Student Cancelations (Or, Top 10 Ways To Kill Time)

Schools have different policies for one-to-one or small group cancellations: often if the student doesn’t cancel with enough notice (that’s 24 hours in many cases), s/he is charged some portion of the fee anyway – and if you’re a teacher paid by the hour, you may still get paid for the full lesson or part of it. Note that in this case, this is definitely one of the questions to ask at an interview.

One other trick I’ve learned is to avoid giving one-to-one students your own telephone number if you can. They may cancel or postpone by calling you directly and try to get around the school’s rules about notice – it puts you in the awkward situation of either having to give in to them or “turn them in” to the school. I generally feel that if it’s the school’s policy to charge them and pay you…you are entitled to do this.

They know about it and need to cancel in advance. If some emergency comes up for the student, the school can decide what its policy is, but if it’s promised to pay you, then it should.

I go back and forth on which possibility I prefer though – that the student notify the school or me in advance, so I can make other plans for that time (and not get paid), or that I get told at the last minute, perhaps, say, while on the bus traveling to the location (and I get paid something but have time to kill before the next lesson or have wasted time in transit). Maybe like other things in life, variety provides the seasoning, or something like that.

What can you do if you’ve got time to kill when a lesson is canceled?

There’s always preparation, but if you’re otherwise up to speed, you probably won’t need to prepare at that time and may not have access to the materials you need if you are outside the school.

My personal Top 10 Ways To Kill Time between lessons

1. Try on shoes (and boots) you have no intention of buying
2. Have a coffee
3. Browse a bookstore, ideally a second hand one, but if you’re looking to kill time and not to buy, it might as well be a full-price one
4. Go for a walk in a new neighborhood
5. Have a coffee with a co-worker
6. Window shop for clothes
7. Check out what’s on offer at the British Council
8. Read the TEFL Logue or some of the TEFL Logue’s Top 10 TEFL blogs
9. Write a post for the TEFL Logue
10. Have another coffee and try on more shoes

What are your favorite ways to kill time?