Depending on where you live, your state or country may or may not be heading back to in-classroom teaching this fall. Perhaps students will be attending on a staggered or reduced class schedule. everywhere parents are frustrated and concerned about all the uncertainties associated with their children attending school this fall. Wouldn’t it be nice if the piano studio was one place they could count on NOW to have clear guidelines and options created for them? Whether you have decided to remain online to begin the year, remain online all year, switch to in-studio instruction at a future date, or open completely this fall, parents need to know your plans as soon as possible.
The past school year was rife with decisions being made on a day by day basis. We have already clarified that the numbers almost anywhere in the United States are not improving and waiting additional weeks prior to September isn’t likely to change minds or hearts concerning school or activities. That’s why it’s vital you as a teacher or owner of your business be as clear and committed as possible. The security of your business depends on it! Wishy-washy commitments and “wait and see” only causes people to consider not signing up for your program at all, or perhaps looking elsewhere for a more solid commitment.
First, decide whether your plan is virtual teaching or in studio teaching. If parents will be offered the option for either then let them know that now. Depending on each families’ needs, some children really need to stay online for a while longer due to medical issues of family members at home. If you plan to open (or you are already open) then commit to a sanitation plan for your studio. Will students be required to wear masks? Can parents attend the lesson or are you asking them to remain in the car or run errands? Should students come with hands already washed or will you ask them to wash them at the studio immediately before the lesson? The more specific you are in a carefully and clearly written letter to your families the better your parents response will be and more secure they will feel sending their children to you for lessons.
Above all, commit to an attitude of flexibility should the situation in your city or county change one way or the other. For example, this year, I padded the studio schedule with an additional two weeks to allow for the possiblity of an increase of illness due to the uncertainities of the medical issues we are currently facing. Planning ahead was never more important to the studio teacher than it is now. A well crafted newsletter in early August is invaluable as we forge ahead into a new school year. students are starved for school to begin in whatever form it takes having been home now for five months! Let’s welcome them into as exciting a piano year as we can possibly provide! My next post will discuss ways to include as many of the possiblities for recitals as we can given social distancing requirements.
Carol Ann Barry