When the Scheduling Policy Agreement Fails

I use a Scheduling Policy with every student. I have shared this Scheduling Policy with many other teachers who find themselves wanting when it comes to the ‘Professional’ side of teaching. That funny bit about needing to make a living just like everyone else with a job.

It only occurred to me recently that I don’t have a specific action of recourse when someone decides not to cooperate with what was agreed in the beginning of our relationship. Namely, what happens when someone decides that they no longer want to ‘live’ by the Scheduling Policy and desire to be above everyone else otherwise concerned?

A couple months ago, I decided to write a ‘Note to NonPaying Parents’ document that I would like to share with you. I have not sent one of these yet, but over the years of teaching I have had clear opportunities to do so.

Here is the plain form with places for student names:

“Dear Parent,

I am removing (Your Child/Children) from my schedule. You have made it clear that you are no longer willing to honor the agreement we made at the beginning of our relationship regarding the scheduling policy and seem to harbor negative feelings toward me for placing my family and art at a higher priority than your money.

In my experience, when a parent decides that they want to treat an art form in which their children participate in the same manner as a phone, cable, or internet bill, the relationship rarely improves.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have spent helping (Your Child/Children) develop their skill in the art of playing music and guitar. However, it is a big distraction to consistently find myself needing to convince you of the importance of paying me on time; or even paying me at all.

I would consider it a blessing if this situation would develop with students that do not practice or otherwise fail to show significant interest in music or guitar. Unfortunately, this happens most often with the parents of students who really do love music and guitar. Students who advance faster and further than many others with whom I have had the pleasure of teaching.

This is not the first, and unlikely to be the last time, that good students are discouraged because I am put in the position of having to choose between my family and theirs. Please know that (Your Child/Children) are welcome and encouraged to return to my schedule when your attitude toward my work with them returns to the level of respect that I require of every student and parent.

I hope for their sake, this change happens sooner rather than later. Be well.

Sincerely, Justin”

What is interesting to me, is that losing a student is similar to a ‘Break up’. You can see it coming, but you kinda hope for the best, but the best rarely comes about. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation become better, no matter how open I am to accomodate them, when someone gets a burr in their saddle; even if I give them what they request.

Let me know your thoughts.


2 thoughts on “When the Scheduling Policy Agreement Fails”

  1. It’s hard to lose a student and it makes you wonder if you are the problem. I know this since I operate a business that is “student” customer. The best policy is this: charge monthly and payable at the beginning of the month, or best, the last lesson of the month, be flexible to where if you can reschedule lesson, than do it. Small business owners can do this and really should if possible.

    Best not to send out anything. Just say thanks for coming and …

  2. Agreed. This is all stated in the Scheduling Policy, which works fine for 95% of my students. I have just considered sending something like this for the 5% when it is obvious they are looking for an out and decide to be disrespectful. This 5% has no trouble with the scheduling policy until they learn that it applies to them as well.


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