Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Conflict In The New Year

I posted last week about some difficulties I needed to address with a friend.  Now I need to deal with a problem I'm having with an art student of mine.

I've worked with him for three years now, and I've always been really informal about the cancellation policy.  I asked for 24 hours notice, and didn't charge in the even that notice was shorter.  It happened so seldom that I figured I could use the time for something else.

By now, however, he's a sophomore in high school.  He's busy.  He's cancelled 4 or 5 lessons in the past two months alone.  He cancelled another one yesterday.  After a three week hiatus because of relatives visiting.  For which I only got a week's notice myself.  In previous years, I could count on the school vacation to schedule make up lessons.

This is no longer working.  It's one thing to have a few cancellations.  It's another to wonder every week whether I'm going to be teaching that day.

What I'd like to do -- what all my piano teachers did, for instance -- is to have a new policy where I am paid up front.  If there's 24 hours notice for a cancellation, there will be no refund, but I will make up the lesson.  If there's less than 24 hours notice, I will not make up the lesson.

I feel like this will be a good motivator for my student and his parents to respect my time a little more than they're doing now.  It's also better for the student, to be honest; he'll want to put together a supplemental portfolio for college, and that simply can't be done with the kind of time he's putting in now.  And that's not even mentioning the momentum that's lost when you lose a whole goddam month of instruction.

I guess the New Year will be about setting boundaries.

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