A letter to my boss.

Dear Boss,

Before I start, I trust you will appreciate the honesty of the following paragraphs.

When I accepted the position of harp tutor at your school at the beginning of the year, I did it with enthusiasm and with an attitude of commitment. That is the person I am: when I decide to take on something, I commit to it and work hard. I always work hard at what I do.

At the beginning of the year, I had six students. Now, halfway through the year, I have four. Within six months, a third of my students have quit. I know that is not a nice number, and it is not something I am proud of. I am also aware of another student who is considering quitting. That would be half of the harp students discontinuing their lessons.

I feel ashamed, embarrassed, and responsible for the girls’ quitting. I do not know if I am taking it too personally or not. After all, they did not attend their lessons consistently; they often forgot their books; they were irresponsive to my ideas and suggestions; they did not put in a lot of practice. Maybe they had, or have, personal issues that stop them from putting in any work in the instrument or their lesson. Maybe they would just rather focus on school work, rather than music. Maybe I shouldn’t take it personally, but I am, because that is the sort of person I am: when I work hard at something and it fails, I take the blame for it.

At this stage, I do not see myself taking on any new students (especially younger ones); nor do I see myself working at your school next year. The sense of shame and responsibility I feel, the sense of failure that I am not a good teacher which is reinforced by those students quitting, is overwhelming and powerful – and worse, it demotivates me from working, which I know will impact on my teaching for those other, good students.

I realise I am unsuited for this job. I do know how to play the harp; but I do not know how to teach it well, how to engage students, and how to keep them. I do not think you would want someone with so little experience, knowledge and skills on your team. Furthermore, my passion for music is decreasing rapidly, so I have nothing to bring to the students.

I do remember at my job interview last year being entirely honest with you. Not only did I confess I do not want a career in music, but I also admitted finding myself unable to motivate younger students. Considering what I said that day and that you still went on to employ me, a part of me does not hold myself completely accountable for the mediocre I have produced this past half year.

Nevertheless, I am unsure how to cope with knowing I have failed the students and the school somehow (and myself); I do not remember the last time I have felt so bad and worthless, like such a failure. I would be lying if I said that this job is affecting me emotionally, because it is. However, I will remain committed until the end of my contract, and hope you will understand my desire not to renew it next year. I cannot keep doing a job that eats away my confidence and self-esteem.

Kind regards,

Eliza.

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