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Old 13th November 2009, 10:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Wheres the teacher?

Wheres the teacher?



IN the span of 11 months, more than 12 complaints have popped up on the Internet, all against the same piano teacher.

The charge? She demands advance payment, but never gets around to conducting lessons.

Mrs Koo Dai Wan, 27, claims to be a qualified piano teacher with years of teaching experience, and certificates from various prestigious music institutions.

But complaints have appeared on local forums about her. She posts advertisements online under her maiden name Maxine Teng.

The trouble started when a disgruntled student warned others on a local music forum not to engage Mrs Koo.

Within a few weeks, other users had joined in the discussion, with some citing similar bad experiences with the teacher.

According to the students, Mrs Koo would ask for advance payment ranging from $140 to $625, depending on the type and number of lessons to be taught.

On being paid, she would then repeatedly postpone or cancel the lessons.

Miss Annie Tan, 25, who works in a music school, said: 'I came across Mrs Koo's notice in early August this year, on a free online classifieds board. As I was looking for a piano teacher to help me pursue my diploma, I decided to book 12 lessons with her.'

Before their first lesson, Mrs Koo asked that Miss Tan pay the total fee of $625 in advance, saying that her husband had run into financial difficulties.

Miss Tan said: 'I had already given her half of the course payment in addition to the $140 registration fee for the exam, so I decided to help her and paid her the remainder.'

However, when the time came for the lessons, Mrs Koo repeatedly postponed them, giving excuses such as illness and the death of her father.

'Throughout all this time, she communicated with me only through text messages and refused to pick up my calls,' said Miss Tan.

After several weeks, she lodged a report with the police and demanded a refund.

Miss Tan subsequently chanced upon the forum thread while surfing the Internet, and got in touch with another student who had a similar experience.

When The New Paper contacted Mrs Koo, she admitted that she had postponed several of her lessons, attributing it to personal problems. She insisted that she is a good teacher.

She said: 'I do my best for every student I teach. There are many students whom I have helped pass exams. I don't need to account to anyone other than my students.'

Mrs Koo's qualifications have also been subject of discussion among the netizens.

On several online advertisements she posted, she claimed to have a Master's in Music from the University of Michigan.

But when The New Paper spoke to her, she claimed to have graduated from the Royal College of Music, London, with a Master's in Piano Study and a diploma from the Australian Music Examinations Board.

'My qualifications have been verified and I am a legitimate teacher,' said Mrs Koo, who declined to answer when asked if she had a degree from the University of Michigan.

Also, on various notices posted between last year and this year, she gave varying figures for her teaching experience, ranging from 10 to 16 years.

Netizens pointed out that as Mrs Koo was 27, she would have started teaching at the age of 11 if she had done so for 16 years.

When The New Paper spoke to her, she said that she had been teaching since she left school at 16. When asked about the discrepancies, she declined to answer and hung up.

Subsequent attempts to reach her on the phone were unsuccessful. She claimed through text messages that her phone was faulty.

Previous case

Before to the furore on the local music forum, she had also been the subject of controversy on a mother's website earlier this year.

Ms Ong, 35, who declined to give her full name, had come across a notice advertising piano lessons in November last year.

Wanting to provide piano lessons for her daughter, she engaged the services of Mrs Koo.

Ms Ong said: 'She came for one lesson, and during that session, I paid $140 for four lessons in total. 'Subsequently, she repeatedly postponed lessons until I was fed-up and demanded a refund, which she gave to me only after two months.'

Although Mrs Koo claims to have made full refund to all her students, this is disputed by Miss Tan.

Said Miss Tan: 'After I made the police report, she refunded $300 and said that she would return the rest in a few weeks' time.

'However, two months on, I'm still waiting for the full refund.'

The police have confirmed that a report has been lodged and that they are currently looking into the matter.

Source: http://news.asiaone.com/News/Educati...11-179304.html

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