Updated: Nov 19, 2019
Timetabling... here's my order of how I do it...
(and I'd LOVE to hear how you do yours)
Step One > I decide on paper how many training "compulsory classes" I want each of my performance stream age groups to do as their basic package. Eg - 12/unders: Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip Hop, 2 x Classical Ballet, 2 x Technique, 1 x guest teacher.
Step Two > I fit the number of these classes (that I understand will be taking the majority of my bigger studio spaces) over different days based on how long they need. Eg - 12/under, 14/under and Seniors on Mondays and Wednesdays, 6/under, 8/under and 10/under on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
(Essentially focusing the priority first on the convenience and puzzle "fit" for STUDENTS first, so that they're on the least number of days as possible.)
Step Three > I work out which RAD Ballet grade the kids in each age group are up to, and schedule the other age groups to have their Technique class at the same time in the other room - because we usually have at least 2 grades represented from each Troupe age group, and if it clashes with their other classes it won't work for learning routines like Jazz, Tap etc. So we need another class on the "Ballet split line" and Technique works perfectly for us for that.
Step Four > I work out the best order for the rest of the performance stream classes, to work in and around the Ballet... factoring in the importance of making certain styles like Hip Hop run consecutively for 3 age groups, so that they are good teaching blocks for specialist teachers to come out to our studio for.
Step Five > I allocate teachers to all of the performance stream classes, starting with me first and putting myself on the classes that I enjoy teaching the most, and that I bring most value to as a choreographer and teacher.
Step Six > Referring to a list of all the classes we ran the previous year, I amend the list based on demographic trends, class numbers, demand plus any new class types I'd like to start offering, and end up with a list of classes I want to now squeeze into the gaps in the timetable. This also includes optional extra classes that both my recreational students and my performance stream students can choose, like Glenn Wood Tap, or Acrobatics, Singing and Drama. For recreational classes I like to try and offer the same class style and age group multiple times a week so that at least one of our sessions fits with parents' schedules. For example we'll run popular classes like Junior Recreational Jazz and Junior Recreational Hip Hop 5 days a week, and Ready Set Dance 5 mornings plus 3 afternoons a week.
Step Seven > I fill the gaps with all of the recreational classes, focusing first on creating full teacher blocks for anyone who will be teaching, and creating good runs of classes for each age group of recreational students eg - Jazz, Hip Hop and Lyrical all in a row. Also being aware to avoid too much major change for age groups that historically have always been on certain days eg. my recreational seniors are always on Tuesdays, and my Acro, Singing and Drama is always on Fridays (although this year I'm hoping to add a second option in the week for these to test if we get more numbers on a different day.)
Step Eight > This is the last of the teacher allocation. I'll usually have a bunch of classes left at the end without a clear teacher, a lot of short 2-class blocks, which then become classes I can offer my newer or younger teachers, or sometimes I may need to hire someone for if none of my current staff are available at that time.
Priority #1 is convenience for the students that are here often so that they can still maintain a dance/life balance and not have to be at the studio 5 nights a week.
Priority #2 is how well it works for me as a teacher - because it's my studio so why not
Priority #3 is providing enough hours for my long term loyal teaching staff who rely on this as their main source of income plus ensuring specialty teachers have their work in blocks so that a reasonable teaching rate can be offered but it's still worth them committing to the work.
Priority #4 is maximising potential class-size success with thoughtful timetabling so that more customers can access our services, and at the same time avoiding any negative space on our timetable where any studio is sitting empty... for me even if a class has 5 people in it, paying $12.50 each, that's still $62.50 coming in, and the teacher might only be $30 for that 45 minutes, so it's still represents income for the studio.