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Thread: Drop my class?

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    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    Default Drop my class?

    My intermediate/advanced students attendance has been so sporadic I'm not even making my studio rental for their hour. I realize it's the holiday season, but I need more than two people to show up at a time. I'm thinking of dropping my contract with the studio for that hour rental or using that slot for another beginner class.

    I don't want to give up on these ladies. I also don't want to pay for studio space and prepare a class for students that don't care enough to make a commitment. What's the first step in solving this issue? Write them all an email explaining the situation? Other ideas?

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    Moderator Amulya's Avatar
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    Private lessons at another location? Maybe at their home, or maybe they can both together have classes at one of their homes. You could do at your home as well if you would feel comfortable with that. For 2 students that would be ok if you have the space.

    Better would be if you could find a community center, you often don't pay for rent as they pay you to teach there. But you probably end up only having beginners.

    Hope someone has better idea for you. I had the same issue once and I had to drop them.

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    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amulya View Post
    Private lessons at another location? Maybe at their home, or maybe they can both together have classes at one of their homes. You could do at your home as well if you would feel comfortable with that. For 2 students that would be ok if you have the space.
    This.

    If they really want to learn they will understand.

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    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    That people expect to only pay for lessons actually attended yet have those lessons there whenever they have the whim to attend makes me crazy. At the rec center, people sign up for a series of lessons and if they choose not to attend a lesson that's their loss, financially and practically. My suggestion is to charge by the month or session so you can cover your expenses and salary. If people have a financial investment in something they are more likely to follow through with attendence.

    Stand firm! You have nothing to lose but your losses!
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    Senior Member LadyLoba's Avatar
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    I agree with all of the above. You may have to charge a flat fee...and charge more...both to make an income from your work...and to get people to take it seriously. I had the same problem with a creative writing workshop I tried once. I charged a flat fee...but I went with the lowest possible fee...and since the students didnt pay a lot for lessons...they didnt take it seriously from the start...even the more advanced writers. I got a lot of that too...people not showing up. Not only is that bad for you the teacher...that irritates the other students, because when someone decides to wander back in the door...theyre behind...and then everyone else winds up going back over things for them

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    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice ladies! I wish I could use my own fee structure, but I'm part of the studio and I have to use theirs. When two students show up it's not always the same two, it's just my current average in that class right now. My old teacher, in the same town, has dropped her rates to $5 per class. I'm losing students to her and I refuse to lower my $10 drop in rate in a student battle where everyone will end up worse off in the long run.

    I'm feeling frustrated and and not sure if it's me, them, being undercut, or just crazy schedules. If it was me, I hope they would tell me so I could fix it. I can't keep losing money like this. I'm willing to teach, but they have to show up to learn.

    Is a blanket letter a good way to tell them they may be losing their class if they don't start showing up? Would an individual phone call be too threatening in this situation? If I don't break even in January, I'm going to have to fill that time with another beginner class.

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    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    Pricing Information

    This is the fee scale at our studio. For existing students I lower the drop in fee to $10 per class instead of the suggested $12. I'm paying $15 an hour for just studio space. Not counting music, insurance, advertising, training for me, gas to get there, teaching clothes, etc. Hard to justify holding a class for an average of two people showing up at a time.

    We have about five to six belly dance teachers in a town of 28,180 people. Per capita income is about $20,000. Around 15% of people are below the poverty line. It's a rough market here.
    Last edited by Jane; 11-30-2011 at 10:58 PM. Reason: Added info

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    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane View Post
    My intermediate/advanced students attendance has been so sporadic I'm not even making my studio rental for their hour. I realize it's the holiday season, but I need more than two people to show up at a time. I'm thinking of dropping my contract with the studio for that hour rental or using that slot for another beginner class.

    I don't want to give up on these ladies. I also don't want to pay for studio space and prepare a class for students that don't care enough to make a commitment. What's the first step in solving this issue? Write them all an email explaining the situation? Other ideas?
    Write to them and explain the situation, include whether they turn up or not you still have to pay studio rental and give of your valuable time also explain you will need to increase fees if the class stays open to cover the studio rental costs even if they don't show and the fees will be payable in advance, with one 1hr makeup class at the end of the term IF 2 or more students require it ( a makeup class covers those students who had a genuine reason for being absent - sick kid or they were sick etc), have them sign some sort of contract so they understand what they are paying for and their obligations.

    If that doesn't work then I'd maybe have an open class level if you want to keep the time slot, and if the advanced/intermediates turn up then they will just have to go with the flow! If you did start a new class I'd suggest you have a pay in full with some sort of contract, so if no one or only a couple turn up your costs are still covered. Hope it works out for you.
    ~Mosaic
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    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    I see two separate questions coming up on this thread:

    1. Is it worth your time/energy/commute/hassle to show up to teach a class that has only 1-2 students?

    2. If you answer #1 as "yes", then how do you keep from losing money?


    So, #1 is really a question about your priorities and how you like to use your time/energy.

    On question #2, here are some options:

    1. Move the class to your garage or basement (if you have one).
    2. Check whether there is a church or school with a room you can use either for free, or for a more affordable rate.
    3. Move your class to your local city's recreation program, YWCA, or your local school district's adult education program.
    4. Check on what it would cost to rent a local yoga studio, martial arts studio, or group exercise classroom at a local gym.

    Instead of doing all the above research yourself, ask the students to do it for you. Maybe one of them has a basement or garage you could use. If they're not willing to help you find a more cost-effective location, maybe they're not committed enough to continue bothering with.

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    Member onela's Avatar
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    Maybe there's a reason other than "the holidays" why people aren't showing up- maybe the location or time is not convenient for your students, or maybe a fresh focus would perk them back up (maybe their attention just needs to be refreshed, like if you worked on them with a different prop or something like that?). I agree with all the advice that you've been given so far, and I think that besides just telling them that if there aren't enough people every week that you won't be able to carry on, you should also ask for feedback from them.

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