year after that incident, I even dropped out of PTA, but higher level of success in different areas  produced by my son this year, proved to them that it is my nurturing and parenting style fueling my son to be successful, not sneaky/pushy/fishy style.

The respect which I earned from school authorities, has made them to be more friendly. Recently, after finding out from my son that I don't go to work, his teacher suggested to my son that if she can call me and request for help as she couldn't find anybody to help for Texas game day where you've to organize some educational games for kids. But her approaching style and her friendliness, made me to help, which in turn made me feel good that someone thought I'm useful and reliable. And yes, I felt good that day as I was resourceful to the teacher and playful with kids. Basically, the teacher's trust fueled me to be my best.

In one of our meetings, I told to my son's teacher about how I like her teaching, her dedication to work, her extensive knowledge, her encouraging comments on each and every work on kids' sheets. I quoted to her some of her comments, and which in turn made her feel good as she said, "Wow! do you read my comments, do you follow my work.... usually nobody notices or comments about my work. Thank you so much!"

Did you notice the give and take respect, the appreciative comments, the back and forth reciprocal praises making each of us to be better in whatever we do and beyond.

That made me think about bullies, a little bit of love does marvelous thing where as hatred-ness spill hatred-ness only, nothing good can come. Remember, how the school's misunderstanding about me did not do any good to me or to them. Same way, trust, respect and little bit of attention, pulls everyone in a better direction. Now, I truly understand, why someone bullies and be mean to others, because they are not getting any love from anyone. When school was mean to me, I did not care about good or bad about school.  Whenever request to volunteer letters poured in, I did not budge - always questioned myself, why should I.

And that in turn made me think about Steward. Even though he is far away and unrelated to my life, he actually makes me to be a better person. Because when I am a better person, it justifies his once-upon-a-time "liking me". Many times, when I have no good thoughts and want to stop myself by not being helpful, I talk to him and say, even you'll not like me, once you know who I am - people just hate or misunderstand me, and don't care about me, once a slight misunderstanding or my thoughtless blurt happens.... and which somehow always happen. Till now, I have not seen someone un-waveringly sticking up to me other than my own kith and kin. Many times, I repent and regret over my bad decisions, decisions like wallowing on Steward or before him, some other guy in 2008. Painting Steward?!?! who will do such a thing....till one week ago, I hated myself, the decisions or the choices I make - just lousy, worry for unimportant things, cry over petty things. I questioned God, numerous times...like why do you have to get Steward in my life - he might be just a kid in pre-20's, and I cry over him and even paint him - why I am so dumb, why do I make dumb decisions.

Right now, my conclusion is, I wanted attention from someone, someone to really, really like me and an attractive guy like him gave that to me without me asking or chasing him. So that's it, I bonded with him. Yes, sounds pathetic, right? Nowadays everything related to Germany is so appealing, and for that matter, wherever I go, whatever I see, all I see is Germany - watch Amazing race, they show Germany, follow WSJ or New York Times, they cover Germany news, on that Texas game day at school, I found out that popular barbecue food culture came to Texas because of Germans, when I study for Actuary, the helpful guy on forum is German, go outside in search of new food, all I see is "SCH", beginning letters for a restaurant name, I know that is related to German food. In fact, this Spring break, when I went to Corpus Christi, I had first German restaurant experience.


Recently, my son learned "Fur Elise", do you know who is the composer and from where he is??None other than the famous classical composer Ludwig Van Beethoven from Germany. If you haven't heard before, you should hear this piece, written for a special woman named "Elise". There is so much emotion in that song, it touches your heart and fills you with love, your heart will be filled with deep emotions, unexplainable anxiousness and just pure feelings for the beloved. Other day, I saw "Quick and easy way to learn German" on my kids' piano teacher's coffee table. 

I guess attention from an attractive guy matters - there is this guy who is a custodian at my kids' School who shows a lot of interest in me. I can literally see admiration in his eyes. The other day, he found courage to ask my name, and when I said it, he repeated few times, and said, "I like that name.", but his kind of attention, scares me up, will not encourage me to be a better person or make me feel good about myself as I don't feel anything towards him. I will just smile and be nice with him and maintain my distance. But Steward's attention really mattered - maybe because of his attractiveness or some kind of connection I felt for him or we both were equally attracted to each other.

My husband thinks that he can read palm lines and can predict future of the person. So I asked him whether he can see any career line in my palm, but instead of answering that question, he sees these two lines which are inner side my palm below my little finger. He said, "either you will have an affair or you had." My question is having feelings for Steward comes under an affair. Of course, internet considers it as an emotional affair. If I have an affair in future, does that mean - will I meet him again. Don't worry, I'm not thinking about having an affair, but I am just curious about human brain and its reaction to certain events.

Well, at least for today, it doesn't matter whether I meet him or not, because he will always be there with me as a person who inspires me to be my best, who indirectly wants to see me, doing my best. I think, this kind of person who was always there with me in my deep thoughts, but after steward came into my life, the imaginary guy has a face now, and that is steward's face. Steward turned himself into this imaginary guy whom I carried all along with me. If I do anything good or achieve anything or someone praises me for something, whom do I think about?? Steward!

Sometimes I worry about giving someone that kind of status because nobody can come equivalent to that perfectionism which I carry in my head. Definitely, I would love to see Steward, but I am scared to find the real him as he may disappoint me. I am not carrying lofty goals, but meager thing like being a very good guy  with real helpful nature, high morals...just a sweet honest guy, somebody who is believable, the guy whom I met on June 7th 2011. Of course, I don't worry about him getting disappointed at me because I know for sure that he will. That is easy to predict.

For people who constantly date, whatever happened on June 7th 2011, was just pretty ordinary, that is just the beginning of finding and pursuing a mate, but the thing is it happened with me, a person who has been brought up in Indian environment where at least during my times, dating was not popular. All you do is study and get married and start a family. There is no time for like the instant feelings I felt for steward or someone who makes you feel special or your needs are their first priority kind of relationship. Of course, I analyzed a lot about what's realistic and what can be dreamy irrational desires. I'm too late for anything to be changed in my life, so I'm not going anywhere or will run away with anybody. Time to time, some rare events happen in everybody's life, you analyze it for a while, and then you forget or you gain experience, and sort out your priorities. I can curse myself for being foolish or just accept for who I am, and give myself some time and patience till I come out of craziness. The more I fight with myself, the more I'll hate myself and my decisions, but if I just accept the way it is, and not worry about critic within myself, then I'll be okay. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0TP-XBPplw

Check out this website to see more of her who loves Lufthansa more than I do. Definitely, life changing event might have happened on that plane. A lost soul waiting to get united!! Well, I think I'm crazy by doing oil painting and wallowing over a person from all most two years, but there are people who are crazier than me. From time to time, they astonish me with their craziness,  and beauty of them is they don't care about anything other than their strong belief. Sometimes craziness is good, it leads you to higher/unique destination, and sometimes visit to mental hospital.