well, that was awkward

I just parted ways with my trumpet teacher, finally. I have been worried for a week over how to break it to him without being confrontational. I hate confrontations. For those close to me who are laughing out loud at that right now (Hi, Mom!), I know. I have no problem confronting people close to me. It's people I don't like/don't trust or people I don't know very well that I'm unwilling to confront. In the end, I decided to go with the economy excuse. You know, things are tough, we're tightening our budget, I'm really sorry. Which is kind of true. But not true that I don't still want trumpet lessons.

I had sort of decided to wait until the lesson was just about over to tell him. Fortunately, when he arrived, he gave me the perfect opening. Unfortunately, I now feel like an asshole. But I totally made the right decision.

He asked me how my week was. I gave him my non-response that it was fine. He then volunteered that he'd had a rough week; a family with two kids studying with him just canceled due to financial reasons. I said, "Well, I really hate to tell you this, but I'm kind of in the same boat." I told him I was really sorry, things were tight right now, and this being the 8th lesson in the package of 8, this would be our last lesson. I said again that I was sorry.

He sighed deeply and said, "Well, I guess God has other plans for me." And went on to beg me to give his name to anyone in the area I might know who needs lessons. On any instrument. We carried on with the lesson, but I ran it. I told him what we were playing when and what I wanted to work on. And he did the most helpful thing he's done the entire time I've studied with him -- played the keyboard to accompany me on something I'm working on to perform with Mom in church.

But he was constantly peppering in these sad-puppy-dog-eyes pleas to keep his cell phone number and recommend him to anyone I might know in the area. I told him I would. (I have never programmed his cell phone number into my phone.)

I feel terrible. I am too nice, and I had to work hard to steel myself against his pathetic response. It was hard. However, his reaction confirms my decision to discontinue lessons. It was completely unprofessional for him to do that to me during a lesson I paid a lot of money for. Even if I had been completely truthful and it was only financial worries keeping me from continuing lessons, that would have been enough to make me decide never to rehire him. That, plus the fact that he hugged me when he left and I couldn't move fast enough to prevent it.

That was difficult, and I feel guilty about it and sorry for him. But it was the right decision; I am sure of that. I am glad it's over. I wonder if the family with two kids was truthful with him about their reason for quitting.


Elena said...

It sounds as if he was very unprofessional in several respects. I can relate to you on feeling badly for confrontations like that, but know that it was entirely his behavior, while you were his student, and as you informed him that you were leaving, that caused you to leave in the first place. You should be proud that you held firm. :)

maresi said...

You really have nothing to be concerned about - I think you handled it very maturely. What a weirdo!

And for the record, I've never ever seen you shy away from telling someone exactly what you thought.

Anonymous said...

Amy - In these situations, always remember that you are the CUSTOMER! If you don't want to buy something for whatever reason, reasons are personal, you just don't have to buy from someone if you don't want. So YOU GO GIRL!!!!Love auntiepatty

Katherine said...

Good for you! You did the right thing... I'm just surprised you made it through all 8 lessons before giving him the boot!

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