What To Do When A Teacher Leaves & Takes Your Students!

A beloved teacher leaving to another studio is one of the most difficult challenges a studio owner can face. In this video, you’ll learn exactly how to ensure that you retain all your current students and get through this tricky time:
Step One: Reconnect with your current students and their parents.
Step Two: Reignite your students enthusiasm for your studio and use the ‘Shiny Disco Ball’ strategy to keep them excited.
Step Three: Refocus your mind back onto your vision of what you are creating with your studio and why you do what you do.

Here’s the Transcription…

Hi, it’s Chantelle here from Studio Expansion, and today I would like to share with you an email that I received last week from a lady called Hayley Barker. Now Hayley works in a studio in Central New South Wales, and she’s having a little bit of a hard time. And so today I want to share with you her email and, then what I responded with as a way to get through this difficult time.

So, here’s what she said, “Unfortunately our studio is experiencing some difficult times at the moment, in fact for the whole year. We’ve lost four of our senior teachers in the past 24 months; one due to retirement, one teacher opening her own studio and the other two left our studio to follow her. We’re in a serious rough patch where we’ve lost a lot of students who’ve followed these other teachers. I’m doing my best to keep afloat with the small number of students I have, but I’m beginning to feel it’s impossible.”

Now, you can clearly tell from this email that Hayley is in a little bit of dire straits. She’s feeling like maybe this is a personal affront to her. The first thing in this situation is to know that it’s not about you; it’s not a personal thing. It’s important that we have the distance to know what are personal relationships and business decisions. We need to put this in the business hat, so you can start taking action. If you’re too emotionally involved and feeling rejected, then you’re not going to be able to step up and be the leader to guide your studio through this time.

So, here are three bits of advice that wrote back to Hayley with. They all begin with “R”, so keep track of this. The first one is to reconnect. Reconnecting right now is vital. Your community right now are seeing these changes, they’re seeing the turbulence and what they’re looking for is some certainty. They’re probably weighing up in their mind, “Ooh, should we go with this teacher, or should we stay?” And if you don’t address it, the chances are they’re going to go. The studios, who in these times of crisis, who rise above and show their students that this is why we stay, this is why we love this studio, they’re the ones that are going to retain their students.

So, here’s how you do it: The best thing to do is to personally connect with each of your students. It might be a big job, but it’s truly worth it. If you pick up the phone to each parent, and say, “Hi, it’s Chantelle here. I’m just calling to see how you’re doing and how you’re feeling. How do you think little Sarah is going in her lessons at the moment?” Show that you care, show that you’re willing to spend the time to pick up the phone and just touch base. Not a sales call, you’re not offering them anything, just truly seeing how they are. And that is a very valuable thing to do at this period in time. So, reconnecting with each one of your staff or child, and you can actually do the same with the kids as well. Try to have a little one on one chat with each of the kids to let them know that you’re caring about what they want to achieve, what they’ve found difficult this year, a little touch base session.

The second thing, once you’ve done your reconnecting, is to reignite. Now, reignite is fabulous. When there is some turbulence going on, I call it a shiny disco ball. If they’ve got something, an event or something that engages them that they can look forward to, it’s going to make them more inclined to stay, so that they can participate in that event. Something like going on a tour or doing a performance, or having a musical, it could even be as simple as having a party or movie night. But something that brings the community together, focuses their attention, focuses their energy and lets them reaffirm, “why are we staying here,” because we wouldn’t get these opportunities anywhere else. You are creating this community, this culture, where they are just so engaged, so enthralled they can’t think of going anywhere else. It’s too much fun!

So, get your shiny disco ball moment coming up, getting that looming, so it’s getting everyone excited and getting everyone excited and talking about your studio, and that’s really important.

So once we’ve done our reconnect, we’ve reignited their passion, the third thing that’s vital right now is to refocus, planning ahead, and also refocusing with your teachers. If you’ve found that there’re some teachers leaving, then it’s really important to find out why. What aren’t they getting from your studio? What type of mentoring opportunities do they want? What type of skill development? What knowledge or training so they need to feel really valued and appreciated within your environment. So, touching base and really establishing and setting goals for each of your teachers will help to keep them motivated and engaged within your community. And that’s really something that probably, it doesn’t happen enough. Touching base with both what are their goals, what are their fears, what are their aspirations and how you can help them to get there. It may be opening their own studio, but if you are aware that that is their goal, you can structure and pace it in a way where it doesn’t damage their own business. And that gives you a little bit of the edge.

So, these are three really vital things to employ when times are a little bit tough, just like Hayley’s been finding. So, the first is to reconnect, get back in touch with each of your parents. Know what’s going on, and show them you have the strength to address what needs to happen and where we’re going to take the studio. The second one is to reignite. Show them what’s coming up and get them excited about an event. And the third one is to refocus, get your teachers back onto the vision, get them focusing on why you do what you do, and why it’s so important. Make them feel valued and appreciated, and that is going to really help pull you through these tough times until you come through the other end.

So, thanks for listening, I hope this has been really valuable for you, and I look forward to speaking with you soon. If you’ve got a question, send me an email. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!

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