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What is a professional way for a tutor to terminate tuition?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by SayItLikeItIs, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Quite a few tutors on this forum have mentioned being prepared to terminate tuition if, for whatever reason, it isn't working out. Very occasionally, I too have terminated tuition, and now I feel need to again. This time I am struggling to find the right words. Although I know to a certain extent in tutoring one has to take the rough with the smooth, with this particular student (or more particularly with his mother) I have just had enough. Partly it is because of three short notice cancellations this term: two have been for unexpected medical reasons, but this third time the mother really could have given me a lot more notice). But in addition the mother herself is demanding and difficult.

    Can any tutors out there who have ever found it necessary to terminate tuition suggest some non-blaming, diplomatic words I could use? I don't want to get into an argument with her, so don't want to be too specific as to reasons.
    MathMan1 likes this.
  2. mifraggle

    mifraggle New commenter

    Maybe you could tell her that you have had to change your terms and conditions and state that you require …hours notice in case of cancellation and also ask her to pay for a block of lessons in advance. This may put her off if she is aware that she is liable to cancel at short notice.
    MathMan1 likes this.
  3. MathMan1

    MathMan1 New commenter

    As above. If you're saying that she's not paying for short-notice cancellations, then, in some respects, the problem's one of your own making, since if you agreed set dates/times per week and she pre-paid in advance for those, then she'd lose the payment if she cancelled without sufficient notice.

    You could say to her (and any others if necessary) that your accountant's now requested you prepare an in-advance invoice for all sessions and this will require paying - in advance - for the month / fortnight (delete as applicable).

    Allied to that, in your terms you could simply state that you are in demand and therefore whilst missed sessions will be paid for, where clients regularly cancel you may elect to 'sack' them and replace them with a client on your waiting list.

    That would also lock in dates / times so the old "... can we make it on Weds not Tues next week?" etc could be refused accordingly too.

    Might that work as a way of 'passing the buck' onto your accountant, rather than taking it as your own doing?
  4. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    If you just want to get out of it without causing any argument you could just make up an excuse such as, "Unfortunately for health reasons I have to reduce the amount of tutoring I do and so I will no longer be able to teach your child."
    SayItLikeItIs likes this.
  5. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    If you are only terminating because of the cancellations Then do as people have suggested and introduce advance payment and terms and conditions from say beginning of December. State that applies to all clients and it is due to the large number of cancellations from a minority of parents. Make the new terms and conditions suit your circumstances and minimise loss of income.

    If you simply want rid of this one client, then make an excuse, but be very careful what you say if you intend refilling the space. I've discovered a lot if my parents and students know each other despite not being at the same school!
  6. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Many thanks for your suggestions. I already have what I consider to be a cancellation policy in place - it's just that parents seem to think that being ill doesn't count.

    But you're right - I would really rather just terminate this student. I have a couple of genuine health issues that could apply!
  7. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    *a robust cancellation policy
  8. phatsals

    phatsals Senior commenter

    Tell the truth, regrettably as there have been 3 cancellations this term, you are no longer able to continue tutoring. Best wishes for the future, etc

    I've done it like that. I work on the basis of irritation factor, if someone is taking up more time that they pay for, ie tutoring plus planning, they need to go. That includes brain mither. It sounds like this parent is taking up too much brain time - let them go. In the unlikely event of them challenging you about it tell them you've already filled the slot.
    Piranha and SayItLikeItIs like this.
  9. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I'm not sure I'd worry too much about that. She may well suspect the real reason. It's hardly likely she'll come back and say, "I don't believe your reason for cancelling. I think it's actually because I'm an obnoxious time waster."
  10. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Yep, I totally get the brain mither!
  11. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    I take a half-term's payment up front. I try to be flexible every now and then if someone is ill, but if I can't do a different slot, they just lose the money. I have child care to pay for!
  12. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Oh my gosh @gainly I laughed so hard when I read your post.

    I use the word 'reallocate' if a student cancels more than once per half-term your appointment maybe reallocated to a student on my waiting list.

    Just say 'due to repeated cancellations I.e. more than once per half-term. Your appointment time has been reallocated.

    I have introduced half-termly payments for students who want them however some parents can't just come up with £100+ at once which I understand.

    I have never 'sacked' a student for having difficult parents I am not sure how I would go about that.
  13. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Ha ha ha ha ha ... this made me laugh! You're so right . Sometimes it is best to just tell the truth!

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