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#1487737 - 08/04/10 12:35 AM How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots?
Sparkler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/09
Posts: 177
Sorry if the title was unclear, there wasn't enough space to explain it clearer.

Lets say in my studio policy it says that those who want to continue on with me in the fall must take a certain number of summer lessons, otherwise they will be put on a waiting list.

How do I balance that versus deciding to change my allotted available lesson times?

Will people be upset, and legitimately, because they used to have, say, a Thursday afternoon slot with me and I have now decided that I can no longer teach on Thursday afternoons...

Is that fair of me if they have continued through the summer to avoid being on a waiting list?
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#1487747 - 08/04/10 12:47 AM Re: How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots? [Re: Sparkler]
tommytones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/13/09
Posts: 167
Loc: Northeast America
Try being up front with your students at the beginning of the season in regards to your policies for the upcoming season.
I tell my students there may not be a possibility that their slot will not be there in the future, and that the days and times are subject to change. After all, this is your business, and you make the hours.
Usually students and parents are understanding of this policy.

Hope this helps.
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Mus. B., Classical Piano Performance
Kawai No. 600
Roland Digital Piano Model No. HP 147
Wurlitzer Electronic Piano Model No. 200A
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#1487749 - 08/04/10 12:54 AM Re: How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots? [Re: tommytones]
Sparkler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/09
Posts: 177
Thanks tommytones...

I'm sending out a letter with my "new" time slots for the fall.

Actually, my teaching days and times are basically staying the same, however last year I found myself trapped with constant rescheduling on other days, which is something I'm remedying this year.

My problem is that now all kinds of parents are coming to me and saying the slot they already had last year (which are still available) will not work for THEM anymore this year. And I'm saying, I'm sorry... I am not opening up different days to accommodate you.

But I feel bad on a tiny level because they took all through the summer to avoid being dropped...
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#1487848 - 08/04/10 07:26 AM Re: How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots? [Re: Sparkler]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
The only day I removed from my schedule this year was Friday, and I only had one student adamant about wanting that time, but I stuck to my guns and gave them a bit of preference in switching to another time and it all worked out. I just yesterday finished my fall scheduling....YAY!
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#1487866 - 08/04/10 08:13 AM Re: How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots? [Re: Stanny]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Sparker, I would avoid saying that I am not opening up other days to accomodate you. I would say "That lesson time is not available" (leave it at that with no excuses).

I think it's important to give yourself permission to take care of yourself (by setting a schedule that works for you). Right now I have a couple of openings and I only use these times for lessons rescheduled in advance. I also keep an official looking schedule with days of week and lesson times...so parents when they are here wanting to schedule or reschedule...can see that there are certain times available...and it's not about whether I am being nice or not.

I had a new parent repeated request scheduling on a Friday (a day off for me). The printed schedule was in front of us. The husband would remind her that I don't teach on Friday. After a few minutes they eventually chose a time that I offered.

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#1487870 - 08/04/10 08:22 AM Re: How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots? [Re: Overexposed]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
Well, you can't blame people for trying to get you to schedule a time that is convenient for them. You just have to not agree to be bullied and stick to your guns. Easier said than done, I know. I did the same as Ann mentioned...I had my open schedule on my website and printed on my table when parents came in to schedule this week. It made it much easier to stick to my guns!
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~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#1487886 - 08/04/10 09:05 AM Re: How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots? [Re: Stanny]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12141
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I ran into this same problem last year with taking on too many students without really considering what I actually had time for. My policy has been for the past few years that they have to take summer lessons in order to get priority scheduling in the Fall. I "default" everyone to the same day and time they had last year usually, except this year I increased everyone who was still in 30 minute lessons to 45 minutes, so that moved things around a bit. I sent out letter to everyone with the "proposed" time, and they have until this Saturday to either confirm the time or change it. I am no longer teaching on Fridays, so I did have to juggle things around quite a bit.

One mother who had a Friday time was a bit upset about the change, but I had told her there was just no way I could do Fridays anymore for health reasons. I had told her ahead of everyone else because I know they do travel far to come to lessons - though they come to town every day. This way, she could pick what time would work for them before I scheduled anyone else. She was the only one I had difficulty in scheduling, and we worked out a time that worked for them.

No one can really look out for you except you, and if parent says they want a particular time, of course you should do your best to be accommodating. However, not to the point where you are going to overbook yourself and burn out. My scheduling changes mean that there will only be a few time slots available for students who didn't take over the summer and new students on a waiting list, but that is the risk those students decided to take. If those times won't work for them then there's really no other option for them.
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#1487899 - 08/04/10 09:37 AM Re: How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots? [Re: Morodiene]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Gosh, my schedule changes yearly! I rarely have students keep the same time from year to year. It always feels like upsetting the fruit basket.

I have the parents list their top 3 preferred lesson times when they turn in their tuition form. That makes it much easier to schedule.
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#1487990 - 08/04/10 12:09 PM Re: How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots? [Re: Minniemay]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Sparkler, your situation, if I'm understanding it correctly, is simply that students are wanting new times that you do not have available.

It seems to me that you could just approach this positively: "Here are my available lesson times. Since you took lessons all summer, you get to be one of the first people to choose your slot."

It is not your fault if the times you have available don't work for them.

If they don't choose a slot right away, you can remind them that you will be offering these same slots to others, and it will be first come, first served, and it will behoove them to choose quickly. I suggest to my students' parents that they choose a slot to "pencil in" so they at least have something in case I start filling up, and to let me know if they need to change it, and we'll see what I still have open.
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#1488154 - 08/04/10 04:54 PM Re: How do I balance out setting my own schedule & saving spots? [Re: Lollipop]
tommytones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/13/09
Posts: 167
Loc: Northeast America
I agree with what everyone's saying. Stating your availabilities make it cut an dry. There will be students who will try to push you to open a time slot that you don't have or want. Remember your schedule comes first.
I don't understand why people will push the issue of a teacher's available time slot. Would they do the same to a doctor's schedule, or perhaps a lawyer's? Think of what a those professionals would do in that situation. After all, teaching is the oldest, and (arguably) the most respected profession. You make your schedule, and shouldn't feel bad about not having a time open that fits someone else's schedule before yours.
_________________________
tommytones
Mus. B., Classical Piano Performance
Kawai No. 600
Roland Digital Piano Model No. HP 147
Wurlitzer Electronic Piano Model No. 200A
Hammond M-3

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