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Removing long-standing pupil for non payment


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#1 funkiepiano

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 12:49

A school pupil who I've been teaching for 4 years, stopped paying in Nov so I've had no choice but to remove her. Such a shame as she's a lovely girl and was doing well! Her mum has had 3 emails and a letter, and she owes me 6 weeks lessons but has ignored my requests. I asked the class teacher if he knows of any circumstance changes in the family, and he doesn't. Every year I remove around 3 pupils for non-payment and mostly they're a relief to see the back of, but this one is heartbreaking :(
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#2 Misterioso

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 12:59

I wonder if it's worth having a word direct with the mother herself. It may be that something has happened (a bereavement, sickness or other scenario) that means bills haven't been kept up with. The class teacher may not necessarily know. If that yields nothing, and you are a member of the Musician's Union or ISM, you can get them to chase payments for you. In this case, I would send a final bill marked urgent for all outstanding payments, with a note that further action will be taken if it is not paid by a deadline that you set.


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#3 Gran'piano

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 13:24

I usually tread gently in situations like these. The pupil has been with you for four years. if you have had no trouble with payments before, I'd try hard to get to the bottom of this without causing unnecessary bad feelings. When you say a person has had three emails and a letter, do you really mean you have sent three emails and a letter? It isn't quite the same thing.

How was the money paid earlier? Maybe something has happened with the payment system. Many years ago I received an irate call from a chap who wanted to know why my husband was making regular payments into the account of his ten year old daughter!!!  The account number on the pay-in slips for OUR daughter's bank account were incorrect and neither we nor the bank had noticed. 

Computers crash. Family members sometimes need help and letters pile-up unopened. If the mother was responsible for paying and is out of action at the moment, maybe the father is behindhand... or vice versa.

If the pupil is old enough, could you not ask the child if anything at home has changed recently?

Let's hope you can clear the matter up successfully as it is obviously a very uncomfortable situation for you.


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#4 ten left thumbs

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Posted 28 January 2019 - 17:23

Goodness, I think November was the time to tread carefully, December was the time to be assertive and now is the time to be decisive. It sounds like Funkie has done all she can possibly do. I've done it, it is horrible. But really, you have to. 


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#5 ma non troppo

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 01:37

FP, do you not get payment for all lessons up front? My students pay for ten lessons in advance and if they turn up for the first lesson of the set with no payment there is a discussion with the parents. After that, if no payment is made there is no lesson. There is no way I would let things drift this far - you need to be tough!
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#6 Dorcas

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 15:18

I agree with Ma non troppo.  After too many students left, ignoring the notice period, I decided to have payment in advance, as well as a deposit system.  It works.  Whilst there might be a very understandable reason why payment has stopped, it is very unfair expecting anyone to work for free!   Yes, there are times when you have to be very firm.


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#7 funkiepiano

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 15:15

Thankfully it's sorted now, I spoke with mum and she's paid, and she'll be back with me next week.
I know other teachers disagree but I never insist on payment in advance. Many of my pupils simply could not afford it and both they and I would lose out.
I am in the ISM and once threatened a non-payer with getting my union onto them - the threat worked and I never had to.
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#8 ten left thumbs

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 09:25

Payment in advance is not more expensive!!!

I'm glad it's sorted.


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#9 ma non troppo

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 09:29

Payment in advance is not more expensive!!!


This is exactly what I was thinking. If you can't afford to pay in advance you can't afford lessons! Paying in advance also shows commitment.
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#10 Maizie

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 09:39

Paying in advance does mean having a lump sum of money together, whereas pay as you go doesn't.  This will definitely be an affordability issue for some.


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#11 Aquarelle

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 09:59

My pupils all pay in advance, normally for a term  of 7 or 8 lessons.I have only ever had one parent who asked me if i could accept weekly payments and this was a single parent on a limited budget and I accepted on condition that she did not mention this to other parents. However I would find it financially very difficult to let this become the norm.

 

On the other hand  as a teenager I was obliged to take a long walk to a  solid but not very inspiring teacher who accepted the weekly payment of  three shillings and sixpence for a half hour lesson because my parents could not manage the termly payments  for  lessons at my school. The school lessons were given  an excellent, imaginative  teacher and I longed to go to her because all my friends did. She eventually took me on as a private pupil paying weekly and she even gave me free lessons the weeks I babysat for her. I owe her a lot for that kindness - but she was in a financial position where she could afford to be generous and she that she certainly was. Everyone's case is different.


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#12 funkiepiano

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 10:53

Paying in advance does mean having a lump sum of money together, whereas pay as you go doesn't. This will definitely be an affordability issue for some.


Yes. This school I teach in is in a disadvantaged area where the majority can't afford lessons at all. If I asked for payment in advance I probably wouldn't have any work there, nor would they have a keyboard teacher. I also do 1 day a week there contracted by the school, as their in-house pianist for hymns and nursery rhymes. It's a lovely school and a solid regular job for me so I'm happy to give back to them :)
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#13 maggiemay

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 11:38

I’m very glad you have sorted it, funkiepiano. I definitely felt your pain at the though of losing a rewarding pupil.

I agree with Aquarelle that every case is different. I charge half a term in advance, but on the odd occasion I have agreed a concession where I have felt it worthwhile.

My widowed mother would have scraped together the weekly fee somehow, but I was greatly helped along the way by my private teacher, who kept ‘forgetting’ to send us the bill.
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#14 jenny

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 11:58

My widowed mother would have scraped together the weekly fee somehow, but I was greatly helped along the way by my private teacher, who kept ‘forgetting’ to send us the bill.

 

That is so lovely! I was lucky enough to have two wonderful teachers when I was young and they definitely inspired me to want to teach. I've been trying to remember how much my parents paid. I think it was 2 guineas a term - yes, I'm that old! smile.png  (not sure how many weeks a term was, though). 


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#15 ten left thumbs

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 14:00

 

Paying in advance does mean having a lump sum of money together, whereas pay as you go doesn't. This will definitely be an affordability issue for some.


Yes. This school I teach in is in a disadvantaged area where the majority can't afford lessons at all. If I asked for payment in advance I probably wouldn't have any work there, nor would they have a keyboard teacher. I also do 1 day a week there contracted by the school, as their in-house pianist for hymns and nursery rhymes. It's a lovely school and a solid regular job for me so I'm happy to give back to them smile.png

 

If you're happy, I'm happy. :) But, you will have further problems of non-payment, it's inevitable.

 

(Of course, there are few of us who have no problems of non-payment at all!)


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