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It sounds like you’ve had some rough luck!
Ive only ever had 1 student who would consistently cancel and I just made sure he was in a time slot that was at the end of the day so it didn’t matter too much. He then went to fortnightly, then cancelled.
I had one student cancel after a few lessons because of financial reasons, and that fine. It can’t be helped.
We can’t judge the reasons that people cancel tuition, we don’t know their situation, but we can choose whether or not to continue working with that student.
There is a policy where we have to call the student if they miss a lesson, so I see why tutorful ask to do that. I’ve always messaged and emailed several times for the first half hour if they miss it and I’ve had no problems with getting payment, but I guess tutorful could not put the payment through if I didn’t ring because it is in their terms and conditions. It’d be rough and I wouldn’t be happy, but they do make it clear. I just choose not to call because I’m uncomfortable ringing parents generally.
Tutorful, ultimately, are a business, so they have to run efficently and make things work for tutors and parents, and sometimes thst means meeting in the middle and asking for proof and stuff. Inconvenient but understandable. Try not to take it personally.

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This is just the nature of private tutoring. You are complaining about the attitude the average member of the public has towards tutoring. I’m not sure what can be done about that!

I just book more students than I actually want to teach and then I actually hope that some of them don’t show up for their lessons!

To be brutally honest I don’t think tutorful asking for evidence that the student failed to attend the lesson really amounts to a suggestion that you had done something wrong. Tutorful asking for evidence is not an accusation that you are lying. Consider what tutors could get away with if tutorful did not ask for evidence of a student not showing up before enforcing a charge for the lesson. I can’t think of a way tutorful could create a policy on charging for such lessons without requiring the tutor to provide evidence. Can you?

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I’m afraid this is just the nature of freelance work. I’m always a bit surprised by how some people go about cancelling/not cancelling etc, wanting lessons and not confirming etc. I am fairly lucky in that I’ve not had too much issue with this…however it does state in the T&C’s that you try to contact the student by phone and stay in the classroom for 20 mins. I’ve been asked to provide a screenshot of the attempt to phone (i.e. off a mobile) and provided it.
(You could just enter the number, leave it to ring a couple of times and then hang up- the student/parent will see that you’ve tried to call and really it’s up to them to return the call, right?).
I also send a message after a few mins on the Tutorful messages, and then one after 20 mins or so to say sorry they didn’t attend etc.
Remember that Tutorful are not an agency, they are a platform.
I have learnt to not spend a lot of time getting resources for students I’ve just started teaching, for the same reasons.

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What about your comment do you think I missed or didn’t understand?

I don’t do free video chats, so that may be why we are on a different wavelength.
Also, people have the right to change their mind. It’s human nature and we just need to accept that. You can’t decide what is a good enough reason for somebody else, because you don’t know their circumstances. I’ve had students cancel before for reasons I wouldn’t generally agree with. Yes, I was a bit annoyed, but I got over it and just booked another student instead. What is reasonable to one person might not be for another.
Also, I didn’t overlook your comment about Tutorful asking for evidence. I agreed that tutorful were fair in asking you for it, as it is in the policy. It sounds to me like they were just doing their jobs, and that they did you a favour by taking the messaging as evidence, as their policy is that it needs to be a phone call. I explained that I don’t like to call, but I accept it as part of the policy of using tutorful and accept that it may mean that I don’t have the same cover provided by tutorful in that situation. If you’re not happy with that, there are other agencies you can use, or you can advertise privately. I completely agree with you about phoning students, I much prefer a written record, but you can’t change the rules because you don’t like them then expect the same cover to be provided.
I don’t need to read your previous comment again, I understood it fully, thank you. I also think that if the tone that you’re taking with people in this thread who are trying to have a reasonable discussion with you is one that you use with your clients, it may explain the cancellations.

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It sounds like tutorful were a little slow to adjust to the type of evidence you were providing, since it wasn’t the sort they were used to recieving.

Could you explain how that amounts to treating you as if you were “lying” and how this amounts to tutorful “antagonistically confronting” you?

Also, could you explain what “unfounded accusations” I made about you? It would be quite ironic if that were unfounded!

For you to jump to claiming that people didn’t bother to read your post is a bit obnoxious. This is because they could simply have misunderstood your post, or they might actually disagree with your view on the situation!

You’ve been quite antagonistic with me despite my very measured counter-argument. This is all making me think you might have an issue with taking things personally.

Now there is an interesting discussion to be had about what Tutorful could do to encourage parents to regard booking lessons with greater commitment. However that surely has to be balanced against the right of a parent to stop lessons with a tutor.

Unfortunately that interesting discussion is going to be a bit difficult to have due to the unnecessary antagonism that has been generated in this thread. At some point, if a lot of your discussions are becoming antagonistic, you might have to wonder what the common denominator is.

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To me your original post appeared to contain complaints about the overly-relaxed attitude clients have towards cancelling lessons. How is it ‘unfounded’ to describe that as complaining? I didn’t just dismiss you as complaining for no reason - I suggested that what you were complaining about was just an unfortunate fact of this industry, because I don’t see what can be done about it. Now I could be wrong in thinking there’s nothing to be done, but what is the justification for taking that as evidence of my having a negative tone that warrents responding to with ‘a piece of your own medicine’?

It does sound like the student was being unreasonable in not accepting the charge for the lesson. However I still don’t understand your justification for thinking that tutorful treated you as if you were ‘lying’ and why you think tutorful was ‘antagonistically confronting’ you?

It’s true that saying ‘to be brutally honest’ does sound confrontational, however it’s simply my view that you were taking something personally when you shouldn’t have. Saying ‘to be brutally honest’ was an attempt to soften the blow, because the rest of your post gave me the impression that you were likely to take things personally. I was indicating that I was just trying to just be brutally honest in sharing what I happen to think, which is not trying to be confrontational or antagonistic.

Good afternoon everyone!

Natalie, your friendly Tutorful Product Manager here!

Thank you all so much for your thoughts on cancelling lessons/no shows. I’d be really interested to get feedback or thoughts on ways you think we could improve the process of students not showing up to lessons or cancelling at the last minute? I understand that if the student doesn’t show up, you need to call them to follow up, what would be a preferable way to follow up with the student if they don’t show up (@heather, you mentioned written record, it would be great to chat about this!)? As for cancelling at the last minute, I’d love to get your thoughts on ways we could make this better for you, what would your preferred solution be to this or how could we make it better?

Thank you all again for your thoughts, and I’m sorry you have to go through these frustrating situations. Ultimately we’re here to make things easier for you, not harder, so any ideas or thoughts on how to improve this are greatly appreciated!

If you’d rather not message me back in the forum, my email is always open (natalie@tutorful.co.uk)! :slight_smile:

Kindest regards,

Natalie

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In all honesty, until reading this thread, I had no idea that calling a student was part of Tutorful’s policy when it comes to lates/no shows.

I can’t say this has been too big an issue for me. Generally speaking if you develop a good rapport with a pupil and parent then you never run into these issues.

I have had occasions when I have foregone earnings in order to establish that rapport with a parent. I had a parent the other day even question why payment hadn’t been taken for a lesson lost to a faulty connection (on their end) which I didn’t charge for to which they thanked me for my generosity. The point of me saying that isn’t to paint myself as Mother Teresa, but to point out if you gain that rapport with someone and establish yourself “credit” then you will find that students and parents will only be too happy to see things from your perspective and accept paying for a lesson if it is their fault for not arriving regardless of the contact you have made to them during their period of not showing up.

Generally I have messaged on Tutorful within 5 mins (if not known to be late) or 10 mins (if known to be late) students who haven’t showed up before pinging off a text or whatsapp on the 20-25 min mark if they still haven’t arrived.

As a result of this thread I will endeavour to begin phoning students who do not show up within 20 mins of the lesson starting (thankfully, a big rarity!)

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I think maybe a message on tutorful and 1 other attempt at communicating (phone call, text or email) should be enough. Written communication is better for recording everything, I think, just in case of a dispute. :slight_smile:

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I absolutely read what you had to say, I just disagreed. I actually disagreed very respectfully, taking the time to explain myself in detail to you. I stand by everything I said, and I think you need to assess how you’re reacting to the comments. I absolutely agree that “Making nasty, spiteful, abusive remarks about people you don’t even know is unacceptable in any forum”, and you need to keep this in mind too.

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Hi Heather!

Thanks so much for the response, I think that sounds very sensible. Have you tried texting students (text message/WhatsApp), and how has that gone for you? Would you prefer to text students instead of calling them?

I do tend to message students, and that solves the no-shows within ten minutes, so I do prefer it to calling as well

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I feel uncomfortable phoning students who fail to attend lessons. It opens tutors to vulnerabilities, which cannot be recorded as evidence. At least with written correspondence, tutors can show a record of attempts made to contact the student. This was the point I was trying to make previously in terms of disputes, especially if student develop a habit of cancelling lessons without informing tutors. However, the main point I struggled to get across previously is tutors losing clients because of students cancelling any further lessons after just one or two. Of course, understandably, there may be unforeseen circumstances, which cannot be helped and we should empathise with them, however, ever since the move to online only, there seems to be a problem where parents decide to cancel after just one or two lessons. This is time that could have been allocated to genuine and enthusiastic learners. I thought the whole point of free video chats was to provide parents/students with a better opportunity of choice and decision making. It isn’t unreasonable to request that parents/students make full use of these chats and consider very carefully before booking a tutor, as it could mean a loss of earnings and opportunity for another learner.

I have texted in the past and I find it useful, so would definitely prefer that to calling.

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After around 5 minutes I send a message via the Tutorful site message board.

Tutorful can read it AND its timed to the minute.

Plus I already have the message board open - - - - to make sure that I have not forgotten recent correspondence with the student -or worse than that get their name wrong.

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Personally I think that the no-fee cancellation should be set at 48hrs rather than 12hrs, this is general industry practice for appointments. 50% chargeable between 24-12hrs. 12hrs or less/no-show- full fee.

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Thank you everyone! It’s interesting hearing your thoughts on how to contact students who are no-shows. I’ll take this onboard and see how we can improve it!

Natalie :slight_smile: