When you teach private lessons, it's only a matter of time before one of your students bursts into tears in a lesson. This is a shocking experience the first time around, and I thought I'd share some advice about that today.
Don't take it personally.
Unless you're a jerk, chances are low that you did something to make your student cry. It's far more likely that your student is stressed out or going through some personal issues that are taxing them emotionally.
Provide immediate comfort.
Take care of your student's basic needs of the moment; tissues, a chair to sit down, a glass of water, and a place to put their flute down. After they start to calm down, you can assess the situation.
Ask your student what upset them.
You might get an immediate, clear answer or you might have to dig a little to understand. Either way, if a student reaches the point of tears in a lesson, it's time to take a break and figure out what's going on.
Send an update to the parents.
Shoot the student's guardians a quick email after the lesson to let them know what happened. You don't have to get into details if it doesn't seem appropriate, but you should at least let the parents know that their child was upset in their lesson so they can have a chance to check in.
Hopefully you never have to handle this particular situation in your own studio, but now you'll be prepared if it happens! If you have any tips and tricks for comforting an agitated student, share them in the comments!