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#1970777 - 10/09/12 12:36 PM This is what I get for being so accommodating-lesson learned
IPlayPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/11
Posts: 105
I live in a small town and it is only myself and one other lady who teach piano. So, I am VERY grateful for this forum as I really have no other colleagues to talk to.

I began teaching on the 24th of September. A lady in my town has 2 girls who have been a pleasure to teach for the past year. This year, they requested after school time slots which are in high demand (3:15 and 4:00 for 45 mins each). I agreed to the lesson times even though it leaves me with a 15 minute gap before and after they come. Well, the first 2 weeks they cancelled lessons the night before. Now the mother tells me that the skating schedule has been released and one of the girls cannot come at her scheduled time at all(4:00). So I told them they are welcome to come to my home 15 minutes outside of town for a lesson on Tuesdays (today) at 4:00. The mother said "we will need to discuss it as a family first." That was on Friday. Today is Tuesday and I cannot get a hold of them. I have no idea if they are coming. As for the open time slot(s), I called the 3 families on my waiting list to let them know that an after-school slot has opened up. It turns out they have already gone to a nearby town for lessons. Great.

Luckily, I do have a studio policy that states no refunds... except it's the start of the year and they haven't paid their first invoice off yet.

I like to be accommodating however it seems a person can really be taken advantage of if they appear to be a pushover, which apparently I have been. So. Enough of that. One person has to ruin it for the rest and it is unfortunate. I also have a second parent who thinks that I am Jesus and would like me to lower my accompaniment rates because she has 5 children and wants to enter them all into music festival 5 times each. I think I might just say "no" to that one. smile

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#1970851 - 10/09/12 02:57 PM Re: This is what I get for being so accommodating-lesson learned [Re: IPlayPiano]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7639
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Welcome to the wonderful world of teaching, where we teachers are often treated as mere commodities. Unfortunately.

In your present position, you'll need to do both soul searching and market research. How are the supply of students? What rates and policies do other teachers in your immediate service area have? I realize you have only one other teacher in town, but apparently, nearby communities aren't too far for families to drive to for lessons.

I would probably take the approach that this was a paid for lesson which they missed - you were at the studio, and were fully prepared to teach, so unless another student cancels and you can fit them in, you're truly sorry they missed their lessons. Most certainly, I would not chase them. If they fail to show again, just send the statement and include a note asking them to contact you so you know whether they are dropping lessons or just ran into bad scheduling conflicts.
"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

#1970968 - 10/09/12 07:23 PM Re: This is what I get for being so accommodating-lesson learned [Re: IPlayPiano]
pianomouse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/12
Posts: 93
Loc: Europe
I agree with John concerning the missed lesson.

Concerning scheduling conflicts with sports activities, I have learned the hard way: Now, before scheduling, I ask all my students, if they have already scheduled any sports activities, or if they are planning to do so. Then, I tell them that until the last of the students has his/her activities scheduled, my schedule may be changed again.
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.
(Katie Melua)

#1971347 - 10/10/12 02:19 PM Re: This is what I get for being so accommodating-lesson learned [Re: IPlayPiano]
IPlayPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/11
Posts: 105
John, I completely agree and this is the approach I will take. It's unfortunate that they have not yet paid me. Hopefully they will at least give me what they owe. Piano, that is a good idea. I really should have asked about schedules.

#1971503 - 10/10/12 07:23 PM Re: This is what I get for being so accommodating-lesson learned [Re: IPlayPiano]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I guess this is a good lesson learned to collect a deposit and the first month's tuition before scheduling a lesson time!

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians


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