Why Do Teachers Cancel Classes?

My friend Becky Rink wrote a great Facebook note about this about a year ago, but I think this subject is important enough to warrant another discussion.

This weekend, I am judging and demonstrating at the Florida Iced Cake Show. I was going to be traveling and rooming with a few cake friends. When the class numbers were sent out a couple weeks before the event, three of my friends made the tough choice to cancel their trip. In each case, the numbers registered for their demos did not cover even half of the cost of their trip. While there was still time for people to register, they could not bank on late registrations. My husband and I made the decision that I would still make the trip even though I will take a loss on it.

Too often I hear people say “I was going to sign up for that class!”. My thought is…but you didn’t. The teacher cannot possibly know that all of you are waiting until the last minute to sign up. My other favorite comment is…”are you teaching that class again here? I wanted to take it, but I had to take so and so’s class.”. Come on, you made your choice. The teachers cannot possibly come back again to offer the same class in the same area any time soon.

When teachers agree to bring classes to you, they have to book flights, book hotels, book a car, gather class supplies, etc. Money starts to add up quickly. Most set their class fees to cover their travel costs and, hopefully, a little something for their time in teaching you.

Why do we procrastinate so much in signing up for the classes? I know that decorators are last minute kind of folks, but this needs to change. The other day, I left town with two people in a class. I got to my destination only to have people start signing up then! I ended up with 11 in the class. Since I supply everything, this meant I was scrambling to make sure I had everything for the students. Yes, we always plan on a couple last minute additions, but 9?

I beg of you, if you see a class you want, sign up early. Tell your friends. Help promote the classes you are interested in so that the teachers will get enough students to make the trip cost effective. Be understanding when a class is canceled. I promise you that no teacher wants to cancel a class!


8 thoughts on “Why Do Teachers Cancel Classes?

  1. Love the blog. This post is awesome. People beg and beg for me to have classes at my bakery/cake shop so I and the teachers go to great lengths in planning and arranging these classes then suddenly those who begged are no where to be found or wait till last minute. Waiting till last minute only adds extra stress to the host and teachers that is NOT necessary. thank you Ruth for a GREAT blog site.

  2. To plan time in your life, schedule on your calender, write instructions, buy supplies, prepare kits for the students. Weigh out icings, and more to do a class. People seem to think teaching is easy – it isn’t – it is organization to the nth – and hoping you didn’t forget some little detail. the students need. Then put on top of that travel expenses – it gets really expensive on the teachers. Thanks Ruth for a great Blog on this subject. The upside on the teachers side is seeing students light up when they realize they can do something they thought was impossible. That is a huge reward for us as teachers. But we still have to make a profit or quit teaching.

  3. Although it was great that you ended up with 11 in your class, I believe onsite registration shouldn’t be offered. That would make the wishy-washy ones buckle down & make a decision & gives the instructor the opportunity to properly prepare.

  4. Even Wilton Instructors like myself go through this all the time. At the 48 hour mark I am supposed to call the store and see how many students I have and if not enough then I must cancel. But then I hear about people coming in and getting upset because the class they wanted is already cancelled. I am sorry, I get paid PER student and I have a minimum I must have. So then they get upset that they either have to find the class at another store and travel further or they have to wait a whole month for the class to come around again. Or some try to BEG me. I can’t imagine what it is like to travel all over the country to teach and have all those things working against you. There are times I see your FB status saying you are headed to such and such or you are at this or that airport and all I think is, THANK GOODNESS you don’t mind flying cause I would be a constant mess. I am already trying to mentally prepare myself to fly to Reno and we still have like 4 months. LOL

  5. Isn’t the solution to this obvious? What is to stop you from putting a deadline on enrollment (and meaning it)?

    Alternatively, offer an incentive for those who sign up X number of weeks ahead. Ensure that the extra amount which will be charged for those who enroll at the last minute covers YOUR last-minute expenses.

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