Lesson expectations

Dear tutors,

I wanted to know what is your intake on some of the things below please.

Some clients do not attend a lesson on time often and expect you to message them to remind them. For example, if their lesson is at 12:30pm, they want you to message them either couple minutes before or at 12:30pm.
How do deal with this or what do you do?

Also, what do you do regarding checking homework? Do clients send you homework right before the lesson to check in class together?
Do you give the homework for extra learning at home and want it back in time so you can check it prior to your lesson with them?

The expectation of writing a report for a client about their childs progress?
I am a teacher, so I am in school five days and tutor too. Writing a long 3 page report is abit much. I dont mind a short report, but nothing huge.

Your thoughts will be appreciated.

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I email and message 5 mins after they are late. There isn’t a world in which I’d agree to remind them every week. If they are late, that’s on them, and it’s their money they’re wasting. If it’s rare and for good reason and I’m able, I might run the lesson over, but that’s not something I’d do more than once.
Homework is a mix. I mostly read it in lesson so I can give immediate feedback and talk through it (why do it twice?!) but if it’s a long essay for gcse or a level I might annotate it beforehand, or give written feedback via email.
I don’t do reports, I just do detailed feedback via tutorful. That’s more than enough. If a parent has a specific question they can message or call me, but my feedback says it all. It’s usually a few paragraphs long each lesson, and I out all written work in it too.

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Ha! Funnily enough, I do the exact same thing as you, Heather. The only additional thing I sometimes do is agree to reminding them for the next couple of weeks, but never as a permanent thing - Tutorful does that automatically for them anyway, in case you weren’t aware.

Homework - I offer it to all my students, though if they regularly don’t complete it, I stop. No point wasting my time preparing if they don’t complete it! I also let them know that if they don’t send the completed homework back to me more than 24 hours before the next lesson, we’ll likely be marking it in session. Then it’s up to them whether or not they make the best use of their session time.

Writing a report - I do this upon request, but not as a regular occurence. I always give verbal feedback at the end of the lesson. The only regular report (for a couple months) I’ve made in the past is when a student of mine was being diagnosed with autism, and they wanted my opinion.

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I agree with all of you and my thoughts are exactly the same as yours. I shouldn’t need to remind them as there are plenty of methods to help them. One parent even said to me they are paying for the service so expect a phone call at their starting time as he had 3 children being tutored by different tutors.

What worries me is that if I do not perhaps agree to their terms, then maybe they will write a negative review on my profile. Sounds silly, but that’s one of my concerns.

I was thinking of a short summary too, however the client said their previous tutor from Tutorful would write 2/3 pages and she even show me how it looked. She now has that expectation that I will do the same, which I will certainly not.

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I’d say make say what you’re willing to do in a message to them so you have evidence and they can choose whether or not to accept your services.
They are paying you as a tutor, not a PA. If they have 3 kids with different tutors, they can just use a diary and deal with it themselves.
Also, I write a lot of feedback because I write it up when I’m planning the lesson, so they double up and my plans and I just edit and add to them during and after the lesson. I do maybe 2 or 3 detailed paragraphs at most. Again, just make your services clear. If they aren’t happy, they can find another tutor.
I really worry about feedback, but it’s not worth bending over backwards for. Tutorful support us when the feedback is unreasonable. I’ve also told parents who have tried to dictate what my services will be ‘I am an expert in what I do, and this is how I’m doing it. If you disagree, I am happy to cancel lessons or keep tutoring until you find a tutor willing to do it your way’. Every single one backed off and said they wanted to keep me. It’s tough, but make it clear that your energy goes into teaching students. Anything else is a bonus x

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I absolutely agree with everything you’ve said, Heather.

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They can set up text and email reminders on their Tutorful account, no you shouldn’t be doing any more than a quick message if they are late ‘Hi, just wondering if you are able to log in ok to the classroom etc’. It is their responsibility to attend on time.

I have never been asked to provide written reports, although I do just write a quick paragraph for myself in a word doc for each student, because it’s surprising how easy it is to lose track of what we worked on! (getting no younger…etc ) If such reports are requested, then you should up your price to fully reflect the time. e.g. my £30ph rate is reflective of up to 2 hrs work time (lesson prep could include making bespoke materials for that student; inter-lesson annotation/feedback; log-in and prepare class; short lesson write up; actual contact time)

I offer to give annotated feedback on a piece of written work between lessons; some students want this and take it up, but many don’t.

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I wasn’t aware parents could set reminders ok their Tutorful app? I just knew about the lesson reminders that are sent via email.

That’s exactly what I do, I message after approx 5 mins and say I am in the lesson and if they are okay to log in. Do you find that many of your parents might make an excuse just to cancel the lesson and they think you won’t charge them? But when you mention, ‘you will be charged’ they change their minds and continue with the lesson?

I always tell parents my price reflects all the prep and everything that you mentioned above.
However, I also find that a high price limits how many parents might want you as a tutor as they will have a budge?

I’ve never had a parent be surprised about being charged if they don’t turn up. I’ve had last minute cancellations which can be a pain, but generally it’s fine. If it’s something they can’t help, like a car breaking down or a hospital visit, I refund the lesson to them, but that’s only happened once or twice.
I put my prices up last year and I’ve found that the more expensive I am, the more parents respect my time and my opinions. I raised my prices alongside experience and reviews, so that helps too, but I do think tutors lean towards under charging. Since going up to a higher end price point I’ve always been fully booked within 2 days of going live, if I ever want more hours.

Hey everyone!

Natalie, your friendly neighbourhood Product Manager here!

With the report writing and homework marking, do you see this as a service you provide as part of the price you charge the students, or is this an additional extra that you would like to charge more for? If you did charge extra for that service, is that something you think parents would likely pay for?

For reports, I think the problem that’s being solved with the reports is it helps parents show progress through tutoring, is that accurate? Does each parent have different requirements on what those reports might look like, or would a “progress chart” be enough for them?

I think giving lesson feedback is part of the service, as is smaller pieces of homework marking, but longer pieces are extra. I have parents to pay more for me to mark full exam papers for the students, and I just add this onto the hourly rate of that student. It would be good to have it as an extra service. Some students might prefer marking and feedback over lessons too, maybe.
I don’t really do reports, but anything longer should be charged extra. I basically count planning, the hour that I teach and any homework that I think will reinforce the learning of the lesson that isn’t more than maybe a page, and my feedback as part of my charge.

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I don’t see report writing as needing to be included as an optional extra, I think it is the prerogative of the tutor to keep parents up to date with progress. At the end of the year I always ask parents of my younger students whether they want me to compile a report, some say yes and some say no but imo it’s part and parcel of being a tutor.

They’re not too tricky to write either providing your assessments and observations are up to scratch :slight_smile:

My logic is that they aren’t necessary if the feedback is detailed, and already includes all observations and assessment details. If I wrote reports it would just be repeating what I had already written in my feedback which is a bit of a waste of time. And the OP said that the parent is requesting a 3 page report, which I think is mad. I have nearly 30 students. If I did that for each it would be 90 pages of report writing, for free.
It probably also depends on the subject and level that you’re teaching. I would only really consider doing it if a student was moving to a different tutor and they needed a handover, then I think it is fair.

Thank you so much for your responses.

I had 3 parents who were surprised about being charged if they cancel a lesson.
They actually decided to continue with the lesson in the end because they didn’t want to be charged for not attending.

With regards to reports and feedback- I always give every single parent feedback after every lesson. I like the communication between us about what we focussed on, what their child was able to do and not able to do, and finally, what we will work on in the next lesson. My feedback is detailed as it is and it takes time to give quality feedback.

This particular parent asked for a report, which at first, I assumed will be short? But then tells me the previous tutor who left for some reason, wrote a report about their child’s progress. They want an additional report on top of my written feedback.

I asked if I can see what exactly she wants and asked her to send me a copy of the old report and my gosh was it 2/3three pages. Then I thought why did I give all that feedback after each lesson (which is important). I think a short report will be fine. I did inform the parent that I will send a short report. I guess it’s the expectation that we must give feedback as well as a long report because they are paying us?

I was told this particular child has had two tutors in the past who decided to leave.

I do have some students who are A level and when they are doing exam prep want to write 16 marker answers to particular topics. I do offer them a template which they can fill in for revision or homework after we have gone through the topics. We will go through what they have written in the first part of the next lesson and I will suggest areas for improvement. Some parents do request homework and I usually go through it during the lesson unless it is very substantial, in which case I will look at it before the lesson but limit the amount of time I spend on it. I have been asked to do a monthly report but that was an unusual case as the student was going through a court case and the report was being used to justify his claim. As this was expected to be quite in-depth, I did charge extra time for the time it took to write and his team manager was okay with that and actually expected that service to be extra.

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I message them if they are 5 minutes late and call them after 10 minutes. I’ll waite around for 20 to 30 mins and then leave.

I set homework weekly unless the parents requests that they don’t want homework. I request that they send it to me 24hrs before the lesson so I can mark it. If it is sent after that, I will mark it after the lesson.

I give verbal feedback after the lesson to the parents and or the student.

Qurat
I always message the students 10 or so minutes before the lesson. It avoids a lot of problems with running around during the period set aside for the actual tuition. I message the student on their mobile number number which I make sure I have before undertaking any tuition.
With regard to reporting to parents, its a chore. I report every 3 or 4 lessons. I believe that effort spent actually preparing lessons, is a more a productive use of that rare commodity time, otherwise I ignore the prompts. When I report, in response to the question about how the lesson went, I report that I thought it went well but advise the parent to confirm that with their child. That’s just my approach and it seems to work.
Alex Sutherland

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I personally don’t think feedback is a one size fits all approach. Generally speaking I just give feedback to the parents on their own terms. Some parents want feedback every session, some parents want feedback once every couple of months or so, others aren’t too bothered about receiving feedback at all; far easier I think to acquiesce to each parent’s desires rather than a rule set in stone but I can understand why others would feel differently.

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Thank you for your responses. It’s interesting to read about what everyone is doing for their practice.

Some parents are really good and always on time, so I don’t message them. However messaging parents before lessons can be tricky as I have back to back lessons. I do feel parents should have responsibilities of their lessons too. Once I messaged a parent after 5 mins and she was out with her son😦, she said she forgot she even has a lesson.