Online lessons questions

I have been tutoring on Tutorful for a while now and I just wanted to ask some questions in hope that other tutors can perhaps share their experiences. I want to know what other tutors do for the questions below and could be useful to put into practise.

  1. If a lesson is booked 6-6:30, when do you normally end a lesson? 6:28?6:29? Would you use those 1/2 minutes to get the resources ready for the next lesson or do anything to freshen you up? (Just wondering because the bookings can be back to back sometimes.
  2. How do you react to a parent always sitting with their child during lessons infront of the camera with their child? Which then leads to them also talking and telling the child what to do?
  3. If a lesson is booked for 1 hour, have you given a child a 5 minutes break inbetween?
  4. Have you ever cancelled any pending lessons if a client does not reply to you at all once they have request it and you have accepted their request?
  5. How long do you wait for a client in a lesson once the lesson time has started?
  6. For which circumstances would you give a refund for? (Something that happened from your side that meant you have to give a refund).

Hey! All useful questions.

  1. I tend to try and finish at 6.30 in that example. If I have back to back lessons I just log straight into the next, but I usually try to have 15 mins between lessons. I get a hot drink and water and nip to the loo then set up for the next lesson.
  2. I’ve had it once and I emailed the parent saying they can sit in off camera but it’s really important that they don’t interrupt. If they do again, I email again but I’m a bit firmer and say if they don’t like that Tuition style they’re welcome to try another tutor. That tends to work. I don’t mind them in the room, I have a few that do that for younger kids which I find supportive as the students focus more, but I don’t accept parents chipping in with the teaching.
  3. I don’t for 1 hour (I’m secondary) but I give a 10min break for a 2hour lesson.
  4. I don’t accept the request until we have talked and I’m happy that it’s a student that I can work well with. If, after that, they don’t reply, I still do the lesson.
  5. I wait 5 mins and email, or 10 mins if they’re often late. I email again after 20 and then after 30 I log out and let them know. It doesn’t happen often, and if they’re in traffic or something they can’t help I try and start and finish late if possible, but if there’s another student it sometimes isn’t.
  6. I’d give a refund of its cancelled with fair notice, if its an emergancy, if we can’t do the lesson because of technology and if I have to cancel for any reason. I have only done it when my Internet went down once.
  1. If a lesson is booked from 6-6:30 then I go the distance (sometimes slightly over but never more than 5 mins unless it’s important). I always leave gaps of 15 or 20 mins between sessions for smooth cross-overs.
  2. I don’t mind parents that sit with kids but the instruction I’m not a fan of, especially when they are trying to hint the answer. Thankfully that happens to me mostly during English sessions when there is more than one answer, if I hear an answer being hinted then I ask them for a different answer which I think subtly suggests to the parent that I want them to think about the question independently.
  3. Nope. I give 5 mins for 1hr30 sessions but 1hr I’ve found is okay even for learners that are 7 or 8 (at school they will often have lessons that last for 70 or even 80 minutes).
  4. I don’t think so but I may have done.
  5. The whole session time. They’ve paid for that time, they get that time. I will obviously send messages asking where they are but if a lesson lasts an hour then I stay in the classroom for an hour just in case they are just drastically late.
  6. Technical problems (first time). Sudden illness. Unforeseen event like an emergency vets visit.
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Great questions, all of which I have encountered in one form or another.

  1. They get what they pay for. Although if we are nearly at the end of a topic/task and they are OK with it, I will overrun to finish at a suitable point.
  2. Happens once in a while, especially with SEND students. Parents only help with attention and behaviour, I would never let them do anything else.
  3. No, they work on I class for an hour so unless the ask especially. I do have a SEND student who’s parents requested a break, but he likes to go straight through as he finds our lessons ‘fun’.
  4. No, if they accept the lesson, then the ‘game is afoot’… I always spend a few moments of the first lesson (if we have not had the video call) assessing the student and his or her wants and needs.
  5. Depends on the student, but no more that 30 minutes. Some are always five. Invites late, some early, most bang on time.
  6. Good notice. Acceptable reasons - illness, technical issues beyond their control. I had to cancel a series of lessons one Saturday in January after a car took out a telegraph pole out side my house, along with the internet for the day. I’m quite forgiving when it comes to late cancellations, especially with long-standing students as I sometime need to swap and if I am flexible with them, then they are more than happy to swap around for me when I have a meeting/appointment that clashes. No sows get charged, unless they contact me with a good explanation. I’m more of a mind to refund a long-standing student and/or if they ask reschedule. A bit of ‘customer is always right’ attitude serves well in the long run.

I have had one parent annoyed at me because they didn’t show up and I didn’t contact them, but I adopt the stand that the person not showing up owes the contact and apology. It’’s basic manners, really.

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Thank you so much to you all for replying.
It really helps to see how other tutors are doing and I have read some very useful strategies that I will embed too.

Thank you

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