School Visits: Terms of Service
I am very happy to be visiting your school, and I look forward to meeting your students and faculty. When we are arranging a school visit, please be advised:
- I ask to be paid on the day of my visit. If your source of funding for my visit makes this impossible, please let me know in advance exactly what paperwork is required and how long it will take to process payment. In my dentist's office is a sign that reads, "Payment is expected at time of service." Please do not wait until after I have spent a day at your school and done my job to tell me that the check will be sent later, and that I will have to submit paperwork once I get back to my office - which might be several days later. If you ask me to book an airplane flight, I will forward ticket and fare information as soon as I have it; if that is not sufficient as a receipt for reimbursing me, please let me know in advance so I can request a ticket receipt from the airline.
- Please do not ask to add "just one more" presentation to the schedule after it has been finalized. After twenty years of author visits to schools, I know the scope of work I am able to perform in one day. My rates are based on that.
- Please limit email correspondence between your school and myself to one person. It's not always clear if one person references the name of the school building, and another person references the name of the town or district, that we are talking about the same school. "April visit to Benjamin Harrison Middle School" and "April visit to East Greenville" may be the same thing, but that makes it difficult to keep track of all the information relevant to that job, especially if they've come from multiple email addresses. The procedure least likely to create confusion is to use the model, "Benjamin Harrison Middle School, East Greenville," in the subject line of all correspondence.
- Once we have finalized the details of my visit to your school I will supply you with my tax ID# and my mailing address; please have your principal write me a letter detailing our agreement, and indicating that he or she has read and agreed to these terms of service. Until I have that letter from the principal the school visit is not official and I reserve the right to make that date available to another school.
This may sound unduly legalistic, but I visit many schools in the course of a year and am managing this information stream from all of them simultaneously. I am happy to report that the vast majority uphold their end of our agreement professionally and courteously. I am sad to report that a small minority fail to do so. It is because of that minority that I feel compelled to spell out these terms to concretely.
Print a pdf of the terms of service.