Scheduling make-ups - How to deal with missed lessons?

Talk with other teachers, exchange tips, participate in polls regarding a teaching studio business

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:14 am

pianoannie wrote:
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:For good and sufficient reason, some teachers refuse to provide make-up lessons under any circumstances. One question I have with respect to that policy is: how do you handle the situation where students, particularly kids, are ill on the day of the lesson? Presumably, you don't want the student to spread the illness to you or others, but, if you don't allow make-ups in that circumstance, many students will come to the lesson when they really shouldn't.

You ask a good question Dr Z, so I'll share my reasons for not giving makeups for illness:
1. When I used to give makeups for illness, people would simply lie (and yes I know this for a fact).
2. Yes, sometimes students will be ill, but their illness should not necessitate me working on one of my days off (in the same way that when my children are sick and miss school, I do not expect their teachers to come in and make up missed classes).
3. When I know that a student will be absent, I phone the student who comes before and/or after the empty time slot, and offer to give them some extra time that week. Throughout the course of a year, lesson time lost tends to be balanced out by these lessons that are lengthened.

In general, sick kids at lessons just hasn't been a problem for me. Sure, kids may come with the sniffles or a cough, but I've never had a student show up seriously ill. I do require my students to wash hands before lesson, and I wipe the keys between students.

You're right that people will lie about illness, sometimes intentionally to get a make-up lesson and sometimes innocently as a "white lie" to cover the fact that they just don't want to go to a piano lesson that day. We saw that here too. Usually about 2 minutes conversation with the student after the parents depart will reveal the lie. As long as the provision of make-ups is done at the discretion of the teacher, not the student or parent, the problems of lying and people wanting make-ups at unacceptable times are greatly reduced.

One comment about kids with "coughs and sniffles." That stage of a viral illness is usually when they are most contagious! If, along with the coughs and sniffles, the child is running a fever of any sort, the other major indicator of contagiousness, he should stay home. The more precautions one takes against transmission of germs and viruses, the better, but I don't know how one could be sure to disinfect every surface a sick child touches or might touch during the course of his time at the studio. This raises the question of whether a teacher should have a policy statement regarding coming to lessons while ill in their studio policy. Anybody have anything like that in their policies?

You say that what you're doing works for you and that should be the only relevant criterion for you. I just think that readers of this thread should keep in mind that it is the policy of every large corporation and governmental entity that sick workers stay home, at least for the first couple days when they are most contagious. It is generally thought that sick workers cost companies more money due to transmission of illness than their productivity during their illness generates. :(
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby Stretto » Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:26 am

I realize some may lie about being sick, but I have maybe only once had the possibility that might have happened. If someone does lie about being sick, then they will have to live with a guilty conscience of having done so, hopefully, so I don't worry about it if someone lies about being sick. Someone could only use the sick excuse so many times before a question would be raised if they were really sick that many times and those who might do so would probably show other signs of a lack of commitment as well in which one might find other justification to drop them.

From my experience, most parents of the students I've had don't send their kids sick because they realize the child is not feeling well enough to sit through a lesson. Also if they have been sick for a few days already, the parents usually add that they haven't practiced much as another reason from they're perspective for it not being worth it to bring them.

I had one girl come with really red cheeks and announce, "we think I may have strep throat!" - (shock). Another girl complained at the lesson she felt sick to her stomach. I did tell her mother when she picked her up. Perhaps one should just call the parents to come get the student in such cases. I guess one could write in the policy something along the lines of the public schools policy. One has to be fever free for 24 hours, no sore throats, no viral "stomach problem" for 24 hrs., etc. The school will send kids home with a fever or "stomach problems" so a piano teacher could call a parent to get them and discontinue the lesson and have them sit somewhere in the studio until they're parents come.

As far as writing a policy along the lines of a company for employees or along the lines of school's sick policies, I've known more people who come to work and send kids to school sick, than I have known people who adhere to the sick policies. I guess as I mentioned such a policy would at least give the teacher the leverage to discontinue the lesson and send a child home if they showed up sick.

Unless someone came really sick like an obvious fever or viral related stomach problems, I don't worry too much about colds. One has to keep in mind that most of these kids are at school all day exposed to as much and worse than they would be at the lesson not to mention all the other things kids touch and handle all day. They have a lot better chance of getting sick from school or shopping than they do from coming for a piano lesson. In other words by the time they come to lessons, they have already been exposed to a lot more at school the same day. Now days especially with both parents working full-time in many cases and not able to take off work for every little bug, parents send their kids to school sick a lot more than in the "old days". So is my argument that they are around a lot worse for germs than at a piano lesson.

The way I keep from picking up a bug from a student is by making a habit of not touching my mouth, nose, and face with my hands and washing them after the lesson.

Perhaps on an information sheet, a teacher could write a paragraph, "how to cut down the spread of illness in the studio" and send it home with new students as well as reminder notices to those who do come sick.

I personally feel it's best not to get to worried about kids coming with colds at least just because those kinds of bugs are everywhere and as I mentioned before, there's a lot more likely places to get sick than at a lesson. And my advice not to worry is coming from a germ freak! But I'm working on reforming myself.




Edited By Stretto on 1141148172
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

Postby Stretto » Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:55 am

Dr. Zeigler,

I explained that I try to give more leeway for make-ups for those who are sick (even if they lie about it), as well as emergencies and weather. But for those who want to go to another activity rather than come to their lesson, they are more limited in being able to make up the lesson. I have tried to play the part of "Mr. Nice Guy" (or in my case Mrs. nice lady) for make-ups. However, if my "slots" all become full, students won't be able to make up the time for conflicting activities at all unless they trade with someone. However, I charge the same rate whether there are 4 or 5 weeks in a month and I know several teachers do this as well. So the extra occasional week balances out the missed lessons that can't be made up. Also, I have started giving quarterly group get-togethers for students without charging extra for those. So even if I didn't allow make-ups at all, the extra occasional week and the group activities would balance out missed lessons. Pianoannie mentioned she has a lot of extras that balance out not giving make-ups.

Unless I'm reading you wrong, you seem to be trying to make an argument for offering make-ups at least for illness. I wonder if you are personally opposed to the idea of teachers offering no make-up lessons of any kind whatsoever. That's kind of what I'm reading in your posts. Could you come right out and explain your opinion of what you feel is deserving of a make-up and whether in your opinion personally it is too "harsh" to not offer make-ups of any sort? Maybe you already have and I wasn't reading closely enough. I just respect your opinion and wonder what you are getting at in your comments about illness and make-ups.
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:56 pm

Stretto wrote:Unless I'm reading you wrong, you seem to be trying to make an argument for offering make-ups at least for illness. I wonder if you are personally opposed to the idea of teachers offering no make-up lessons of any kind whatsoever. That's kind of what I'm reading in your posts. Could you come right out and explain your opinion of what you feel is deserving of a make-up and whether in your opinion personally it is too "harsh" to not offer make-ups of any sort? Maybe you already have and I wasn't reading closely enough. I just respect your opinion and wonder what you are getting at in your comments about illness and make-ups.

The short "answer" to your question is that I think it depends greatly upon the individual teacher's situation and wishes. As I've said, I think the teacher, not the student or parent, should make the decision whether make-up lessons should be given.

I do think that the teacher has to think through all the ramifications of any policy they may set on missed lessons. Personally, I think it's less than optimal to set any policy that either encourages people to miss lessons, because there are no consequences for doing so, or to set one that makes students feel that they have to come to lessons when it would be better for all concerned if they stayed at home and recuperated. I suppose you could interpret that last statement to mean that I favor giving make-up lessons under some, well-controlled and defined circumstances.

This "middle-ground" approach, in my view, puts the teacher in a better position, legally and morally, than one of having a published policy at either extreme, then granting numerous exceptions to it, especially if these are granted sort of "unofficially." I don't mean to fault or denigrate others who may not share that particular view or approach. They have to do what they think is best for them and their studio.

I find it difficult to answer your question about what I feel is deserving of a make-up, since, by nature, my view of make-ups is that they should be reserved either for extraordinary circumstances, or, if the teacher so chooses, as an occasional consideration for those with exceptionally conflicted schedules. In either case, I think if the teacher is granting a student a make-up for anything more than two of every ten or so lessons, she may need to re-examine her policies regarding make-up lessons, at least for that student. Purely as a matter of personal opinion, I feel that medical emergencies (i.e. entailing an emergency room visit), sickness with contagious disease, and death in the family are some examples of things that might be deserving of a make-up lesson without 24 hours advance notice, should the teacher be willing to give make-ups at all.

For your information and that of others, I feel that this dicussion has been sufficiently interesting and valuable that I have augmented and edited my posts on the subject into a full article for the site, which will appear in the next upgrade in a few days. :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby Stretto » Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:51 pm

I think this has been an interesting topic (as well as frequent missed lessons being a sore subject for myself and I'm sure other teachers!). Thanks, Dr. Zeigler, for your excellent reply to my question.

Here's some more comments/questions I've been wanting to add that I've been waiting until after the discussion regarding illness and missed lessons:

I have recently re-written my policy as I mentioned earlier in such a way to avoid being "burned" by too many problems with students missing lessons because of other activities. But here are a few "bugs" I haven't quite figured out how best to handle and I wondered what others of you would suggest or how you handle these situations:

1. Primarly, students who sign up for a sport, dance, etc. in which practices, games/events conflict with regular lesson time for over a month or more.
One example is that I've had a lot of elementary age girls around 9-12 sign up for basketball which conflicts with scheduled lessons for over a month. Another example is a student that was really involved in dance during certain times of the year. In these instances and similar ones, the parents wanted to change the lesson time temporarily to another day and later in the evening and get their regular lesson time back when the sport was over. This typically means that I end up giving lessons for a prolonged period during times of day I don't normally teach. The student that was in dance and could only come on Fri. afternoon for about 4 months and I grew tired of giving a lesson on Fri. afternoons for that many weeks. Many times the students are good students and committed otherwise. I really don't want to get caught giving lessons for more than a couple weeks during times I wouldn't otherwise. On the other hand, do I just tell these families they will have to pay me for over a month in order to hold their slot? I wonder if some may just quit lessons temporarily and try to get back on after the sport is over. I've had parents wanting to change lesson times temporarily for basketball, softball, swimming, and dance so far.

2. In the summer:
Some students normally come in the afternoon after school but in the summer go to daycamp until their parents get off work which means they can't come until later in the evening. I don't really like having to add more later evening lessons than normal, but in the summer, I just bite the bullet and give more evening lessons because of kids who are at daycamp until later.

3. In the summer: Students who alternate staying with one parent and then the other. Obviously, a student is going to have to miss lessons when staying out of town with one or the other parent. One example I had was the student was available every other week for lessons.

Do others of you have different policies during the summer or not teach during the summer? Should a student who is only available part of the summer have to pay for the entire summer semester? Do you change the hours/times you teach in the summer?


Outside of some of the "bugs" I've encountered that I'm not quite sure how to work out, let me just add a comment about how I think teachers can easily wind up giving too many "favors" for missed lessons and feeling almost like one's generosity with make-ups is taken advantage of.

I think many pianists who think they might want to teach or do plan on teaching, start out with just one or two friends, neighbors, or relatives and I think that these people do expect more "favors" in the way of make-ups or not being charged for missed lessons. It's harder to tell a good friend, or a neighbor, or family member that they still need to pay for the lesson they missed or that you can't make up the time. I think this is probably the easiest way to get started on the path of bending over backwards for everyone in the way of make-ups. I started getting asked to teach by good acquaintances before I really planned to officially teach. Thinking it would be a good way to get some experience teaching a couple students until I was ready to officially teach, I started down the road of doing favors. As I said, friends, family, and neighbors are probably the most notorious for expecting not to have to pay for missed lessons or for more leeway on make-up times. What happened to me too was that these acquaintances were referring more students my way so although I don't know for sure, I imagined they could have been telling others how much I was willing to work around schedules for make-ups and not charge for missing lessons. (I was in the "do a favor for one, you have to do it for another"-syndrome). So how can new teachers who are starting out with a handful of students who are family members or friends avoid getting caught in this way? Would it be better not to give lessons to "those you already know"?




Edited By Stretto on 1141193111
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

Postby pianoannie » Tue Feb 28, 2006 11:16 pm

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:One comment about kids with "coughs and sniffles." That stage of a viral illness is usually when they are most contagious! If, along with the coughs and sniffles, the child is running a fever of any sort, the other major indicator of contagiousness, he should stay home.

I wondered if I should explain this a little more, but I was trying to not be too long-winded. Where I live, if a person stayed home every time they had a runny nose or cough, they would stay home all winter long! It can be hard to even tell if such symptoms are due to allergies, sinus problems, simply being outside in the cold (always makes my nose run profusely), or if it's actually a contagious illness. Usually it's not a contagious thing. Last fall I had a cough every day for about 3 months. Before my sinus surgeries several years ago, I used to be congested for 9 months out of the year.

We Hoosiers don't take sniffles and coughs very seriously, but I absolutely agree about fever!!!

And you know, it's funny, since I've been teaching piano, my immunity must have shot through the roof. I very seldom get sick. In 12 years of teaching, I've taken one sick day.
pianoannie
 
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 7:28 am

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:56 am

Stretto wrote:But here are a few "bugs" I haven't quite figured out how best to handle and I wondered what others of you would suggest or how you handle these situations:

1. Primarly, students who sign up for a sport, dance, etc. in which practices, games/events conflict with regular lesson time for over a month or more.

2. In the summer:
Some students normally come in the afternoon after school but in the summer go to daycamp until their parents get off work which means they can't come until later in the evening.

3. In the summer: Students who alternate staying with one parent and then the other.

Do others of you have different policies during the summer or not teach during the summer? Should a student who is only available part of the summer have to pay for the entire summer semester? Do you change the hours/times you teach in the summer?


Outside of some of the "bugs" I've encountered that I'm not quite sure how to work out, let me just add a comment about how I think teachers can easily wind up giving too many "favors" for missed lessons and feeling almost like one's generosity with make-ups is taken advantage of.

I think one way you can make a start on addressing these "bugs" is to start by deciding yourself what hours and days you are willing to teach. If you don't want to teach on Sundays or late in the evenings in summer, don't do it! You're in control!!! Yes, you may lose a few students that way, but may gain a few from people who respect your willingness to set limits for yourself and others. One thing is for sure: if you're doing things you don't want to do and can't justify to yourself, you surely can't defend them to others.

Regarding students with sports and dance conflicts: Making too many concessions to these folks is a very slippery slope. Before long, you'll find that they will dictate your schedule, not you. Worse yet, they'll constantly want to change the schedule they've dictated. Possible solution: decide what hours and days you're willing to teach and offer these folks any that are available. If they can't or won't fit piano lessons into a mutually agreeable time, then they either miss the lessons with no commitment on your part to give make-ups or stop taking lessons for the summer. The important part is to put the onus and responsibility on them for resolving the conflicts they have created.

Re: students in daycamp: depends on the number of such students you have. If you have lots and don't mind giving up a Saturday, you could schedule them all on Saturday. As long as you're not a night person, early morning lessons may be an option, since most lessons are only a half hour or 45 minutes long anyway. Again, do what works for you. You didn't create the conflict!

Re: students who alternate parental custody. I think this might be one of the easiest to solve in a way that actually is more beneficial to the student. Most teachers would prefer to give longer lessons to students because the student learns and retains more in an hour lesson than two half-hour lessons. So, the parental custody alternation is the perfect situation for suggesting that the student come in for half the number of lessons of twice the duration. The student gets the same amount of teaching, but both you and the student enjoy it more and get more out of it. I think the most prevalent exception to this rule would be particularly young students, who may get bored in a longer session. That can usually be dealt with by giving the student a "break" in the middle. Of course, there is a sizable minority of teachers who don't teach at all in the summer. If you're one of those, recommend that the student take summer lessons in the town of the "other" parent.

Everybody in just about any field wants "favors." I can't tell you how many times I've been burned that way in my consulting. Truthfully, I think the only way to deal with it is to put a strict limit on favors you do for people.

For example, in my case, I will do any client or potential client the favor of "giving" them 15 minutes of my consulting time (value: $100) completely free. After that, they are "on the clock." That policy is well known to them. It works to keep conversations on the phone short and focused; it has the side benefit that my clients have never disputed an hourly billing, because they know that I have given them time on numerous occasions. I view limited free consulting time as both a cost of doing business and as a means of developing goodwill with clients.

I don't mean to suggest that you should give free piano lessons, but rather, since you know your situation best, that you think through what kinds of favors you are willing to do and how long you are willing to spend on them and, then, set a policy you adhere to. Keep in mind that the favors you do should be done with the idea that they may help your business somehow. Of course, you may decide to do some things out of charity. That's fine, so long as you don't feel that you've been taken advantage of in some way at the end.

Those few who read my posts ( :D ) have probably realized that I'm a super strong supporter of well-thought out policies. They work not only to control the behavior of clients, but to remove many of the difficulties of dealing with various issues that come up. If you have a policy worked out for a given situation, it's easy to simply follow the policy, rather than having to come up with some ad hoc solution on the spur of the moment. :;):
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:56 pm

pianoannie wrote:
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:One comment about kids with "coughs and sniffles." That stage of a viral illness is usually when they are most contagious! If, along with the coughs and sniffles, the child is running a fever of any sort, the other major indicator of contagiousness, he should stay home.


We Hoosiers don't take sniffles and coughs very seriously, but I absolutely agree about fever!!!

And you know, it's funny, since I've been teaching piano, my immunity must have shot through the roof. I very seldom get sick. In 12 years of teaching, I've taken one sick day.

I have long interpreted my resistance to contagion as New Mexican manliness, but perhaps it's the native Hoosier in me! :laugh:

Real men here don't worry about colds, etc. They only get concerned about bubonic plague and Hantavirus (but never admit it)! :D
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby Cy Shuster » Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:25 am

This is a great discussion. There's a good balance here between accomodating kids' and parents' needs, and running a business. The specific ideas for handling summertime and kids who alternate parents are great.

It's also helpful, I think, to compare the policies of other professionals who bill for their time. Sometimes we in the music business don't give ourselves the same credit, yet our time is our only income. Think of airlines: once the plane leaves without you, most times it costs you to reschedule.

If I have consistent "no-show" customers, at some point I will ask them to call someone else (I don't bill in advance). I can't afford to have other people's scheduling errors cost me money.

It's touching to see the dedication to the students here. If only the parents were as dedicated to music! :(

--Cy--
New grandpa -- it's a girl!
Cy Shuster
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2006 9:32 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Mar 06, 2006 8:06 am

pianoannie wrote:My system works for me. I do think another reasonable option is to have one or two days per year designated as makeup days (either on a Saturday or other day you don't normally teach, or scheduled for a week that you aren't teaching your normal schedule). I just found it was too complicated to try to makeup lessons the same week the absence occurred (got into that every night of the week thing I mentioned before).

This approach to scheduling make-ups makes a lot of sense. Although you can sometimes set up make-ups for unused time slots, usually time slots are open because nobody can make that slot! I mentioned earlier that a teacher that I worked with on her studio business scheduled most make-ups for an otherwise unscheduled week at the end of the semester. She, too, found that it was just too difficult to get most make-up lessons into her normal teaching schedule. Reserving a week or some days for make-ups is a good way to go.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby drewnchick » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:43 pm

Stretto wrote: As I said, friends, family, and neighbors are probably the most notorious for expecting not to have to pay for missed lessons or for more leeway on make-up times. So how can new teachers who are starting out with a handful of students who are family members or friends avoid getting caught in this way? Would it be better not to give lessons to "those you already know"?

I've had some experience in teaching friends and their children, and some family members as well. I agree that it is tempting for close friends and family to ask and expect that you will be more understanding of their situation than anyone else's! Fortunately for me, I didn't really get started teaching friends and family until I was fairly established as a teacher, and knew I had to treat my teaching as a "real" business. (This was mostly because we are all the same age, and had children at the same time :) ) I sent out studio policies and monthly bills to all my students, including the friends. My friends understand that this is my business, not a ministry to them! In fact, I switch into what they call "teacher mode" every time their children are at the piano with me, and back into "friend mode" when they are done. :laugh:

I would advise anyone who is thinking about teaching friends or family to firmly establish in your mindset that piano lessons are your business, and always treat it seriously with anyone who wants you as a teacher.

As far as make up lessons go, I only make up lessons for illness or if parents call in advance to cancel...and then, only IF I can. If I cancel for any reason, I will make it up.

I do agree with a previous post, 24 hours for illness makes little sense. I know with my kids, they usually get sick (throw up) right before we have to leave for something. :D
Soli Deo Gloria
drewnchick
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:25 pm
Location: Arkansas

Postby drewnchick » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:47 pm

One more mention...
I have sometimes "traded" for piano lessons with friends. For example, a friend of mine keeps my son twice a week so I can teach music at our school, and I teach her daughter piano lessons. My mother "traded" piano lessons with a seamstress who made my wedding dress...her daughter received piano lessons for "free" for a semester.

The trades have always worked well for me, and resulted in dedicated parents and students!

Has anyone else done this?
Soli Deo Gloria
drewnchick
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:25 pm
Location: Arkansas

Postby Stretto » Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:18 am

This fall I've decided to start organizing lessons by the semester and thus charging by the semester. (I am going to still accept monthly payments but for those who pay by the month, the rate will be slightly higher.)

My question is for those of you who organize your lessons by the semester, how do you divide the Fall and Spring semester? I know there may be differences in how the semesters would be split up based on variations in school schedules. I was mainly wondering since there are more weeks in the Spring, do you charge more for the Spring semester than the Fall or do you divide the weeks in such a way as to charge the same amounts for both Fall and Spring? How many weeks do you figure within each semester?


Thanks in advance for the help.




Edited By Stretto on 1150134723
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

Postby pianoannie » Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:06 pm

Stretto,
Yes, the winter/spring semester works out to be longer in my studio (usually about 4 lessons longer). So in the re-enrollment packets I give out in the summer, I list the fall fee (and how many weeks it covers, including recitals and piano parties), then I list the winter/spring fee and how many weeks it covers. I've never had anyone question it.

However, I've been thinking about changing my semesters. Instead of summer, fall, and winter/spring semesters, I'm considering having 1st Term (January through June) and 2nd Term (July through Dec). I don't teach continuously through the summer; I usually teach 6 lessons during the 13 weeks of June July and August. I think I could work it out so that each of the two terms would have the same number of weeks. And though I don't usually have much squawking about my 6-lesson requirement for summer, having it built right into the other terms would completely eliminate having a summer session that is paid for separately.
annie
pianoannie
 
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 7:28 am

Postby Stretto » Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:47 am

Thanks, that helps a lot! I was debating whether to divide the two semesters up someway into equal number of weeks so the cost would be the same per semester or leave it with the Spring semester having more weeks at a little higher cost.

That's a good idea to include in the information number of weeks the cost covers so the difference in cost between the two semesters wouldn't be questioned. - Pretty good thinking on splitting the year between two terms too! I will probably try the Fall, Spring, Summer route for now. I wrote in the Topic of note thread I'm thinking of charging a one time summer fee that would be fairly low for the number of weeks in the summer. In the Fall and Spring, I don't credit money for missed lessons. I'm more flexible in the summer though on not charging when students can't make it. Sometimes they commit to wanting to come through the summer and pay for lessons and start cancelling more than they originally planned. Then I have money collected, I have to keep track of crediting later. A one time fee that accounts for some missed lessons, would keep me from having the trouble of collecting money and crediting back.

For the Fall and Spring semesters, I was going to model how payment is broken down after a local gymnastics facility. They of course, charge up front for an entire semester. But they do allow for splitting the payment up monthly but the priviledge of making monthly payments costs a person more in the long run. I guess it's an incentive to pay for the semester up front. I just remembered our car insurance is that way too. If you pay for 6 months of insurance up front, it's less than if you pay by the month. The gymnastics place has their Fall semester go from about the last week of Aug. or first week of Sept. (I forgot which) until about Jan. 20. That's why I was trying to decide how to split up the weeks.

Although my written policy didn't allow for credit for missed lessons prior, I'm hoping that people paying by the semester will help avoid some of the problems associated with changes and cancellations.




Edited By Stretto on 1150293382
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

PreviousNext

Return to Running a Teaching Studio

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron