I used to have a problem with students arriving early or staying late.  It was never a huge problem, but it was certainly an irritating one especially when I only had a short break between certain lessons.  I often hear other teachers complaining about this also, so I thought I’d share how I’ve solved it in my studio.

The Infamous Clock
I mention this in the Preparing for Fall series because I need new batteries for the flat, digital clock that I attach near my doorbell.  This clock is the “schedule police” for me and students know that they are not to ring the doorbell before their lesson time.  When I first used the clock, I had to send out an email to tell parents why it was there and that it would help their student in the following ways:

  1. Waiting until your lesson time to ring the doorbell would help ensure that all students get the full length of instruction since I will not have to answer the door in the middle of a lesson.
  2. Waiting until your lesson time to ring the doorbell will ensure that I will be in a great mood because I have gotten the break that I need to recharge between lessons. 
  3. Picking up your child on time shows respect for the time that I make for my family.  If you are unable to pick up your child on time, a $5 charge will be added to the monthly tuition fee per every 5 minutes of being late. 
  4. If you are late picking your children up, I reserve the right to transport your children wherever I need to go at the time. 
    [I added this to the policy after a parent’s tardiness made ME late in picking up my own kids].

Troubleshooting

If you use this kind of system, you will inevitably have someone who will come early and ring the doorbell anyway.  So here are a few suggestions for dealing with this:

  1. Don’t answer the door until their lesson time anyway.
  2. Answer the door, let them in, and instruct them about how they should do it correctly the next time.
  3. Answer the door, explain how things should work, and then let them sit on your front porch to wait until the correct time.

I have always opted for option 2 because I am too nice!  But, if a student still does not respect my time and my rules after 2 times, then I will ignore the doorbell or use option #3.  I have to stick to my policies in order to enforce them. It’s so hard for the first week or two, but if you stick to your policy, then it will save so much irritation after that. 

And what piano student doesn’t want their teacher to be in a bright and cheery mood for their lesson!

(The clock in the picture is from Radio Shack, but I found my current clock at Walmart in the automotive department.)