Dust and Vacuum: Bloggy Housekeeping

Every once in a while, a little administrative housekeeping and announcement making must be done, so here we go:

First, thank you to all the new visitors from far and wide! I hope you enjoyed what you found, and that you’ll come back regularly! If there is anything I can do for you, or a topic you’d like to see covered, leave a comment or email me and I’ll see what I can do.

Second, I am in the process of making some changes at my official website. I’ve had the same layout, with frequently updated content, since it went online at the new host eighteen months ago. But it isn’t workin’ for me anymore.  So I will be changing the “bookings” page to a news and events calendar. I think it will be more interesting for everyone.

Next, a bit of a rant. For sixteen years (a long time, eh?), I have offered every prospective student a free trial lesson. Every single student who has ever “auditioned” me has stayed in my studio, with the exception of one. I know this makes it sound like I’ve had hundreds of students, so forgive me if it sounds misleading. As a courtesy to prospective students, I have set up and/or rescheduled many, many more appointments for FTLs than students who actually showed up for them. The online world is weird; it doesn’t work like the storefront world. And one of the things that I’ve never quite gotten used to is people, whether virtual or real, who think that A) because it’s free, their time becomes somehow more valuable than my time, so …  I can reschedule them endlessly because “something came up” and B) who don’t see it necessary to call or email to let me know they changed their mind.  On the one hand, the situation is entirely my fault. Because, silly me, I thought that people would jump at the opportunity to get a free 30- to 45-minute lesson to decide whether they were up for the challenge. Like testing out the equipment at the gym, or getting a divorce or bankruptcy consultation, you know.  Unlike fitness centers and family law attorneys however, I thought people would appreciate the fact that I offered something that few other teachers did. (Now I know why.) Not only did people NOT jump, but the vast majority of prospective students are spammers. (If you are a teacher considering getting into the webcam business, this is a definite hazard of which you should be aware.) Ah, the nature of online business. Gotta love it.

That said, I know that Stuff really does come up sometimes. I’ve had to cancel my share of appointments at the last-minute. But honestly, in real life, this only happens a mere fraction of the time. Anymore, I never know whether someone is serious about lessons or not until they show up. I have a four-year-old and a husband who aren’t always so accommodating to the whims of my appointments. No-warning cancellations and rescheduling are not fair to them and are, quite frankly, rude.  So starting April 1, I am returning to the tried-and-true formula, where all students receive a short consult — ten minutes tops — as part of their first paid lesson, to help web students check and optimize connections, and all students tell me more about what they want to do.  I have found that incentives and specials don’t really matter to students who are truly interested in lessons; they stay regardless, because they are already motivated to learn and share. Free stuff is good, but you know what? Nothing in life is free. People are more inclined to show up if they have to pay for it first. I don’t want to sound mean or uncaring or snarky, so I apologize if what I just wrote sounds harsh and “unteacherly.”  The fact is that I AM a professional; this is how I buy groceries and pay my student loans, and the only person I have to blame if my business isn’t running the way it should is ME. I am personally responsible, not only for what you learn from me, but for taking to heart what I learn from you. This is just one of those lessons I have learned.  End rant.

On a lighter (?) note, I ran across a really interesting and sad search term a couple of days ago, which I will be writing about next week. The term is “motivation for tired teachers.” Wow. Talk about tugging at my heart. I heart teachers, too. My colleagues. My friends, even if you are clicking here from a thousand miles away. We’re all in the same boat. How many tired teachers are there? I’d say there are as many tired ones as there are teachers to begin with. Heh. Maybe you’re tired because you too are dealing with fake students? In an upcoming post, I’ll give you some of the ways I rejuvenate and stay motivated.

Finally, if you want to stay up-to-date with the posting here, please sign up for the RSS feed. Feeds are my favorite way of keeping up with all the blogs I read, and I honestly don’t know how I survived before I discovered them. Well, I do, but that’s not the point. I can read a lot more and surf a lot less by subscribing to feeds. Click the tiny orange box up there at the end of the address bar to subscribe in your favorite reader. (I really like Google Reader.) Or you can subscribe by email. And you can leave comments and questions! I answer each and every one.

The sun is shining (here), the birds are singing (here), and the ultimate sign of spring is happening as I write this: the Pond Guys are at my next-door neighbor’s house getting his backyard water feature operational for the season. Here’s hoping your day turns out as fabulous as mine is shaping up to be!

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