Claiming Territory

Student canceling lesson with short notice

Eric R., California

I wanted to share a difficult conversation success I had recently: a teenage student attempted to cancel a lesson 30 minutes prior, by saying they were sick.

To me, this felt like a classic case of claiming territory, making it necessary for me to let her know that she would still be paying for it. Sure enough, come lesson time, she was feeling okay and didn’t seem to be sick at all, which reaffirms to me that this was her way of claiming territory.

Have you had any situations like this where the student will use “being sick” to get out of a scheduled lesson at the last second?

Jane K., Australia

It’s in my policy. I tell them at the foundation session.

I do makeup lessons provided they give me six hours’ prior notice. I know some teachers don’t. The point is that you have to make it clear at the start and stick with it. There are always people trying to test your bottom line. If they ask for a replacement when they haven’t given me the advance notice, I would simply tell them that it’s my policy.

Laurie Richards, Nebraska

I (and a lot of other teachers) don’t offer makeup lessons. If they miss, they just miss. Or they can attend a different class if they’d like. Most don’t though.