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Does fortnightly tuition ever work???

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by bramblesarah, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Hi all ( mainly just complaining)
    I have experience of 3 different students who have asked for fortnightly tuition to which I agreed and all three times I have regreted it.
    First time I was very new to tuition and agreed to teach a girl from a private school on a Sunday once a fortnight in their term-time sometimes and 10 am and sometimes at 7pm depending on when her sports matches took place! Nightmare, I ended up teaching her around 15 times a year not worth the time.
    Second time was another girl from the same private school and the parents kept complaining that her results weren't improving so I explained that anything she learnt on the 10 school days between our lessons I wouldn't be able to go over before the tests so they started coming weekly and I have had no problems since!
    Third time I don't know why I agreed to this but a year 6 student finished her SATs and did very well (taught her weekly no problems). I asked if they wanted to continue tuition and her dad said we were thinking of bringing her fortnightly. I should have said no on the spot, since then they have caused me nothing but trouble.

    I have since turned down a fortnightly job so apparently 3 times bitten fourth time shy. At least I have learnt. Genuinely I would love to hear if any other tutors have successfully taught a student fortnightly ? Maybe I am just cursed!
  2. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I usually turn down requests for fortnightly tuition. Even if they are reliable it is difficult to fill the space on the alternate week. However a few years ago I did take on two students doing fortnightly lessons who did alternate weeks. They didn't know each other, it was just that both requested fortnightly lessons at about the same time. It worked out remarkably well and I don't think either of them ever cancelled but I think I was lucky with that.

    The thing I find really annoying is, when someone arranges lessons, I give them a weekly time slot and when I go for the first lesson they say, "Oh by the way we were thinking of having fortnightly lessons".
  3. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    The thing I find really annoying is, when someone arranges lessons, I give them a weekly time slot and when I go for the first lesson they say, "Oh by the way we were thinking of having fortnightly lessons".[/QUOTE]

    I know right! I have taught the latest one for a year and now the parents are like we want fortnightly. It has turned a bit nasty over text message tbh I am trying to make light of it but I am upset. With the final message her mum complaining I was putting short term gains first (I.e. over her child) the joke of the matter is I only said something because they started cancelling the fortnightly tuition. I honest don't think parents take it as seriously. I just need to be honest out of the gate that's what I have learnt from this mess.
    What do you say to them 'sorry I don't offer fortnightly tuition'
  4. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I usually tell them they can have the space fortnightly for now, but if someone comes along who wants the space weekly I will obviously have to give them preference and they will lose the space. Sometimes they then agree to do weekly lessons. If not they usually lose the space very quickly, often before the next lesson. They have been warned.
  5. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    I did have a "fortnightly" student last year who had 20 lessons which was reasonable. However she did live just around the corner from another tutee so it was quite easy to fit her in. I think some people would be a problem even if they had lessons weekly to be honest.
    Some schools have fortnightly timetables, so with some A level students fortnightly may be the only option when I am close to capacity. This has worked since Y13s tend to be highly motivated. However at this time of year I would prioritise weekly booking over fortnightly.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I am seeing someone this afternoon who wants their son and daughter to alternate. I am quite happy to try it. It sounds as if both are pretty good, so won't need as much as weaker students might. From the other point of view, I have fortnightly piano lessons, as suggested by my tutor, which seems to work well for both of us.
  7. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I'd forgotten about A level students and their fortnightly timetables. At the start of last year I had a year 13 boy who had fortnightly lessons since he could only get home in time for his lesson every other week. After a couple of months I had another space come up and he was able to go to weekly lessons. I've very occasionally had 6th formers who've had weekly lessons but different days in alternate weeks because of their timetable.
  8. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    What do you say to them 'sorry I don't offer fortnightly tuition'

    Yes, exactly that.
  9. Informant

    Informant New commenter

    I have acquired 5 fortnightly (A level) students in the last month, but they have to visit at the time and on the day I offer and are advised that they are probably interleaved with another fortnightly student. This means if they miss a visit or I have to cancel, there will be a 4 week interval between their lessons. If that works for them, it certainly works for me.
  10. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    I have never found two students who can match the same slot, alternating in that way -but I have twice had families with two children who I saw on alternate weeks at the same time. It works well because both tutor and parents have a fixed slot and if the siblings need to swap among themselves for whatever reason, it's not a problem. One was Y11 and Y13, the other Y12 and Y13.
  11. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I have one who cancels regularly who is not making the required progress.
    I have recently rejected a student who required daily tuition up until November retake. Demanded a Grade 7. I accepted with provisos. My provisos were not acceptable. Hey ho. I'm getting a bit more selective.
    Piranha likes this.
  12. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    "Demanded" a grade 7! What on earth do they expect? The only way I could guarantee a particular grade is if I took the exam myself. I remember many years ago, when I first started tutoring, the parents of a boy telling me the previous tutor had "guaranteed" a grade A. It was very soon obvious that the only hope of a grade A would be a brain transplant.

    I don't think I'd want to do daily lessons until November. It would then suddenly leave a lot of spaces to be filled.
    bramblesarah likes this.
  13. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I have actually done this in the past with a fair amount of success. Although I refused to do the Sunday lessons!!
    I have previously had parents demand a Grade 6/7, as with this one, it was for medical school. The last one was totally incapable of getting a 7. Doubtful if they were good enough to be a nurse let alone a doctor.
    My provisos included the hours which I was willing to teach. I would set independent study on the days when I couldn't attend (due to other tutorials) and that there was no guarantee of a Grade 7.
    Oh well, that wasn't acceptable. Such is life. I wonder who got the gig:rolleyes:
  14. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I find fortnightly students/parents to be the least committed and the most likely to cause me a problem.
  15. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    My view is that some people just can't afford every week. Of course it means that not as much progress can be made. I make no promises about grades and progress, I just say I'll do my best to help the student. So I am happy for fortnightly lessons and have quite a few. It is true that it is hard to get any form of consistency but as long as I'm paid I don't mind. I don't have enough students to turn anyone down at the moment, after Christmas it will be a different story.
  16. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    Fortnightly does not work. Simples.

    I find the worst parents are those who want something like fortnightly tutoring or a discounted rate, or change times constantly. I'm more selective than I was and happier for it.
    alsoamum likes this.
  17. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Agreed. I get the odd really lovely fortnightly student/parent but the vast majority of fortnightlies cause the majority of my issues. Constant cancelling, expecting to swap weeks, wanting time off, late payments, expecting exceptions to terms and conditions etc. Plus its twice the admin and parental communication for the same income as one weekly student.

    This year I've only got 3 hours a week of fortnightly students, 2 existing ones who refused to share the same time slot and 2 new ones who really wanted weekly and keep pestering for that. One session is shared by 2 siblings who come alternate weeks - this works fine.

    I'm going to stop offering it as of next academic year as I get enough weekly requests to fill my books. I will be offering weekly paired and group sessions though, for those who have a smaller budget.
    sabram86 likes this.
  18. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    I have always wanted to try and do paired sessions but it's never worked out how do you set them up?
  19. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Interesting, one of the NABS started A level C tuition (as a student) in year 12 as they were finding it a huge jump from GCSE and were missing their expected levels in tests despite turning up and doing everything required including "allegedly" being a model student, tuition started once a week and was going along well, this year the tutor has suggested once a fortnight with a few long breaks as they think young NAB is able and won't need weekly sessions till nearer the exam if at all.
  20. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    My two paired sessions this year are shared by two cousins and two best friends. I only offer paired to parents who know each other and they each pay their share (My hourly rate plus £10) half termly in advance. I don't allow non chargeable absences unless both students want the same date off.

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