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One of those T&Cs questions


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#1 Dorcas

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 16:37

I wasn't surprised to be given notice by this parent.  Issues were bubbling under very soon after they signed up for lessons.  Basically, I am now in the position of having discovered in the last lesson, that another teacher has been appointed, the tutor book was covered in annotations, and I am expected to carry on teaching regardless.  The parent is well within their rights to move to another teacher, but clearly, I don't think the other teacher is aware that I am still expected to teach the youngster.  Originally, I agreed to teach for another couple of lessons, then stop completely, as June is no longer possible due to school exams.  Now I suspect, the other teacher is taking over.  However, there are four lessons to be taken from the deposit paid a few months back.  I am very inclined to point out, that as another teacher is now engaged, teaching the youngster in tandem is not a good idea, as the student was clearly confused at the last lesson, and I resorted to sight reading.  The next lesson, has been cancelled due to a social engagement and the parent is still expecting me to add it to the remaining lessons.

 

The parent seems to be new to working with instrumental teachers, but expecting me to teach all the remaining lessons in the summer holidays, adding any which are missed to the schedule, and I am beginning to feel a bit perplexed.  The student is a complete beginner, and I am wondering quite what the parent expects me to do.  Should I just write and say, that as another teacher is now working with the student, any further lessons with me are not in the student's best interests?  I am not inclined to offer a refund, as effectively, the parent has made it impossible for me to teach the lessons without going behind another teacher's back.  I really do not feel at all comfortable.  Normally, when another teacher is going to work a student, I spend the remaining lessons, supporting the transition, revising notation, and reassuring the student that they will settle down with the new teacher.  In this case the transition has already happened.  

 

 


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#2 magicfingers

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 19:44

Re: Cancellation due to their?? social engagement. Its your time and you cannot rearrange so they pay. Three more lessons. I would dig out some different teaching material, go through some sight reading and use some of the time in the lesson for them to practise the material. As for the very last lesson I would just in the words of one of my favourite rock groups, Sparks, just "Di*ck Around".  

 

Also check out their fabulous album, " Hippopotamus". It's on YT.

 

I would not be offering a refund and I would also not be justifying anything to this parent in writing or any other form of communication.

 

Edit: The remaining lessons should be in the next 3 weeks certainly not in the summer holidays. If it's unacceptable they pay. End of.

 

Stick to your guns and don't be soft.


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#3 Dorcas

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 19:50

Thanks Magicfingers, I will tell the parent, any lessons will have to be taken by end of this month.  Anything left over will be lost.  Thanks for your support.


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#4 Hedgehog

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 19:57

I agree with Magicfingers, Dorcas.  Do something different in the remaining lessons, but explain that lessons must be taken as scheduled because you are not available to teach on other occasions, especially in the summer holidays!!


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#5 Dorcas

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 20:03

Thanks Hedgehog.  I have had Bagmail which is hugely helpful as always.  As the next lesson is cancelled, and the final lesson is a reschedule anyway, not sure I am going to be able to fit in any remaining lessons.  I feel sorry for the student and the other teacher is not to blame, but the parent is charming but difficult.  Relieved to be seeing the back of him.


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#6 Dorcas

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 06:55

Done and dusted.  Email sent, all lessons to be taken by the agreed set date, no refunds offered for lessons cancelled for social reasons or those which are unable to be scheduled.

 

My terms and conditions will be comprehensively rewritten for September.  I am going to take the stance that any lessons cancelled for whatever reason have to be rescheduled within the calendar month or be lost.  Those which involve social reasons risk being lost anyway.  I am redoing my price list too.  Basically, I am running a business, so being business like is a given.  As Bagpuss has suggested will also have a clause stating that if another teacher is giving lessons alongside mine, then lessons will be immediately terminated, with no refund.  

 

If the parent tries to ambush me during the one remaining lesson, no prisoners will be taken.  I won't be unpleasant, just firm.  

 


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#7 ontheblackkeys

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 07:40

 As Bagpuss has suggested will also have a clause stating that if another teacher is giving lessons alongside mine, then lessons will be immediately terminated, with no refund.  

 

 

Having been caught out by this earlier this year, after the parent had indicated that they were stopping lessons because of battles about practise and then promptly engaged another teacher before the end of the notice period, I am seriously considering adopting this for my own T&C.  I ended up cancelling and refunding the final lesson because I refused to deal with the family any longer but it would be good to be able to say termination and no refunds for a similar situation in the future.

 

I hope everything works out in this case, Dorcas - I really dislike families who try to manipulate teachers in this way.


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#8 jenny

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 07:52

Just to say well done, Dorcas!   And to Bagpuss for the excellent advice. clap.gif


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#9 Dorcas

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 10:04

Thanks one and all.  The parent will not be returning, and could not understand my stance.  Simply restated it words of one syllable.  All perfectly amicable and no danger of throwing rocks at each other if we bump into each other again.

 

Parents and students absolutely have the right to choose who they have lessons with, but equally, they need to be straight forward with us too.  I can handle a parent feeling that their lessons with me are not working out, and will use the notice period to help the transition to the next teacher.

 

At least this time I didn't have to call out the SWAT team which has happened in the past ph34r.png 


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#10 BadStrad

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 10:35

Good to hear you got it sorted quickly. Well done you for not being manipulated.
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#11 mel2

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 11:08

I struggle a bit with the 'no more lessons and no refunds' bit. Smacks of control-freakery. Are you sure you could actually manage to do this, if challenged? (Looking at your latest post, seems you have! -gulp.)
If the parent has paid and is still prepared to bring the child for the lessons, I'm not sure I could hang on to the money and refuse to teach, on the grounds that they were having lessons elsewhere (I'm with you on the point about no refunds for silly cancellations, though).
What my students do in the time they are not with me is not my business, I feel -and they can spend their money how they like. If I really couldn't bring myself to teach the child then I would refund their money.
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#12 sbhoa

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 11:44

I struggle a bit with the 'no more lessons and no refunds' bit. Smacks of control-freakery. Are you sure you could actually manage to do this, if challenged? (Looking at your latest post, seems you have! -gulp.)
If the parent has paid and is still prepared to bring the child for the lessons, I'm not sure I could hang on to the money and refuse to teach, on the grounds that they were having lessons elsewhere (I'm with you on the point about no refunds for silly cancellations, though).
What my students do in the time they are not with me is not my business, I feel -and they can spend their money how they like. If I really couldn't bring myself to teach the child then I would refund their money.

I would make it clear that the other teacher should know and should not be working on the same material. 

I wouldn't knowingly do that as a teacher without collaboration with the other teacher and in the early stages it is generally not helpful as we all have slightly different ways of approaching things. I was rather surprised when one of mine recently had a lesson with a friend of the mother who wrote in pen on the music we were working on and had given different instructions. This was at grade 1 level and the other teacher did know that the child was still having lessons with me at the time. I just didn't believe that someone would do that!

That's only the second time that has happened. The first time was when a child started having lessons in school while having lessons with me and again the teacher in school started writing things on the music I was working on with the child!!

At a reasonably advanced level I sometimes work with other teachers or with an accompanist/coach but both parties know about the other.

Parents sometimes genuinely don't know that this is not helpful and it's amazing how parents of children who aren't doing enough practice for one teacher think that they can manage to double up and do the work set by two teachers.


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#13 Aquarelle

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 11:49

Just one point. You have to be careful about making a difference between lessons missed for "social" reasons and any other reason. What the parents  and teachers might consider as social may not be the same thing. An absence is an absence. My T and C's state quite simply that all lessons missed must be paid for. In the event I make individual decisions concerning serious illness or a recurrent genuine ill health problem  and family bereavement or any other serious difficulty.. I generally quietly tell parents by world of mouth that   they need not pay for the absence concerned and I ask them not to mention it to other parents. That way I keep control of my business and parents inclined to put other things before my time know what to expect.


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#14 Clarimoo

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 11:56

............and it's amazing how parents of children who aren't doing enough practice for one teacher think that they can manage to double up and do the work set by two teachers.

 

 

Maybe they think teacher 2 will help the child to complete the work set by teacher 1.


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#15 sbhoa

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 12:17

 

............and it's amazing how parents of children who aren't doing enough practice for one teacher think that they can manage to double up and do the work set by two teachers.

 

 

Maybe they think teacher 2 will help the child to complete the work set by teacher 1.

 

When mostly if teacher 2 starts writing things all over the work set by teacher 1 then teacher 1 has to grit teeth and start on something else or there will be confusion over which way to do it. If I was helping someone with a piece when they had a teacher I would be asking what the other teacher had said and would be wary of adding much. 

I had a lesson with a teacher at summer school once during a period when my teacher had been taking a sabbatical and even at my level he was reluctant to give me much technical advice.


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