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Students/parents that don't reply/take ages

Hello! I am currently tutoring full-time, for the first time, having been with TF for over 2 years. Never posted on here before despite lurking for a few weeks now.

One of the very few things I dislike about the job is those students (or their parents) who are horrendously bad with replying. They send a message asking for help with ALevel Psychology (always “exam technique”), to which I reply very promtly. A third of the time I never hear from them again. Now that I am basically full I’ve just cranked my rate massively to avoid having to deal with so many requests of that nature. As far as I can tell, it seems to happen disporportionately with students who are about 17-22 (ALevels and university), and my theory is that they see Tutorful as more of a social media app where they can play hard to get in order to get tutors chasing them. It most certainly does NOT work with me, and several times recently I have told them straight up that due to the amount of time it takes them to reply, and the endless wait for them to confirm the lesson, I will not be able to take their booking.

Of course, it’s easier to be strict now that I am at capacity, but in August I reallydid feel like some sort of desperate loser hanging on whether or not they would reply/confirm the lesson.
Awful, awful people. I am sure they would never be like that in a more face-to-face, word-or-mouth recommendation situation. It’s refreshing to sometimes get students who behave impeccably in terms of communication; almost feels like a throwback.

Any experiences/advice?

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I have the same experience, I’m extremely fast with my replies, but there are always some who either take ages to reply or don’t reply at all.

I would guess there are a number of different reasons for this:

1 - Many parents/students are unsure about tutoring, might feel pressured into it for various reasons, and therefore might get to the stage of messaging a tutor and then bail out.

2 - Many might message multiple tutors, and then go with the one they like the most.

3 - My reply might not spark their interest sufficiently! I think it’s always healthy to assume you could do a better job with your first introductory message. For example I’ve learned that if a parent goes into detail telling you about their child’s situation, it’s always good to make some kind of reference or acknowledgement of what they said in your reply. Don’t just be like “yeah I can help, here are my available times”.

Don’t feel like a loser, and don’t hang on waiting for replies! Just send your reply and either they respond or they don’t. If they don’t, see if there’s something you can learn from that (within reason- don’t obsess over that) and move on!

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Very good advice there JoeL, thankyou.

Bruno, I can definitely relate to that one. Analogy I could think of
is people queuing in a shop, if someone at the front of the queue is delaying I have seen staff just simply call the one behind them, no messing. I guess the good thing with Tutorful is that once you’ve got confirmation off the user then it is payment up front. I do always have a look at two days ahead when I book in to work to check that all of those are confirmed.
Cheers, Nige.

I do not think we should be too hard on these young people as they lack enough life experience to be able to make informed decisions on choosing who they need for tutoring at this stage.

A classic example is students asking for a tutor who got A*(stars)s as they think that would be the best person to help them achieve the best grade possible. Yes someone with an A(star)* may be a good tutor but someone with a A grade may potentially be even better!

They simply do not have enough experience to understand that it is a combination of academic qualifications, experience, teaching style, effort on part of tutor etc. that are the major factors at play.

This is a fact of life that all tutors need to put up with and there is little that Tutorful can do to avoid these time-wasters posting jobs and messaging tutors unfortunately.

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Yeah I have this problem too. It’s definitely annoying, but they miss out anyway because if they don’t reply, someone else gets my tutoring.

Exactly … next, just like in the shopping queue.

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