One of my student called 30 minutes before her scheduled lesson time and canceled her lesson yesterday. According to the rules of the referral agency that collects fees from students, I'm allowed to charge any student for any lesson canceled on the same day, though they ask that the teacher make allowances if there is a natural disaster like a typhoon or earthquake that prevents a student from making it to the lesson.
In the past, I was lauded by both a student and the agency for having the decency to allow a student whose sister died not to pay for a late cancellation. I guess they expect teachers to be utterly mercenary, but I think it'd be pretty awful to rub a few grains of salt in an emotional wound by charging for a canceled lesson due to a family tragedy.
I am presented with a little bit of a quandary in terms of deciding to charge my student or not. As the phone was ringing, I was hearing thunder loudly roll outside, but it never rained here. She said that she canceled because it was raining where she was and the trains weren't running. That means that she couldn't get to my apartment unless she sought an alternate form of transport like a taxi (if she was telling the truth, and I'm inclined to believe she was).
While her "excuse" for canceling is quite reasonable, I've gotten burned in the past for acting in accord with my ethics (that is, treating people as I'd like to be treated) rather than in line with what business guidelines allow. I'm guessing I'll come down on the side of not charging her because, if I were in her shoes, that's a courtesy I'd appreciate being extended to me. I just have to shush the nagging voice which says I'll be taken advantage of later if I take the high road.