How Long Would You Wait???

Posted by: Katie Kasey

How Long Would You Wait??? - 11/20/03 11:23 AM

Hi Everyone,
I am new here to this forum and look forward to hearing your opinions.
I am a piano teacher who drives to my students'homes for lessons. I have one student who is often late getting home for his lesson. Last night I waited for nearly 15 minutes in my car on the dark street and there was still no sign of him. I left my bill and a phone message that I had been waiting and he wasnt there.
I got a phone message from his father last night who said that his son told him he was only 5 minutes late and I didnt wait. The father said he was disappointed (like,in me) if this information was accurate.
I feel that this is really disrespectful. Obviously the boy is not being truthful, but even so, if a lesson is scheduled at a certain time, how long should a teacher have to wait?? I know that my own teacher never would. What would you all do??? Thanks in advance for your responses! Katie
Posted by: pete blues

Re: How Long Would You Wait??? - 11/20/03 11:42 AM

even if he was only 5 minutes late, you shouldn't have to wait. He should wait for you
...and boys always lie, so they don't get in trouble.
You can tell his dad, that you don't feel safe, waiting in the car in the darkness (maybe even cold). That's not unreasonable.
Posted by: Archer1

Re: How Long Would You Wait??? - 11/20/03 01:03 PM

Oh how brave you are, to travel to students homes. I don't think I could do this. I think ten minutes would have been a reasonable time to wait. In my studio, I give my students one hour lessons. In my studio policy, I clearly state that if a student is late, they will still be charged for the full hour. This also applies to "no-shows." If a student does not bother to call in sick and I have to track him down to find out why he did not show up for lessons - I still charge for that lesson. If however a student does call in with an excuse - I have a month in the spring in which I do makeup lessons.

Posted by: Stevester

Re: How Long Would You Wait??? - 11/21/03 08:28 AM

I am not a piano teacher but I was a full time flight instructor for a number of years and I had to deal with this problem quite a bit. The only way I was able to handle it was to just cut these people off. Everyone is going to be late on occasion or have to cancel once in a while but when it becomes habitual the only way to handle it is tell them you don't have the time to work with them anymore. If you let these kind of people walk all over you they will. I had my students trained to arrive early and have the airplane preflighted before I was ready and if they did not they paid to have me watch them do it, that cured them of there being late habit real fast.

In your case mentioned above I would have been honest with the kid's father from the start, chalk this one up to the learning curve.

I am sure Ruth's method mentioned above would apply best to the piano business - you have to run a real tight ship and don't be affraid to charge them, after all their mistakes / attitudes are costing you money.

Posted by: iteachlifeskills

Re: How Long Would You Wait??? - 01/23/04 11:55 PM

When students enroll at my school, they give me 12 post-dated cheques up front. Something about that kind of commitment makes them show up every week and on time.

Once a cheque is deposited, they must complete the lessons for that month, or forfeit the fees... unless I was the one who did something unforgiveable, OR I am the one who cuts them. Otherwise, they get the remainder of their unused post-dated cheques.

Still, occasionally, you have to deal with stuff. So your policies should include:

Missed lessons DO NOT excuse payment. No-shows and last minute cancellations waste your teachers time and will not be tolerated. Missed lessons will be made up within one month or will be forfeited. It is up to the STUDENT to keep track of the missed lesson. If you don't ask for one, you won't get one!

If you are late...
The next student's class starts (and ends) as scheduled. (Parents are famous for talking to the teacher after THEIR child's time. They think nothing of chewing up the next person's time. If you must talk to the teacher, do so during YOUR OWN time, or schedule another time)

If you are way for extended periods of time:
Summer holidays, etc. it is possible that you may not have the same teacher and/or time when you return. We will NOT hold the time for you unless you are PAYING for it.

Just like in any other job, if I'm laid off, I'm certainly NOT going to sit around collecting unemployment. I'm looking for a new, more stable income. (TRANSLATION: I'm replacing YOU with a better, more reliable student!)

Of course, say it with kindness and tact...

You won't eliminate ALL your problems, but life will be SO MUCH BETTER when you are the one calling the shots.

Loving my work in Toronto,
Posted by: starmender

Re: How Long Would You Wait??? - 03/11/04 10:39 AM

In Australia, we charge for a term of bookings. If they don't show up, but give notice, I try to find makeup times, but only feel obliged to do so if I have to miss a lesson myself.

A client who treats you like this is a pig. Strike them off your books, and tell them why.

I hope you are charging extra for home visits. They are very privileged.