Re: Art Fees
- The WAY you collect the money is important - especially with 6 through 8th. If students notice that you are keeping track this can give them incentive to pay. When I taught at a private school, they collected small fees for many things (maybe even too many). The PE teacher told me that he usually charged more than what was needed to make up for the students that "never" paid. I know youth leaders that do this for a cushion as well. However, later I realized that at this school, it was the same students that usually didn't turn in their money and part of it was because they easily got away with it so many times. No follow up. The PE water fountain was right outside of my art room - and I overheard a fourth grader talking about some money that was due (for a PE shirt or something). He told a newer student, "Oh, you don't have to pay it." And part of his reasoning, I think, was because no one ever followed up with him specifically. And after so many times of not ever sending in his money and getting away with it, well he was correct, he didn't have to "really" pay it....
So I would be sure to clearly let the kids know that you will be keeping track - and it may be a bit of work on your end, but once you have established a system, it should be less and less work. Maybe use an extra class roster to keep track of who paid. Highlight names that send in the money the first week in yellow, highlight the late ones in pink - and no highlight for the non-payers. And maybe use blue to highlight financial need... But when students see that you have a tangible way of keeping track - this can be very motivating. Also, send home a small note two times. The first time just mention that you are collecting an art fee and that money needs to be in right away - (giving too long of a due date could delay things even more). When you send out the next note, maybe a week later, be sure to THANK those that turned in their money so promptly - and kindly remind those that haven't paid yet to try and get it turned in as soon as possible so you can move onto other things, etc.
One year, when I collected for a couple of things, I noticed the SAME names were not highlighted on my checklists - meaning they were the same, regular ones that didn't turn in their money. Now some of them may have truly had money problems, but many times it is out of bad habit. If you do keep a checklist, this is where you will have to decide how to follow up. For example, when we collected for sketchbooks, I decided to remind the class (instead of individuals)- and I showed them the list - and pointed out that so many students still haven't sent in the money... and told students to please double check with their parents, etc. (accountability) I also told them that if there is any financial need, to just let me or the office know and we can easily work something out, but to please communicate with us. Now you will decide how to follow up... but when I got down to the final FEW names that didn't pay in each class (and there were not that many), well I let it go. I knew one of the students had parents that were out of work - and well, we collected enough to pay for all of the sketchbooks and it was time to move on. But I did save the recorded checklists just in case
I think that many times when small fees do not get turned in, it is also due to lack of clarity. Students forget so much as it is - and many times they don't remember to tell their parents -or newsletters and school sheets get lost on the way home (I noticed this a lot with a 5th grade class recently -their backpacks always seemed to swallow or eat important school info - lol) Or students recall while in the car line or remember at some random time and they say, "Oh, I think I need some art money." So having a little slip to send home is helpful - one teacher even sent home envelopes one year - wow! that was a lot of envelopes, but each had the name of the student, amount due and teacher's info - it helped. And if you have an e-letter or newsletter, mention it there too.
The amount you ask for is sometimes a factor too. Sometimes a round number is easier for everyone to remember -and I know you are trying to keep things fair, but asking for five dollars may be easier to cognitively work with than asking for three or four. Sounds trite, but people juggle so much as it is, and at times when it feels like they are paying little fees non-stop- (getting nickeled and dimed) well using round numbers can help make things more of a success.
Also, sometimes people don't take the collection of ONE dollar as serious as say, maybe a TEN dollar fee. Just human nature.
And don't feel bad asking for a small art fee - because the little bit that everyone chips in can really add up... and can then allow you use your larger budget better - while the students benefit in the long run. But do be careful as to how often you ask for fees and then when you do, be sure to let students and parents know that you will be keeping track. You do not ever want to harass, especially for such a small amount, but healthy accountability is truly needed - especially to develop good habits. Kids quickly learn when they can blow something off - and they know when they need to follow through.
Lastly, I think you are wise to not use punishment or consequence here- like when you said you do NOT want to say they can't do the project if they didn't pay -Now yes, consequences can be helpful and are needed at times, but I think in this situation there are too many other factors at play here for this to be an effective use of that type of consequence.
HTH, Mrs Prior
--- In email@example.com, "willow_starmoon" <willow_starmoon@...> wrote:
> Hi Everyone!
> My question is not so much about the price of the fee, but what to do if students don't pay it. Last year I had a really hard time getting my fees in. I got maybe half and taught K-5 (I asked for a dollar). This year I will be teaching 6-8(I am asking for $4.00).