Back in March, I posted this article on how to take unscheduled time off (for when you are sick, your kids are sick, you have jury duty, knee surgery, maternity leave, etc.) and not experience a change in your monthly income. I wanted to revisit this topic and give some more practical examples since there are a number of tuition structures that we have addressed.

Tell Me How to Take Unscheduled Time Off of Piano Teaching in a Nutshell

Here’s the general idea:

  1. Plan your scheduled time off. I recommend at least 7 weeks off. This is typical of a teacher of children.
  2. Add flex weeks (unscheduled time off). Perhaps 2-3 weeks a year? It’s up to you and your needs.
  3. Subtract the total number of weeks that you will be taking off from 52 and then calculate your yearly tuition plan so that you are charging for the total number of lessons you plan to teach in the year and for which you are collecting equal payments. The linked article shows you how to do this in 3 ways: Tuition divided equally by the month (12 payments), tuition divided equally by the school year months (9 payments) in which summer can be viewed separately, and tuition divided into semester payments in which summer can be calculated differently.
  4. Send out your teaching schedule including your scheduled time off, but not your unscheduled flex weeks.
  5. Throughout the year, keep track of how many of your flex weeks you use. When you do use a flex week or day, you can send out an email and say something like this:

    Something has come up and I need to use one of my flex weeks of vacation. This is time off that you are not and will not pay for as I will make sure that I am scheduled to teach xx number of lessons in the year as outlined in your policy. Thank you for your understanding. Enjoy the week off and use this time to really polish your pieces and skills to perfection!

  6. Take off any unused flex weeks or days at the end of your term. Toward the end of your term, do an inventory of and inform parents how many weeks you have taught and how many weeks you still have left to teach according to your policy. If you have a week of flex time left over, then you can say something like this,

The last day of lessons will be July 22nd unless I have an emergency and have to take off a week of teaching in which the last day of lessons will be July 29th. At this point, I will have taught the xx number of weeks that are outlined in my policy and for which you will have paid.

What about other tuition plans?

Step 6 might be a little confusing if you are not on the tuition plan that divides tuition into 12 monthly payments. If you are doing a school year + summer plan or a semester + summer plan, then you can do the same thing as is outlined in step 6 only at the end of your school year or at the end of the semester.

For example, if you are using the school year + summer plan, and you have 1 flex week left, you can simply send an email mid-spring that says,

The last day of lessons will now be May 12th unless I have an emergency and have to take off a week of teaching in which the last day of lessons will be May 19th. At this point, I will have taught xx number of weeks for the school year that are outlined in my policy and for which you will have paid.

If you are using the semester + summer plan, and have 1 flex week left, you will do the same thing only send the email before the end of the semester and explain the same thing using different dates.

What about if I only take 1-2 days off and not an entire week?

If you do not take weeks off at a time, it does get a little more confusing. However, you just need to keep careful track of which days you are taking off and which days you are teaching during that flex time. I prefer to take the entire week off especially if my child or I get sick at the beginning of the week. It makes for easier math! But, you can still use this program by only take days off. You just need to keep track of which days of the week you are taking off so that you are scheduled to teach the number of lessons that you have promised no matter what day of your student’s lessons.

For example, if you take a Tuesday and Wednesday off as a flex day, then that last week of lessons, you will have to teach your Tuesday and Wednesday students, but not the other students in order to make the calendar come out correctly.

I hope that helps clarify some of the finer details in a plan like this!

Don’t forget:

If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get articles about the business and other parts of teaching piano delivered right to your email! Your email will never get shared with any third party and I won’t bother you unless there’s something good to share!

Photo by bennylin0724