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#1507267 - 09/01/10 03:31 PM unexpected situation
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1654
Loc: northern California
Hi All,
A student of mine took July and August off from lessons. Mom understood that she might lose her time slot with me, given this lengthy hiatus. We left it that she would return this week for her lesson if I was able to hold her slot, which I actually did.
This student has been with me for 3 years.
I phoned the student's mom last weekend (left message) to confirm that I was able to hold her time slot, and confirmed our day and time. She did not phone me back or show up for the lesson. This has never before happened with this family in my studio.
I emailed the mom and placed another phone call (left message) 2 days ago, no response.
Should I go ahead and send them a US post letter, saying I am going to fill her time slot ( now I do have a student who is requesting it) given that I have not heard from them?
Ordinarily that's what I would do, but given the fact that she was a student of mine in good standing for the past 3 years, I'm not sure how to handle this.
Perhaps they've fallen on hard times and are not comfortable telling me? Perhaps they found another teacher?? What do you think?
Piano Teacher

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#1507271 - 09/01/10 03:43 PM Re: unexpected situation [Re: Barb860]
AZNpiano Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 7026
Loc: Orange County, CA
This has happened to me before, too. Just dump the student and fill the slot with a more deserving student.
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

#1507281 - 09/01/10 04:02 PM Re: unexpected situation [Re: Barb860]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2651
Hi Barb860,
I would go ahead and fill the spot. It is difficult when someone you trusted has not returned as scheduled or responded to calls. At most I would send an e-mail to say that the lesson time has been taken.

I had this happen. Parent was supposedly only taking off one month (June), then July rolls around and no show for lst 2 lessons. 2nd lesson I called. Mom said that oh, the time did not suit them etc...and they're not returning. I was surprised at the lack of notice.

But to beat all, the mother called the end of August saying they're interested in lessons starting September. She accepted a time I offered, but then I reminded her of the "re-enrollment" fee. Now they're thinking about it again. (I really do not want this family back due to their leaving without notice. But I didn't have to say so. The re-enrollment fee was enough of a deterrent for them.)

Edited by Ann in Kentucky (09/01/10 04:04 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity

#1507287 - 09/01/10 04:24 PM Re: unexpected situation [Re: Barb860]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4756
Loc: San Jose, CA
You could make one more try, Barb, but you have to think of your business. There could be many reasons for their non-response, from an out-of-town trip to a family emergency, from a boy-crazy teenager to a capture by another teacher.

If they don't wish to tell you their business, it is their right. Maybe the student has been sent to a home for wayward girls and the family doesn't care to mention it.

Anyway, you've done what you can.

#1507309 - 09/01/10 05:03 PM Re: unexpected situation [Re: Barb860]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I'm probably the wrong person to give an opinion, because I tend to give way too many chances.

In this case, I would probably send them one more message, explaining that you'd held the time slot open for them, but since you haven't heard from them, and they didn't come to lessons this week, you are going to go ahead and give the time slot to another student who has requested it. If they are still interested in lessons, please call you right away to see if you can work something out.

If you have an email address, I would also send the message by email, just in case they aren't checking phone messages.

Then I would probably wait 24 hours before actually offering the slot to the other student.
piano teacher

#1507346 - 09/01/10 06:13 PM Re: unexpected situation [Re: Barb860]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7639
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
A student of mine took July and August off from lessons. Mom understood that she might lose her time slot with me, given this lengthy hiatus. We left it that she would return this week for her lesson if I was able to hold her slot, which I actually did.

I phoned the student's mom last weekend (left message) to confirm that I was able to hold her time slot, and confirmed our day and time. She did not phone me back or show up for the lesson.

So, there's no issue here. At the time you called, the time was available, but the fall semester has begun, and now it's no longer available. What ever the reason for the non-response, you are under no obligation to hold it, in fact, doing anything more at this point smacks of desperation.

If and when the parent calls, you can fall all over yourself with effusive apologies, but regretfully, because mom never contacted you, and you simply had no way of knowing what their intentions were, that particular time is no longer available. Perhaps, just perhaps, you could squeeze her in somewhere else.
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

#1507375 - 09/01/10 07:11 PM Re: unexpected situation [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1654
Loc: northern California
Thank you for your replies!

Jeff Clef: I should have been clear about wondering the reason why they have not phoned me back. You are correct, it's not my business to know their personal affairs or reason why they would not resume lessons. All I need is a call back from them, one way or the other, saying yes or no, that's it. I wasn't getting any contact from them so then I started wondering why...

I have filled the time slot with another student, as of this afternoon. If the mom phones me back and wants to resume lessons, I will offer her other openings that I have.
I appreciate your support here!
Piano Teacher

#1507442 - 09/01/10 10:02 PM Re: unexpected situation [Re: Barb860]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3769
Sorry for coming in late on this...

This happens were I work all the time, and rarely becomes a problem because people understand that only by continuing thru the summer, or by paying in advance, that they will get to keep their time slot.

Also, whenever the subject presents itself, I use the opportunity to remind people of both that rule, and also that the times that most people want for young people (2:30 pm to about 6:00 pm) are "prime time", and those slots fill quickly, so if they want one, reserve your slot now.
Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.

A Boogie-Woogie Video: https://youtu.be/UhVkxZIVe-g

#1507660 - 09/02/10 09:41 AM Re: unexpected situation [Re: Barb860]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 15405
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Barb, I think you have done your due diligence in keeping a time slot for her and communicating to her that it's there. If you wish to send her a letter, let her know that you could not keep the time slot since she had not gotten back to you, but if she woudl like to take lessons in the future to please give you a call.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#1507725 - 09/02/10 11:40 AM Re: unexpected situation [Re: Barb860]
CarolR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/05
Posts: 350
Loc: wisconsin
Just make sure she's not answering because they are out of town. Has school started yet? If so, they must be in town - and I'd go ahead and schedule someone else.
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