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How Flexible Should You Be with Non-Traditional Students?

Not everybody has the resources to be the perfect student despite their best intentions. That means sometimes students have to miss class when their kids’ babysitter flakes or they neglect to turn in their homework because they have to work late at their full-time job. We asked nail school instructors to tell us: How flexible should you be when accommodating non-traditional students?

It depends. Every situation is different and factors have to be taken into account. (For instance, is this an isolated event or does it happen on a regular basis?) Generally if I see that it's going to be a problem we sit down and come up with a game plan and go from there. If they are dedicated to this career and really want to do it, they will find a way to get the work done if given the opportunity.
Gracie King
Bella Beauty College, San Antonio, Texas

In the current economy, we have to be flexible. People need to work. That being said, there needs to be a meeting to determine how serious this student is about this career path. I think ultimately there is room to be flexible, within reason.
Danielle Martinez-Oliveira
New York Institute of Beauty, Islandia, N.Y.

You need to be flexible because life happens and the students can always get caught up. I have found that all my nail students really want to be there, whereas in the cosmetology program I teach they don't always take it as seriously.
Denise Ohlerking
Venus Beauty Academy, Aston, Pa.

I look at each person one on one. Life happens and I hope that they are in my program to change their life. If that is why they are here, I can help them. I will work with them to make that happen. I have traveled most every road there is and can appreciate most any situation. By that same token, it is not easy to lie to me or pull the wool over my eyes. I find students are very open and very honest and sometimes I get “too much information,” but it gives them someone to look up to and something to strive for a little more. I hope I am being a good role model by not being a stick in the mud!
Teri McLemore
Alabama School of Nail Technology, Jackson, Ala.

I would say that if a student misses classes due to unforeseen circumstances, it is our policy to be flexible within reason and we usually decide how to manage the situation on a case by case basis. If a student is habitually late we counsel her, explaining the importance of developing good work and study ethics while she is with us, many times using industry examples of nail professionals who have “made the grade” in our industry as leaders to model herself after.

If a student continues to miss class, homework, etc., after counseling we address the problem again and suggest as an alternative solution to leave the program and re-start when her personal life has settled and she is in a better position to dedicate her time to the study of nail technology.

Our ultimate goal for all our students is to see them successfully complete their studies and become the very best the industry has to offer, and although at times it can be challenging, the rewards are far greater when we watch them bloom into the successful nail professional we have always seen in them.

Jeanne Palagonia
Brio Academy, Meriden, Conn.

In general, our school tries to be very accommodating to those students who have issues while attending. If something tends to be habitual, we try to tailor-fit the program to that student and adjust their contract accordingly — so instead of attending full-time, she becomes a part-time student, etc. As far as homework goes, I try my best not to assign it because life happens when they’re away from school. Most of my students have busy schedules that involve their children or full-time jobs (sometimes both!) so I try not to make their education another burden.

On the other hand, I also explain to my students that while we can be accommodating with their schedules at school, we really are trying to prepare them for the professional life that's ahead of them. I would rather them have the opportunity to iron out problem situations while in school than deal with these sometimes stressful situations with a full book of clients while they're working.
Christy Slavinsky
Bene's International School of Beauty, Spring Hill, Fla. 

The school I work at is very flexible (almost too flexible) but for the most part it works because we only offer a part-time nail program and there is always time for making up the work. It really depends on how versatile the instructor is.
Trista Pushard
Las Vegas

How flexible are you with your students? Let us know in the comments!

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Keywords:   cosmetology schools     work life balance  



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