Offering Makeup Lessons for Students who are Absent

Should my school offer make up lessons?

 

When I took over the school that I used to own, I took over all the rules and

 

guidelines. Actually, I took over a school that didn’t have ANY rules! 

 

Students were free to come and go as they pleased.

 

There were 3 ways that they could sign up for lessons: 

 

1.  there was a book with a calendar in it. They could write their name in the

 

time slot they wanted to take a lesson.

 

2.  call me or the part-time staff that I had (the part-time staff only worked

 

about 8 hours per week back then)

 

3. they could email us

 

 

Scheduling the old school way

 

 

Scheduling and handling the reservations was a pretty big job in itself.

 

Students had cards with squares on the back that we ticked off each time they

 

took a lesson.

 

Sometimes they forgot their cards and we had to try to keep track of that as

 

well. 

 

About a year later when we grew a little bigger a friend

 

recommended I look into an online reservation system. After a few months of

 

procrastinating I finally did and it saved me a lot of time, energy and money. 

 

I readily admit that I should have changed the rules and implemented more

 

structure as soon as I took the school over. 

 

 

Students could cancel without any penalty. They could just not show up and

 

still not lose the lesson.

 

Students often asked for extensions on their contracts. No problem! 

 

 

What kinds of rules should my school have?

 

The first rule that I suggest implementing is your makeup rule. 

 

Should you offer make up lessons or not? How many per month or year? How

 

far ahead of a lesson should my students have to cancel lessons before

 

they’re penalized?

 

 

First off, let’s define what a make up lesson is, since some schools may have

 

their own idea or definition of what that may be.

 

 

A make up lesson is when a student is absent from a lesson due to illness or

 

for personal reasons.

 

 

Every school should have a rule that explains and clearly defines:

 

 

a. How many make up lessons students are able to take each month or year.

 

For example, students can cancel and make up one lesson per month.

 

 

b. Schools define the deadlines for when students must cancel their lesson by.

 

For example, students must cancel by 11:00pm the night before the lesson or

 

they’ll lose that lesson credit entirely.

 

 

Or students must cancel no later than three hours before the lesson or they’ll

 

lose the lesson credit entirely.

 

 

IMPORTANT: Set a time limit for how long students can

reserve makeup lessons

 

 

c. How long is the make up lesson valid?

 

 

For example, when a student cancels a lesson, how long do they have until that

 

“make up lesson” expires (for example, 21 days)

 

 

So Yuko cancels her lesson before the deadline and she has 21 days to make it

 

up.

 

 

IMPORTANT: if she cancels the make up lesson, the original expiration date for

 

that make up lesson applies.

 

 

Scenario A: The deadline is 11:00 pm the night before.

 

 

Yuko cancels her lesson at 10:30pm on August 1st.

 

 

She’s given a make up lesson and has 21 days to do the make up lesson, which

 

means the expiry date for the make up lesson is August 22nd.

 

 

Yuko reserves a make up lesson on August 7th.

 

 

She cancels the make up lesson on August 5th – The deadline remains the

 

same.

 

 

The deadline is not for an additional 21 days from the date that she canceled,

 

it’s the original make up lesson deadline.

 

 

So even if Yuko cancels her make up lesson on August 5th, the make up date

 

wouldn’t change to the 26th, it would remain August 22nd. It DOES NOT

 

continue to change each time that she cancels the make up lesson.

 

 

Of course there may be exceptions to the rule, when admin chooses or needs

 

to override the system and allow for a student who needs to miss an entire

 

month because of influenza, etc. However having clearly defined rules in place

 

is critical to ensuring that students (or parents) are not taking advantage of

 

you.

 

Be careful how many make up lessons you offer.

 

 

I’ll cover more things about ticket types and rules in next week’s blogs. Having

 

clear rules in place will save you a lot of headaches, time and money.

 

Structuring rules the right way can also create extra revenue. More about that

 

next week!

 

Keeping track of all of this… isn’t fun! Pocket Passport’s online reservation

 

system is a flexible solution for language schools. Cancelation rules, makeup

 

lessons, level up, level down and lots more. 

 

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