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Would you change group lesson time for someone?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by microbiology, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    I am having a bit of problem with parents asking to change hours because the child goes to another lesson before mine . Would you change the time just for 1 student? This is a class of 6 students.

    The child is having 4 hrs tuition on Sundays hence they want to change mine
  2. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Just to clarify: this parent has asked you to change the timings of your group just for their child? Certainly not! For one thing, you could well lose one of the other five because then the timings may not work for one of them. Secondly, you mustn't allow parents to dictate to you how you run your business whether it be timings or anything else. The job isn't worth doing then. Sure, you may have to take the hit of the student not continuing, and sometimes you might occasionally need to work things round a parent/student provided it doesn't cause you any additional hassle or grief. That is the nature of private tuition. There is no doubt it is insecure work. But otherwise you might just as well be being told what to do in a paid teaching post because at least you would know what your income would be.
    alsoamum likes this.
  3. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I might consider this if most of the group had clubbed together and asked for a change of time which suited me. I wouldn't do it for one child who isn't even attending the group ..... and who I suspect is one of your problem parents who used to come for one to one?

    Take Sayitlikeitis's advice and start to put your foot down with these parents. My 'go-to' response in these types of situations is 'I can offer XYZ. I realise this won't suit everyone so if you'd rather not take up the place that's absolutely fine. Please let me know what you'd like to do by X date X time.'
  4. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    Poor kid. Four hours on a Sunday!
  5. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Some parents just can't accept that their child isn't very bright and/or is very lazy and that paying for many hours of tuition isn't going to change that.
  6. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    I finally put my foot down and said No. he didn’t want to continue because of the new contract I introduced.

    He is a doctor and said paying 4 weeks in advance is difficult and he had never done this with any tutors. He then said well patients can be sick and we doctors have to accept it. I wanted to say that he still got paid for no show whereas I don’t. He’s cancelled 3 weeks since starting in October.
  7. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    The child is not having 4 hrs of tuition with me. 2 hrs with me and 2 hrs with someone else

    With the problems I am facing, I am thinking of packing in and stick to my full-time job i just don’t have the mental power to deal with these idiots
  8. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    You are better off without this entitled doctor as a client.

    Is your group financially viable without him?
  9. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    I supposed to have 6 in this group and 1 is a trial so will have 4 students without his daughter
  10. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    I charge £50/session so not sure if £200 upfront for 4 weeks is too much? That’s what I asked in my contract
  11. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Either he can afford it or he can't. The only way it helps to spread the payment is if he has cashflow difficulties (unlikely, for a doctor?) or if he's expecting to get away with paying for fewer sessions.
    Our local music service expect 12 lessons paid for upfront (£225). Things like swimming and ballet are usually pay at the start of term, too. It's not unusual.
  12. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    It depends on where in the country you are, but in a general sense I think you should calculate what you are worth and stick to it. You could look at a tutoring website and check out what your local competition is charging if you are unsure as to whether your own fees are reasonable. An associate of my partner pays £70 for physics tuition. They live in west Surrey, whereas we live further over into east Surrey where the going rate is a bit less.

    But, no matter what you charge, there will parents who can easily afford you, some who can just afford you but think you are worth it, and some who really can't afford you. And of course every parent has their own priorities, be it a massive mortgage, a big expensive car, lots of after school clubs; I could go on ...

    Currently I don't charge up front, but I am gradually learning to be very firm about cancellations. Before I even sign a student up, I make parents aware of my cancellation policy. One of the first things I do once they are signed up is to forward this to them. I have tightened up my cancellation policy over the years too. It doesn't stop cancellations 100%, but there seem to be more cancellations now. I really think that the tighter you can be the more parents will respect you. For me, respect is number one, closely followed by attendance/payment.

    In terms of student numbers, there quiet times and busy times and it's unpredictable at the best of times. I think you need to be able to live with that. You say you have a full time job as well, so I'm guessing that tuition work is currently a side hustle that might develop into something more substantial over time. Can you afford to stick to your guns and look at this time as a transition period where you may lose a student or two but in the long run gain much better ones?
  13. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    If you are teaching full time in addition to tutoring no wonder you are feeling stressed. When I taught I didn't have the energy to do anything else.
  14. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    Would going part-time help?
  15. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    Yeah, I can afford to stick to it. It's just that I am stressed I have lost so many students in 2 weeks. I feel like I am going backwards after tutoring for 8 yrs :(

    Most of the families I teach are Doctors and Dentists and can definitely afford it. They might be 1 or 2 families who can't. Can I apply different rules to these poor families without causing issues?

    I live in west midlands and tutor who teaches chemistry charges the same rate as me. I teach Biology A level and GCSE Sciences
  16. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Many of my parents pay £300 up front for a half term.

    If you've decided that is the way forward then stick to it and have one, blanket policy for everyone. As another poster has said, you may lose a student in the short term but save yourself a huge amount of stress and bother and long term you'll find nicer clients.

    Any transition is hard and some people want to have their cake and eat it as the saying goes!
  17. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    I find that people who ask for discounts or exceptions to terms and conditions are the ones who go on to cause me more hassle than the others put together.

    I have several poorer families who still pay on time and don't haggle. They respect the fact that I'm offering something worth paying for.
  18. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Also, perhaps take a moment to add up how much cancellations and late arrivals have cost you in lost income and javing to work longer hours since September. I suspect this may before than you are losing by a few parents refusing to continue with your new terms. In time you'll replace these students and end up better off with a more secure income.
  19. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    You've got things the wrong way around.

    Teaching is supposed to be stressful. Tutoring is stress free.

    I think what causes stress is not being in control of a situation. As a tutor you are fully in control. My only stress is traffic. I have no contracts, no prepayment, no policies,.. I just role up with a board and leave again 60 mins later with 30 beer tokens in my hand. What you have done is tapped into a very high price market, that of tutoring the children of Doctors. To them money is no issue so you really are charging a lot (and I say good luck to you). We have the highest paid GPs in the world after the USA and with the current bidding war between Boris and Jezza they are only going to get richer. Better they pay you a load than drive around in ever more vulgar Mercedes. The down side is by asking a high price and demanding prepayment you create a more formal and stressful situation.

    Tutoring is fun and is supposed to be an antidote to our rotten education system. I would say enjoy it. Role up do your tutoring and leave. Don't make stress for yourself.
  20. microbiology

    microbiology New commenter

    I have tried not having a policy and no upfront cost but I have been messed about. I ran groups and sometimes only have 2 students out of 6 but I still have to teach them.

    How is this more formal and stressful? Thanks

    Also, do you guys don’t have a full-time job? It’s the security that the full-time job gives that’s keeping me. There's no security in tuition unless you ask for pre-payment.

    Is teaching doctors and dentists a bad thing?:(

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