Ready. Set. Go! It’s that time of year. For me, there is only one more week until lessons resume. If you haven’t done so already, you, like me, are probably in the middle of scheduling all of your lesson times for the fall. I dread this time of year. Even though I take the month of August off, it is always a monumental task to find the perfect time for each and every student. The problem is that most of the time I spend way too much time worrying and stressing about it rather than just getting it done! I would rather be out enjoying the last rays of summer, but my fun is spoiled with all that is left undone.
Start off by deciding what days and times YOU want to work. After all, it is your business. One colleague of mine only works in the early morning and early afternoon and is typically done by 6:30pm! I choose to work two later mornings per week and then after-school until 9:15pm. Once you decide when you will teach, have a method in place to begin scheduling. I use a seniority based scheduling program as well as a fee deadline, meaning that those who have studied with me the longest get their first lesson choice provided that they have paid the non-refundable deposit and registration fee by the deadline.
I begin the scheduling process in the spring by requiring a deposit and registration fee by the end of May. Those that pay before the deadline get lesson time priority in the fall. On the registration sheet, they are to choose three possible time frames for next year’s lessons. This really helps when August rolls around. I have a basis on which to begin the scheduling. Of course, there are always curveballs: the student who emails a week before lessons deciding that they don’t have time this year to practice, the family of three that needs to change days at the last minute. I have found that rather than getting worked up about these minor inconveniences, it is better to breathe, pause, practice patience…and usually it all works out! The students that want to study with you will make time in their schedule and will make piano (in my case), a priority.
Once your schedule is done, start plugging the times into your Studio Teachers Helper calendar!
So, dust off your desk, fire up the computer and just do it! Treat it like one big puzzle and have faith that you will find that perfect time for each student. Everything usually works out exactly the way it is supposed to.
How do you handle scheduling anxiety? I would love to hear any tricks of the trade you would like to share!