Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Can we make that lesson up?

I love my job.  I love working with children and seeing them progress and their confidence grow, but If I could afford to hire someone to handle the business side of my studio - I would!  It's natural for me to develop personal relationships with my families, but it makes it that much harder to follow through with my studio policies.  Perhaps it's my personality, but I always want to make others happy and I end up losing money and/or precious time with my family.  

The hardest policy for me to reinforce is my missed lesson policy.  Just this week I had a student completely forget their lesson.  The mom called and was very apologetic and asked if I could make it up.  During the summer months my schedule is more flexible, but I still have to hire a babysitter which means that for just a one 30 - minute make-up lesson it turns into an hour.  If you are a parent,  you probably know how difficult it is.  Needless to say, convincing my 3-year to put his shoes on can take up to 10 minutes (at least!).  And then you have to account for the time you spend packing snacks,  change of clothes, etc.  Oh, and then their is the additional cost of hiring a sitter when you already had one lined up when the student forgot their lesson in the first place.

Every time I get a request for make-up lessons I end up stressing about how I'm going to respond.  I'm not sure why it's so difficult for me to simply so no.  I decided that I would draft a response to use this coming school year to help make it a non-issue.  Here's what I've come up with:
"I'm sorry, but I am unable to schedule a makeup lesson, per my studio policy. When you registered for lessons you were reserving your weekly lesson time for the teaching year. I do not offer make-up lessons and there are no refunds for lessons cancelled by students. The primary reason for this policy is that I build my teaching schedule around my family time and makeup lessons reduce the time I have with my family. If I ever have to cancel a lesson I will offer a makeup. 
However, I offer two options besides makeup lessons. You are welcome to watch the studio calendar and reschedule your missed lesson for any time block marked as 'open' on the calendar OR you can take advantage of the Swap List. If you choose this latter option, please review the Swap List rules."
I hope this helps me stay professional and protect my time.  If any of you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear.