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What are some challenges?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by golpep78, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. golpep78

    golpep78 New commenter

    What are some struggles or challenges as a tutor? It could be a main challenge or it could be several challenges.

    Share and we may be able to help each other.

    I'll start. As a private tutor for many years, I struggle with finding new students.
  2. BG54

    BG54 Occasional commenter

    1. Time-wasters - I doubt I need to elaborate too much on this, a problem too often encountered when receiving "enquiries" via tuition sites.

    2. An issue that crops up less frequently is where a parent thinks that an extra hour's Maths revision class at school means they can dispense with 1-to-1 tuition. The revision classes can be a useful supplement to 1-to-1 tuition in Year 11 but I seriously doubt they can be an effective replacement.
  3. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Yes I agree, time-wasters on tuition sites are a frustration. Often it is clear they haven't even looked at my profile never mind actually read it.

    I've had the second thing happen a couple of times but not really a problem. Actually they were students I was quite happy to get rid of.
  4. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I agree, time wasters are a pain in the neck.

    The most challenging part for me Is parents and their unrealistic expectations and lack of respect for me as a professional.

    The worst offenders don't read emails, don't pay on time, don't think my terms amd conditions apply to them, won't believe me when I give them an honest assessment of their child and constantly expect emails, phone calls and my time for free. However, they do everything at their own convenience and expect me to be available at the drop of a hat!

    I've only ever dropped/refused to take on 4 tutees and it was down to issues with parents every time.

    The vast majority of my tutees are a pleasure to teach and they are the reason I love my job.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  5. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I've never found much of a problem with parents. What age do you teach? Maybe it's more of a problem with younger children. With GCSE and especially A level they normally just let me get on with the lesson and I often have little contact with the parents.

    Actually living in south east London I would say my biggest challenge is the appalling traffic and getting to the lessons on time. I'm now reducing the number of lessons I do and turning down ones which are too far so the problem is decreasing. I know some tutors only teach from home but I think I'd get far fewer students if I did this.
  6. treeickle

    treeickle New commenter

    Self doubt. Tutoring is my job now, I've got 13 students and every time am convinced I could have done better for them, even though there's a lot of work goes into each session and they keep coming back (definitely not the cheapest local tutor by far).

    This year I had one student decide it wasn't for them after two sessions, and it totally knocked my confidence, even though there was zero negative feedback and it could have been anything, in my head, Epic Fail.
    tsarina likes this.
  7. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    From experience i know that doing a lesson centred around past paper questions gives the greatest benefit, and it's also the quickest and easiest to prep. What i find challenging is making the effort to prep other activities to keep it interesting. After 3 years i think i'm getting a little bored.
    treeickle likes this.
  8. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    What Tsarina said! Also, spoilt kids who don’t work hard enough but want the best times. I ask for ore paid lessons but I may be moving on from two soon, as the kids have no intention of working and it’s a bit pointless really, when the slot can go to a child who wants to work. So having to manage the timetable and keep it workable and accepting swapped over students annoy me. But still a small price to pay for complete autonomy.
  9. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Don’t beat yourself up. I ask for prepayment so they have to prioritise me each week. They could have stopped coming because they took up a new sports class!
    treeickle likes this.
  10. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I found that I got more, but I guess lots depends on where you are based and whether you have parking etc.
  11. treeickle

    treeickle New commenter

    Tsarina, I recommend playing with triptico for fast and fun little activities, it's designed for IWB but there's plenty of mileage one to one if you've got access to a laptop
    tsarina likes this.
  12. becca3471

    becca3471 New commenter

    Last minute cancellations. I have a few repeat offenders but it is difficult when I am trying to project my income. I know I could remedy this by having terms and conditions, pre payment etc but I want to keep the flexibility for myself (parents’ evenings, staff meetings, too much marking, Christmas shopping etc). Not frequent but does happen from time to time and I have a good enough relationship with most parents so that it’s a reciprocated flexibility. A couple, however, are currently taking the mick...
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  13. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I used to think like that and got upset when a student stopped tuition. Now after many years tutoring and several hundred students, many of whom have continued for a number of years, I'm confident I must be doing a good job and don't let it worry me.

    There may be all sorts of reasons why they stopped lessons. It sounds like you must be doing a good job as most students keep coming back. Try not to worry about it and just move on to the next student.
    treeickle likes this.
  14. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I found the only way around this was to ask for payment in advance for blocks of of lessons. My students pay up front for a half term block in advance and they are expected to come every week unless I've said there won't be tuition. They get 3 holiday weeks a year which are non chargeable. This allows me the flexibility to book days off with half a terms notice, for things like parents evenings. My outlook is if they want a Friday at 4pm then they need to pay me for the vast majority of Fridays at 4pm otherwise it's simply not worth me turning other people away.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  15. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    They have to book the holiday weeks before term starts btw which gives me the option of reselling the spot or having time off. Any other absences are non refundable. In genuine cases of emergency or illness I'll offer them someone else's cancelled spot but I don't guarantee it. This system has drastically reduced the amount of lost income I was experiencing last academic year (it was hundreds) and only one parent has left ... interestingly she was one of my least reliable ones! The other unreliable ones have stayed and suddenly decided to become more reliable!
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  16. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Agreed. I now insist of them signing terms and conditions so if they cancel, they pay. Great...a free hour for me! It does weed out the time wasters and make everyone else mindful of the notice, so I get two days, can rebook that week for another child...keeps it all rolling smoothly.

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