Lesson Scheduling

Lori Bolt said: Aug 23, 2014
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

How do other teachers handle scheduling for the new school year? I find it becoming more difficult to do it myself, with parent work schedules & student activities to work around. I’m tempted to have parents arm wrestle for the choicest times! Do you (teacher) decide who has what slot, or do you have parents sign up online, or…..?

Lori Bolt

Virginia Lamboley said: Aug 23, 2014
Virginia Lamboley
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Clearwater, FL
11 posts

Yes, I am also finding it difficult to schedule the new school year times! I have always given my existing students the option of keeping “their” time from the previous year. AFTER that , I give priority to the students who have been in my studio and Then schedule newer students or those who have been ‘taking’ a break during the summer. Last, I post my schedule and leave open times that parents can either schedule or ask others to “switch” if possible. I think that by putting some of the responsibility on parents to organize the “switch”, it takes the pressure off me to make everything work. I also use my Google Calendar to let parents switch lesson times with another student if they cannot attend a lesson for an acceptable reason (I tell them that birthday parties and such are not acceptable reasons). They must immediately text, email or call to inform me of the switch, so I can plan accordingly.

I know this is all pretty basic, and am interested to hear if anyone has any other ideas.

Virginia Lamboley
String Things Suzuki

Mengwei said: Aug 23, 2014
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

I teach through the summer and let summer students have the first pick of fall lesson times (usually they keep what they had). Then there is a loose “hierarchy” based on how long they have been with me. The “less popular” times that end up unassigned are open for when they have a birthday party or something and want to come outside of their usual time.

Danielle Gomez Kravitz said: Aug 24, 2014
Danielle Gomez Kravitz
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
59 posts

I teach year-round. So the families all know that nothing changes regardless of season. Even if I didn’t teach in the summer I would still keep everyone at their same lesson times for the sake of my own sanity.

I have a “switch list” that I keep on my computer. Whenever a family needs a new time, I jot down their needs, what times they would prefer, etc… So I use that to keep track of possible opportunities. Like, so-and-so quit but I know family X wanted an evening time…

If the family needs the new lesson time now and can’t wait for the switch list, I give them the contact information for other families that have lessons during the time slots that they want. If they can’t wait then it’s their job to start the pleading/negotiating.

Lori Bolt said: Aug 25, 2014
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

I also teach year round, but a reduced number of students in summer due to their vacations & other interruptions. Rather than have a student here and there on my summer schedule, I choose to reduce the number of days I teach for July & Aug., offering morning times etc. I may use your solution, Danielle, in the future and just return to the previous school year’s schedule every Sept.

That being said, I still would love to hear more thoughts on what works for others :)

Lori Bolt

Heather Figi said: Aug 26, 2014
Heather FigiViolin
Eugene, OR
97 posts

I met a teacher in Michigan who had a mandatory meeting before the school year for all parents in her studio. She had all the Monday request families go in one room, the Tuesday request families in another and so forth. Then she made them work together as a group to create a schedule for that day.

I love that approach but have never been in a position to do this.

I ask that each family submit 3, one hour time windows/days and then create a schedule from these requests. If needed, I prioritize families who have been in my studio longer when there is more than one request for the same time.

Good Luck!

Laura said: Aug 27, 2014
Laura Appert SpringhamViolin, Viola
33 posts

For the past several years I have done this:

Keep current students day/time the same
Parents can then request if they need to change
Ask for a switch with another family who may be flexible or put them in a gap of a student who is not returning
Rearrange as necessary if there are families who moved away, quit, switch teachers, etc.

Sometimes there are times where you just can’t fit a family in. I have learned that I can’t please everyone and if a student really wants to study with you, they will figure it out!

Lauren said: Aug 28, 2014
Lauren Lamont
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Edmonds, WA
33 posts

I am not the most tech savvy person, but always trying to learn how to use it more in my teaching. For summer, I condense my teaching to 3 full days since students can come early in the day, and their schedules are irregular with vacations and activities. I put up a shared Google doc and parents select their times that work for their own schedules. (They do this at the beginning of the summer, not continually through the summer) I email out the schedule at the beginning of each week, and then ask that any changes after that point be directly emailed to me to let me know.

For the school year schedule, I have some students that I know are limited because of parent’s work schedule—they get priority. Then returning students, especially with a consistent history of attendance, get next priority. I try my best to please most but there’s always one, or two little bugs to work out.

After that, I post the schedule and everyone’s contact information on un-shared google docs, and since I don’t do makeup lessons, they are free to call around and trade times, and must email me and let me know. I have found that by putting the reschedule work on the parent, often they make the original time work. And if not, it fosters teamwork among my parents, not only for scheduling, but also morphs into getting together for practice times.

Lauren said: Aug 28, 2014
Lauren Lamont
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Edmonds, WA
33 posts

A correction to my post, I put my schedule on “Un Editable” google docs, not “Un Shared” :-)

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