Weather Affecting Lessons
Found in: Studio Policies
Sue C., Australia
The first term in Queensland will soon be over and I want to share how the weather has affected my attendances during this term.
Often February and March are the hottest (really hot) months of the year with rain as well, but this year we had much rain but not so much sunshine. Students have been catching the colds and bugs usually common in winter months. I also caught a number of these nuisances and had to cancel lessons. Just this week at the time the after school lessons were to come, the rain came bucketing down to a degree that I thought it was unsafe for people to drive to my home. I texted them and said not to come if too difficult. Many lessons did not come.
I am expecting a smoother second term and glad I have a few weeks’ break to recover from it all.
Are other teachers experiencing anything like I described?
Mark M., New York
Where I am, winter was very mild this year but usually there can be regular snow. The school districts in the area build several possible snow days into their schedule. But often, they’ll call a snow day for bad weather early in a day, and when lesson times roll around later, everything is fine. Likewise, things can be fine early, school can be on, but then snow can happen later and make driving dangerous.
My policy is that lessons are on unless I state otherwise, even if the schools close for weather. If driving conditions are unsafe, I do not feel right expecting my students/families to drive to me — nor do I feel right having them suck up the tuition loss. Yeah, I need the money, sure. But weather is something larger than people. We’re all in that together. If driving is unsafe, I will cancel a lesson and somehow make it up, whether through a reschedule of some kind or, at worst, a credit of that lesson to the following month’s tuition payment. I just don’t feel right expecting everyone else to shoulder the burden of acts of nature or other emergency situations where people may literally not be allowed to drive to a lesson.
Shanta H., Minnesota
I run one “global Make up Lesson” per month during months that are threatened by snow days. It amounts to about 6-7 make up sessions per year, which take about an hour out of a Saturday morning. I have actually reduced the number of regular scheduled lessons by 2, and told students that they need to come to 2 of these make up sessions to get their money’s worth out of me. It’s been great. All students from all levels can come, and we never do any new material. We basically do playlist review, answer questions, and play games. It’s my slush fund for snow days, sick days, and students who want a little extra time with me. It’s also a great way to make the “schoolhouse” bigger – getting students from different levels together to interact is always fun.
With 30+ students, I wouldn’t have enough hours in Saturday to make up two days worth of lessons, so I had to find a creative solution!
Anne S., Nebraska
I had Mark’s dilemma a year ago when there were some days when the weather was bad and I cancelled lessons. My policy at that time was to reschedule if possible, and to issue a full credit for the lesson if rescheduling was not possible. Like Mark, I didn’t feel that the student should have to incur the cost of the lesson since it wasn’t their fault.
But, I didn’t feel that I should have to suck up the full cost either by issuing a full credit. Bad weather isn’t my fault any more than it is my students’. So I changed my policy to issue a half credit so we share the cost. That feels fair to me and I had no negative feedback from my students.