Short notice lesson cancellation by student

Joy O., Alabama

I had a parent ask for a reschedule after only giving me 11 hours of advance notice that they will miss the lesson. How do I handle this professionally without causing parents to decide to quit? It’s already in my studio policies that they should provide 24 hours of notice to get a make up credit. This mom has been having health issues and let me know last week that she would have surgery “sometime in the next couple of weeks”.

Here is the note she added when she cancelled online: “We won’t be able to make it by 5 today. We would like to be able to reschedule this week. Thank you.” No reason given at all.

Stephen R., California

I ask for 24 hours’ notice so possibly the time could be used for another make up, but sometimes illnesses come suddenly. I accommodate IF it works out during my normal teaching hours and during an available slot. This is probably treated differently in a group setting where they need to catch up if they miss. You can’t reschedule a whole group in most cases. It could be possible unless you have a very full schedule. Maybe do a make up for most of the members. I may offer one of my “off” days if it was a time I missed, maybe an occasional Friday or Saturday morning.

It may not always work, but this shouldn’t be your financial setback. Be really clear about this!

The other thing I have worded in my policy is that people are paying to reserve a time slot in your schedule, let’s say Mondays at 4pm. That’s their time slot that their monthly tuition pays for. If they miss (and I have lots of private students), that time becomes available for a possible make up for someone else. It’s time that’s now being unused. That’s why we want at least 24 hours’ notice for a cancellation, so the time could possibly be used.

My new policy going forward is to be liberal with make ups during my regular teaching hours. That is, if students want them and when it works. It creates better morale in your studio. I just want my personal time off, which I will be giving myself.

Leeanne I., Australia

Do what you feel is right. Given the circumstances, I would let them off with a warning. She/he will have a lot on his/her mind with the surgery.