Leah P., California
How do you deal with lateness & tardiness ? I have a student who will show up 5, 10, sometimes even 15 minutes late. This last Friday he did a “no show”. So, I decided to write out a separate “policy” for this… due to the ongoing issue with this particular student.
I am not sure what the best solution would be here… so I was wondering how other teachers may enforce this.
I would just address it kindly but directly state that his lesson starts on X time and finishes at X time and that it is up to him to get his full ½ hr or 25min session in by arriving on time. I wouldn’t allow him to come anytime and just expect him to have his full lesson. I also have a student who does turn up late and so I say at the end of his lesson time “ Oh is that the time? Gee that goes fast. See you next week . I’m off to Zumba!” He also is my last lesson on that day. I rise, walk quickly to the door, open it for him, smile, say ‘see you next week at 6.30.’
You might find that your no show is slowly losing interest and is easing himself out. Maybe time for the relationship chart to emerge again.
I guess telling the student and parent that no matter how late they come in, you will end on time. And DO it. Maybe placing another student after him/her, so you’ll have to end on time. Don’t give replacement or credit for no show. They’ll probably learn the lesson, unless they don’t mind paying for nothing.
Sue K., Australia
These students are very annoying. I stop at the usual time. If they are part of a lesson, I don’t acknowledge them, and I don’t go back over what they have missed, either.
So, if you have no one afterwards, keep a track on the time and finish at the allotted time. I am sure they will soon start to realise they are paying for something they do not get.
Beth S., Tennessee
I mention in my foundation session when I speak about payments that there is a charge for being late. I assume that in the context of the conversation people understand the fee is for being late with their monthly payment. I had a student come rushing in once about 10 minutes late and carrying a $5 bill (my fee for late payment at the time was $5 per week). “Here’s my payment for being late,” she said. Of course we both had a good laugh after I explained more thoroughly what I had meant. But it is a thought.
Shanta H., Minnesota
I just begin and end my lessons on time (or within 5 minutes of on time) no matter what. It’s easy for me because I have only 3 hours per evening that I can devote to teaching, and I have a 2-year-old whose bedtime is dangerously close to my last lesson slot ending time. Also, with slightly larger shared lessons, as long as one student is there, you can begin. If someone is 15 minutes late, the lesson starts at 4:30 and ends at 5:20 whether they’re there or not. If they miss the first 15, they can talk to me offline about what they missed. Remember, they are paying for your time during a particular slot on a particular day of the week, and it’s their responsibility to show up for the lesson they’ve scheduled and paid for. Does math class hold for 15 minutes if the kid isn’t in their seat on time? Other than in the foundation session, I don’t really make a big deal about timelyness. I just let them figure it out on their own when they’re losing lesson time because of their own tardiness.
Robin T., Tennessee
Very simple in my opinion… I too had to change my attendance policy last year and it has been a huge help. I basically will not do any kind of credits (so if they don’t show, they still have to pay) and will only do makeups as my schedule allows within 2 weeks of the missed lesson. I feel that is fair in case someone gets sick or something like that.
In this case, I had a student who was continually calling 5 minutes after they were supposed to be there and saying, “The kids are in the pool and don’t want to come today, just give us a credit”. So, with them, I basically created my attendance policy to state that if they are late, they only get the time left in their lesson (if they are 15 min late, they only get 15 minutes of lesson time). Additionally, I did control it by saying that I was FULL, so when she tried to do a makeup lesson I would say, “Certainly, I have an open slot at 2:30”, Knowing that the kids didn’t get out of school until 3. She learned REAL QUICK that I was not going to accommodate her every whim and realized the money she was wasting by not getting here on time and missing lessons.
You MUST change your own mindset to make them change theirs… they think that since it is a private lesson that they can just come any time they want. If they were in a dance class or karate class, they would show up on time because the class begins without them. If they are in a group lesson, I would simply tell them that you will have to pull them from the group if they can not manage to get there on time. In terms of the no credit issue, I justified it as I would a DAY CARE or the same DANCE or KARATE Class. If you have your child enrolled in Daycare, you still have to pay for the week that you take off for vacation, or if your child gets sick. Same with PRIVATE SCHOOL, you don’t get a credit if your child can’t come that day. So, it is the same concept. And, when you explain that to your students, they tend to understand. If they don’t, then this is just one of the MANY territory issues you will have with them and it is usually best to just let them go.
Well, here’s one for you…I used to work in the airline industry and being on time meant the difference between getting on the plane to take off or being left behind, and I want to make sure each student “gets to their destination without being left behind!”
I have not been teaching that long but I now make certain that I go over the details in my studio policies at my FIS (and have all new students initial each section) and share with them in a kind but firm way that this I run my studio on time. Of course life happens but when we set guidelines from the start we may not enroll them at that time but in the end it is always much better.
Remember that Neil encourages us all to have a requirement based studio.