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Joined: Aug 2002
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Hi teachers,

I was wondering the different ways you have set up your policies around summer-time teaching. Do you not teach during the summer? Do you plan to teach (and charge) the same as any other time during the year? Do you allow tuition reduction or make ups due to family vacations?

I'm interested to know what works and what doesn't.

Thanks!

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It took me a few years but it has now settled down to taking one summer month off. However, the student must pay tuition in advance for one-half month in July and one-half month in August. That way I know they will be coming back at the end of August and not wait until September or later to start back up. I need my tuition to live on. So it seems that they have one month when they don't pay, but in reality, I have averaged the yearly tuition over 11 monthly payments. I do not give refunds for vacations unless they are missing more than one month. In that case, depending on how the dates fall, I may waive tution for the month they are gone. But, again, they must pay one month's tuition in advance to hold their spot for when they come back.

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After many years of teaching, I still do not like how I handle Summer time.
My dream is to teach 8 out of 10 weeks of summer and have perfect attendance from all students.
I know it can never happen.


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I notify students that I require a minimum of 6 lessons over the summer, but I encourage more simply because 6 will help them to not regress. I let them know of which weeks I'm available, (usually 8-9 weeks out of the 12 or so). I also tell them which days in those weeks. This summer I gave myself 3 days of teaching with 2 days "off" because I wanted to have those extra days to focus on my own music. It did mean that my teaching days were a bit extended, but I think I'd rather have that than have one or two students on some days.


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I teach throughout summer because local school districts have different calendars, and some year-round kids start school in early August.

As for the number of lessons, I leave it up to the family. I give each family a certain number of "days off" during the year, and it's up to them when to use their "days off." It has worked out well for me except for the overbooked children. Some of these children I teach are overbooked with extracurricular events throughout the year, and even more so during the summer! I've learned to be flexible and work with the kids' crazy scheduling.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I teach throughout summer because local school districts have different calendars, and some year-round kids start school in early August.

As for the number of lessons, I leave it up to the family. I give each family a certain number of "days off" during the year, and it's up to them when to use their "days off." It has worked out well for me except for the overbooked children. Some of these children I teach are overbooked with extracurricular events throughout the year, and even more so during the summer! I've learned to be flexible and work with the kids' crazy scheduling.
Can you expound a bit on the "days off" idea? Do you charge the same rate and they're allowed a certain number of lessons within that?


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Every summer is somewhat different here. I generally have about 2/3rds or more of my usual load, a bit higher in June and August, smaller in July. I just try to think up things to do during the times when I would normally be teaching when full.

I never know who will be away, or how long. I have a general idea, but each year it is a surprise. For instance, this July I have perhaps more than I expected of students (with the support of their parents) who don't want to stop.

I always took lessons in the summer. I only stopped when my teacher went on vacation, one month in the summer.

We do not take vacations - no money for that...

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Hi Gary (and everybody),

I always find it interesting that the annual decrease in summer revenue is something like 30% no matter where you live in North America or who you teach. I have no idea what it's like in Europe, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear it's the same pretty much.

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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Can you expound a bit on the "days off" idea? Do you charge the same rate and they're allowed a certain number of lessons within that?

Well, in a year of 52 weeks, I give students anywhere between 5 and 12 weeks off, depending on their level and if they're on the testing track or not. So the kids with 12 weeks off can take the entire summer off without lessons, but then they can't miss any lessons during the regular school year, and no make-up lessons. Families can use their "days off" however they want. If they've had perfect attendance all the way through October, then they can (theoretically) take the entire November and December off. Of course, that hasn't happened yet.


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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Every summer is somewhat different here. I generally have about 2/3rds or more of my usual load, a bit higher in June and August, smaller in July.

Ditto here, except that my teaching load tends to dramatically decrease in August. A lot of school districts here start late, after Labor Day, so families tend to take the late vacation. It's also really hot here in August, so families probably want to get away from the heat as much as possible.

My teaching load last summer was about 33% of the regular load, since so many families decided to go on vacations. Could it be a sign of financial recovery?


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I do think that more families took of on vacations this year. I had as much as 75-80% of my usual load last summer, but I think many families chose to continue lessons because they did feel they had the money to leave the area.

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I haven't been affected by loss of income during the summer since I went to annual tuition divided into 12 equal installments.


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Originally Posted by Minniemay
I haven't been affected by loss of income during the summer since I went to annual tuition divided into 12 equal installments.


This is also how my teacher handles tuition. One might consider also viewing it as a non-prorated monthly tuition, meaning no unpaid weeks off, however, it obviously certainly sounds better to the consumer to present it in the way that Minnie just did.

Regardless of how families may see the policy, he has a full studio and an accumulating waiting list.

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Originally Posted by Minniemay
I haven't been affected by loss of income during the summer since I went to annual tuition divided into 12 equal installments.


How many weeks you charge your annual tuition based on? 52 weeks?


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Originally Posted by Minniemay
I haven't been affected by loss of income during the summer since I went to annual tuition divided into 12 equal installments.


Same here. Not to mention it helped during the school year. I probably quadrupled my summer income doing this. The only issue is people paying on time still *sigh*


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My calendar goes from Sept. 1 through June 20 and they are offered 36 lessons with 6 group lessons they may count as make-up lessons. If they don't use up all 36 by June 20, they are forfeited. Students may register for extra lessons if they use up the 36 by the deadline. In that case, I total the number of extra lessons and assess the fee.


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