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make up lessons
#1918309 06/24/12 10:28 PM
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I have a policy that I thought was very clear on make up lessons. It goes something like "I do not guarantee that I can make up a lesson, but I will try to make it up if I have an available slot, or, I have a make-up week at the end of the year". But I also say that in order to make up a lesson, I need to know 24 hours in advance. I will not make up lessons cancelled that day. But, most cancellations are a sick kid, right? and mostly, people discover it that day. Do you try to make up those lessons? Is this fair?


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Re: make up lessons
CarolR #1918333 06/25/12 12:11 AM
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The easiest thing is to have a 'no makeup' policy. It's really difficult for parents to argue with you about it. That being said, you have the right to make exceptions to your policy depending upon the particular student and his/her situation.

Is it fair for whom? You? Yes, it's fair. The student is paying for you to honor a specific time slot for his/her lesson. When a student misses a lesson you cannot recoup the lost income, should you give a makeup lesson at another day/time.


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Re: make up lessons
CarolR #1918443 06/25/12 08:13 AM
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I have found that when I don't do make-ups for sickness I end up teaching sick kids which makes me sick. Since I'm also a performer, I cannot afford to get sick (nor do I wish to make my students sick), so I always do make-ups for sickness, even if it's last-minute. It happens with kids, it's a fact of life, and I try not to make that a burden on families. I have designated make-up days throughout the year that I can use so then I don't have to take up my free time for make-ups.


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Re: make up lessons
CarolR #1918455 06/25/12 08:44 AM
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Carol, you are raising an issue to which there is no clear answer. You can have a rigid policy, a generous policy, or a flexible policy. Or no policy at all.

I think it depends on what sort of person you are, and what sort of person you want to present yourself as. How comfortable are you saying "no" is basically what it comes down to.

It also depends on how busy you are: some piano teachers who teach a zillion students a week simply can't contend with make-up lessons. Some of these latter teachers get into "swap lists."

I guess you should picture yourself as your own paying student, or mother of a student, and try out the different make-up lesson scenarios of studying piano with you.

If you ask me, we all muddle through on this one.




Re: make up lessons
CarolR #1918513 06/25/12 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by CarolR
But, most cancellations are a sick kid, right?

Most of the cancellations I get are due to family travelling or having other events or extracurricular activities scheduled at the same time as their lesson. Sometimes these can be rescheduled in advance.

I do have in my policy a request that if your child is sick to please keep your child home. I have not often had kids arrive sick. Mostly I tell parents I hope the kid feels better soon and I'll plan to see the child next week...and the parents are fine with that.

I don't offer makeup lessons, yet last week a kid's mom cancelled due to car not starting. In two years they've had no special requests. And another kid is taking off for summer and so there was a suitable opening. In other words, I sometimes make an exception.

Re: make up lessons
CarolR #1918569 06/25/12 03:19 PM
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I have been so much happier going to a "no makeup" policy. I've never had a problem with a parent sending a student if they are sick. I'm going to offer Skype lessons this fall if someone is too sick to make it, or they can check in with me via phone during their lesson time for further assignments.

But I have made exceptions...in the case of a grandmother who lived with the student went into hospice, died at home, funeral was out of town...I just rescheduled those lessons to other weeks. The student also works hard in their lesson and the parents pay on time, so I'm glad to make an exception where I feel it is in the best interest of the child.


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Re: make up lessons
Stanny #1918663 06/25/12 08:55 PM
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Here's the long and short of the situation. Most student extra-curricular activities are scheduled long in advance. Athletic events require facility scheduling; arts events, like dance, require coordination. Church activities are not organized on the spur of the moment. For that matter, family trips are not scheduled on the fly, but are usually well-planned events. Parents have to forecast vacation times with their bosses, make reservations, etc. etc. On and on. Parents who fail to mark their calendar (or update their electronic gizmo) and suddenly realize there is a conflict at the 11th hour have a problem. But you and I, the teacher, do not. I recommend you do not allow an inept parent to shift the burden of responsibility to you.

I have just finished my calendar for teaching for school year 2012 - 2013. Holiday's, recitals, special events, are all marked. This is hard work and time consuming, but it's part and parcel of being a pro. If you teach school-aged students, go to the school district's web page and download the academic calendar for the coming year, then build your studio calendar.

With this in hand, parents have NO excuse. Zero, nada, rien. The can easily advise you of dates they cannot make and work a reschedule. For parents to wait until 7:30 AM of the student's lesson date, and expect you to somehow magically rework your life around their short-sightedness, is the height of conceit. The problem we have as teachers, as independent business men and women, are that some of us are wimps and cannot bring themselves to construct, let alone implement and enforce, studio policies which are for the most part what ought to be common courtesies.

What to do about children who come to lessons with colds (hopefully, parents are savvy enough to keep those with more severe illnesses at home)? Evaluate them when they arrive, and if they should be home in bed, march them out to the parent's car and send them on their way. And if you're good at this, shame them. Tell them junior should be home in bed, not out running around. With your body language and tenor of voice, you can ask the question, what kind of monstrous parent are you who would subject your kid to this kind a treatment. Maybe you should contact child protective services? This is an argument a parent cannot win. Of course, you have other options. You can tell them that if there is a repeat occurrence, junior will be dropped from the studio.

To summarize: the 24 hr notification requirement is more than generous. If parents cannot deal with this, you need to assess whether their student is truly an asset to your studio. And don't think that by yielding you're doing it for the student. You're not. The student can learn from the situation, if they have any smarts. And if they're too young to learn such a lesson, then a missed lesson here and there isn't going to impact them all that much, either.

Climbing down from my [Linked Image] now.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
Re: make up lessons
CarolR #1918680 06/25/12 09:53 PM
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I just knew John would have some wise thoughts, if he posted! But he's also more forceful than most of us.

Re: make up lessons
Peter K. Mose #1918688 06/25/12 10:14 PM
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Peter, that's what happens to me after a hard day of working my butt off for my students and a glass of wine. Don't call me and tell me you "forgot." Suck it up as a monument to your poor planning (or stupidity).


"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
Re: make up lessons
CarolR #1918690 06/25/12 10:21 PM
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I've found that, with the make-up policy, it has to be cut and dry. It can be flexible or rigid, but it has to be black and white, leaving little room for interpretation. If there's some grey area, you will have parents trying to see what they can get away with. (I just dealt with this today!)


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Re: make up lessons
John v.d.Brook #1918696 06/25/12 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Here's the long and short of the situation. Most student extra-curricular activities are scheduled long in advance. Athletic events require facility scheduling; arts events, like dance, require coordination. Church activities are not organized on the spur of the moment. For that matter, family trips are not scheduled on the fly, but are usually well-planned events. Parents have to forecast vacation times with their bosses, make reservations, etc. etc. On and on. Parents who fail to mark their calendar (or update their electronic gizmo) and suddenly realize there is a conflict at the 11th hour have a problem. But you and I, the teacher, do not. I recommend you do not allow an inept parent to shift the burden of responsibility to you.

I have just finished my calendar for teaching for school year 2012 - 2013. Holiday's, recitals, special events, are all marked. This is hard work and time consuming, but it's part and parcel of being a pro. If you teach school-aged students, go to the school district's web page and download the academic calendar for the coming year, then build your studio calendar.

With this in hand, parents have NO excuse. Zero, nada, rien. The can easily advise you of dates they cannot make and work a reschedule. For parents to wait until 7:30 AM of the student's lesson date, and expect you to somehow magically rework your life around their short-sightedness, is the height of conceit. The problem we have as teachers, as independent business men and women, are that some of us are wimps and cannot bring themselves to construct, let alone implement and enforce, studio policies which are for the most part what ought to be common courtesies.

What to do about children who come to lessons with colds (hopefully, parents are savvy enough to keep those with more severe illnesses at home)? Evaluate them when they arrive, and if they should be home in bed, march them out to the parent's car and send them on their way. And if you're good at this, shame them. Tell them junior should be home in bed, not out running around. With your body language and tenor of voice, you can ask the question, what kind of monstrous parent are you who would subject your kid to this kind a treatment. Maybe you should contact child protective services? This is an argument a parent cannot win. Of course, you have other options. You can tell them that if there is a repeat occurrence, junior will be dropped from the studio.

To summarize: the 24 hr notification requirement is more than generous. If parents cannot deal with this, you need to assess whether their student is truly an asset to your studio. And don't think that by yielding you're doing it for the student. You're not. The student can learn from the situation, if they have any smarts. And if they're too young to learn such a lesson, then a missed lesson here and there isn't going to impact them all that much, either.

Climbing down from my [Linked Image] now.


John.....HERE HERE!!!!! "insert applause emoticon".... thumb


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