Lets focus for a bit on our studio policies, shall we? I believe that it is very, very important to have policies. I hope that if you teach anything, that you have policies written up. If you don't, let me encourage you to begin!
I wrote mine up last year when I began teaching here in Canada. I did not write them because I felt my students were going to be nothing but trouble and I was going to need them. (If any of my students are reading this...you aren’t trouble! Thank you!) Right now, I teach mostly people from my church or one of their family members. When I first began giving out my policies and requiring my students, or prospective students, to read them, I felt bad. I felt like they were going to perceive me to be a big meany-pants because I have lots of “rules.” And who wants lots of rules?
I don’t feel that way anymore. For one thing, my policies are not rules. (Well, mostly.)They ARE guidelines for me, my students, and their parents to follow so that my students can get the most from piano lessons. I usually hand them to my student or his parent, and say something to the affect of, "Here are my studio policies, which I *lovingly* refer to as my "corner-of-the-church" policies. I don't forsee any problems, but these are to protect myself should any complicated situation arise. Just read through them to get an idea of what I do and what I expect, and let me know if you have any questions." Recently I had a mom thank me numerous times for having my policies written up. She really appreciated that she could read through them.
While I don’t foresee any problems with my current students, in the future I may be able to take on more students from the community. In today’s day and age, it is very easy to get in trouble with authorities because of disgruntled students and parents. This can be avoided by having potential problems covered in your policies so that you can say, “This is how I have chosen to handle this situation, and you agreed to it when you read my policies and signed the dotted line.”
There is a general outline to follow when you write up your policies. Here is the rough outline of things I came up with to include in my policies (Which, by the way, you can read for yourself by clicking here.)
Lesson requirements for student and teacher
Practice requirements for student and parent
If you read my policies, you know that I expounded on these points quite a bit. :) Thats because I can’t say anything in just a few words. But these are the basic things I felt I needed to cover. I also read several other people’s policies to come up with these things and decide what I needed to include.
Lets make this a little teacher-to-teacher discussion! You may not teach piano, it may be some other instrument or even voice, still feel free to join! If you have written studio policies, we would love to read them and get fresh ideas. If your policies are posted on a blog or website, leave your link in the comments below. If they are not posted, but you would like to get into this discussion, go ahead and email them to me. And let us know...why do you include the things you have in your policies? What is your opinion on studio policies?