THINGS TO CONSIDER
Changing teachers is like changing schools, there are many factors to consider and the adjustment is difficult. After you have considered your REASONS FOR CHANGE, next consider the issues on this page. Then if you still feel a change is needed, continue on to A GOOD TRANSITION.
ADJUSTMENT PERIOD: Depending on the student's level of ability, the reasons for change and the student's age, the adjustment period can be as short as 6 months or as long as 2 years. Only through regular consultation with the teacher can the student/parent understand the progress being made during the adjustment period. Although the teacher will usually list many things she/he wants to address right away with the new student, there are likely to be many other issues in the back of his/her mind which are not appropriate to mention until more time has passed and the relationship is more solid. As with many things in life, the adjustment period is more likely to end as a wimper - rather than a bang.
BE HONEST: The new teacher needs to know as much about the student as possible, especially any issues you had regarding past progress or the old teacher. Hiding things from the teacher makes the transition more difficult and longer. If necessary, schedule consultation time to discuss issues privately without the student present, so that the parents and teacher can talk freely. All heatlh, emotional, behavioral, cognitive and developmental issues (as they are applicable) must be disclosed to the new teacher. Discovering a child has ADHD on the fifth lesson is too late. The teacher could have approached the new student very differently and potentially avoided several problems.
TALK TO YOUR CHILD: Being honest with your child is just as important as being honest with your teacher. Does your son/daughter understand why you are considering a change? DO YOU? Do you know what issues are important to your son/daughter? Are you weighing them as well as your own reasons for change? Are you helping your daughter/son process this change? Do not make any decisions unilaterally and make sure that you and your son/daughter are working through the transition issues together.
KNOW YOUR EXPECTATIONS: Just as the new teacher will have different expectations of the new student, you should be aware of what your own expectations are of the new teacher. Finding a teacher who seems to have very high credentials and a studio full of star performers does NOT mean that teacher can make your daughter/son into another star performer, and certainly not overnight. Remember that a good student will progress despite a bad teacher, and a bad student will fail despite a good teacher. Although the decision to change is probably for good reasons, and the new teacher is likely to be much better for the student, the rate of change and progress will be much slower than you expect. If a student progressed at a certain rate with the old teacher, it is not likely that the same student will progress twice or three times faster with a better teacher. On the contrary, it is quite likely that during the transition period so many issues have to be addressed and so much catch up material learned, that the student may seem not to progress at all. This is reality, and sometimes difficult to grasp completely. In the beginning of a transition, the parents MUST be in attendance at the lesson (every week for at least 6 months). Personal observation will help you understand how the transition is going, and whether you must adjust your own personal expectations. Is the student learning new material at every lesson? Is the student now answering questions correctly when before he/she did not know the answer? If participating in juried evaluations, is the student advancing to the next level? Just as an employer will provide orientation and training to a new employee, a teacher of a transfer student will always give specific goals and tasks to the new student which can be measured easily. If you cannot answer "yes" to the above three questions, discuss these issues with your new teacher to get a better understanding of the goals and tasks. Placing your faith in clear observations is the best way to measure progress.
(Procced to A GOOD TRANSITION to understand what to expect during the transition period.)