Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Missing a Lesson

So what happens when I miss a lesson?

Nope, I'm not talking about canceling a lesson. I'm talking about having a scheduled lesson I don't show up for.

It's happened to me four times. So on average, about once every 15 months.

1. Car Trouble
2. Coach taught at several rinks, and I went to the wrong rink
3. Absolute kerfuffle about dates and times
4. Canceled at the last minute due to traffic tie up.

What do I do?

I offer to pay for my missed lesson.

In the case of the car trouble I was able to give my coach a few hours warning and he didn't charge me. In the case of the wrong rink, I paid. In the kerfuffle about dates and times, the coach had a student before me, saw I wasn't on the ice and went home, as I was last student of the day. She didn't charge me. When I had to cancel due to traffic, I paid.

My job to be there on time, ready to skate. If I'm not, I offer to pay.

I'm rather astonished by the stories I hear from coaches about parents and their skaters who don't show up for lessons, sometimes for weeks in a row. I'm a little shocked by these stories. First off, that adults would think they can engage a professional then not treat them professionally; second, that coaches put up with it. But, none of my business how a coach conducts their business. I treat my coaches the way I'd like to be treated. Pay up if I show up or not, unless the coach is nice enough to give me a pass.

Well, maybe coaches don't need to be this tough.

Maybe coaches need Accountant Cat to keep parents in line


  1. How would you handle illness? (real-illness, meaning fever, or vomiting; not a bit of head-ache symptoms)

  2. My personal policy is to give a coach as much warning as possible. The reason I'm not showing up is irrelevant.
    I think it's nice if the coach tells me at the beginning of our relationship what their policy is. Coach Cruella has it on her business card. Another place I skate at, the rink has a 24 hour policy, relieving the coaches of the problem of hiring Accountant Cat.

  3. Yes, "Do unto others" is a good rule. I once had to cancel a lesson on short notice and there wasn't a doubt in my mind to pay for the lesson. The coach's time is valuable, just as mine is, and as he is professional enough to honor my time, I am likewise professional enough to honor his. I pay for my lessons in advance, usually 12 lessons at a time, and keep a punch card to keep track of lessons taken, and he is nice enough to adjust to my ever-changing schedule because of work. I am sure he appreciates the payment in advance and shows that appreciation by letting me schedule around my needs. "Do unto others", "Customer Service", "Good Manners"--call it what you will--makes things civilized and is always appropriate!

  4. Where I am it varies by rink what the policy is. The ones where you pay through the rink seem to have a 24 hours notice/pay policy, where you pay the coaches directly it is up to the coaches. HOWEVER, while I am happy to pay a coach if I can't turn up at the last minute, in return I expect my coach to ALWAYS be there ready to do my scheduled lesson, not to just not turn up/disappear off for doctor/lawyer/whatever appointment when I expect to skate. So far I have probably had my coach not teach around half of the lessons I was expecting (with no notice that he wouldn't be doing so). At which point then no, I'm not paying for lessons where I have given notice at least the previous evening even if it is less than 24 hours. I would never just not turn up without even letting him know!

    And no, don't want to change coaches (he's fab when he's there), and it's not that unusual either!

    1. Everybody's different. I have to drive an hour to the rink and sometimes take off from work. My reaction to a coach showing up for a lesson for half the time would be to find another coach. There's lots of fab coaches out there. On the other hand I'm doing beginner ice dance lot's of people can coach me, if I was gold ice dance, I would probably take another approach (e.g. texting him/her before I left work/home to make sure I had a lesson)

  5. I've never had to cancel a lesson without notice, and never had a coach cancel on me without notice.

    I guess I'm lucky that way :)

    If I 'stood up' the coach though, I'd expect to pay.