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What is reasonable for a parent to ask for?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by SayItLikeItIs, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Hi, I would welcome some suggestions from qualified tutors on the following. I have been tutoring a child who has speech & communication difficulties. In addition to hiring me, her Mum recently engaged a private speech therapist to work with her child. The ST has conducted a very thorough assessment and also works with the child once or twice a week. Mum forwarded me the assessment over the summer holidays, and I have been very happy to follow through on the recommendations in a way that makes it engaging for my student.

    Mum has recently emailed both me and the ST jointly with not so much a request as a command that we work together to produce a joint action plan for her daughter, based on the ST's assessment.

    As a self-employed private tutor and sole trader, I don't take commands from anyone except HMRC. Furthermore, the 'request' seems rather difficult to fulfil, even if the ST were willing to go along with it, as it could involve protracted exchanges of email without ever meeting face to face (although from Mum's tone I wouldn't be surprised if she wanted this too), for which she hasn't offered to pay. Presumably, it would need to be reviewed a couple of times a year and then a further action plan drawn up. But at the end of the day, I've never found it particularly easy to work as part of a team, so even if she were willing to pay, I wouldn't want to do it, and I certainly didn't anticipate this when I took the student.

    I've responded by reminding her of what my 'package' includes, ie an hour's tuition plus planning & preparation and brief feedback afterwards. I also offer further advice by email, provided it isn't too protracted. As I've said, I'm happy to work to the ST's recommendations - after all, in this situation, she is more specialised than me. But I also appreciate that Mum desperately wants to optimise both the tuition and the speech therapy. Is there anything more, as a private tutor that I could offer that would be reasonably time-limited?
  2. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    It's not reasonable for a parent to expect you to do extra work for free.

    You could just say 'No, it's not part of the package I offer and I don't want to broaden that package'.

    You could explain to the parent that, as this is your job, you will of course need to charge for the time required to write emails, interact with the ST, produce the action plan, review it etc. As this is not part of the normal package you offer, the hourly rate for it would be above the rate you normally charge of lessons.You'd also be charging in for a minimum of 15 minutes even if an email/phone call only lasted for 5 minutes. This is to take account of the disruption to your normal daily activities/working time. The parent can then choose to pay you for the extra work you do for them or accept that the extra work is not going to happen.
    Piranha and SayItLikeItIs like this.
  3. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    It'd be reasonable if you both agreed to increase the regular rate to take account of the extra work. That would put the ball in her court and she could accept the higher charge or stick with the status quo.
    SayItLikeItIs likes this.
  4. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    Extra work beyond the call of duty requires parents paying for your services. You are running your business and if you've set the rules through a contract/or verbally, she is well aware of what you can or will do within your role.Don't be emotionally blackmailed into doing something beyond what she knows has previously been agreed upon and on the on the table, unless more money is negotiated into the deal too.

    She's tugging at you heart strings a bit due to the fact that her child has SEN, she's assuming you won't say no. Stick to your guns and see what she says.
    SayItLikeItIs likes this.
  5. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    This is an awkward situation I have found that parents ask for more and more (give an inch and they take a mile). All businesses are run with a certain remit. For example my mum works in a cafe with a menu people will come in and ask for food that's not on the menu sometimes they are able to do it and something they aren't.
    Personally I would say to the mother that this is what I offer (what ever your happy to do) if you are looking for x service you may need to find someone more suitable.
    I tutor Maths if a parent asked me to do a lesson on French I would have to say no. The fact you have said that you don't want to offer the service in your post ( which is totally within your right). Someone else may well be happy to offer the service she wants.
    SayItLikeItIs likes this.
  6. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    I haven't been asked to do this as a tutor, but my child had speech therapy in the early years and I found the I CAN resources very helpful. They are a charity working with children with communication difficulties.
    If I remember correctly, when my child had speech therapy, we had a written diary with what we were working on written down, so surely the parent can share this with you rather than expecting you to contact the therapist all the time.
    SayItLikeItIs likes this.
  7. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I think some parents find the difference between say a class teacher and a self employed tutor hard to understand.

    As the class teacher you'd be expected to do all of these things and your salary (supposedly) would allow for that.

    I think you've done the right thing by stating what your fee includes. She'll either realise she was pushing her luck and offer extra money or be more reasonable I'm her request, or she'll leave to try to find someone else. I'm doubtful this will happen.

    My accountant often does extra things for me and he is clear about whether it's included in our yearly fee or will be extra (I can then choose whether to ask him to do it or not).
    SayItLikeItIs likes this.
  8. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Thank you for this - I will take a look at the I CAN resources.
  9. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Yes, I agree, as a class teacher this could well be part of my remit, and my line manager could direct me to do this. There is a clear difference between an employee being directed by a line manager and a private individual being directed by a parent (which is what this one is trying to do)!

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