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Skype tuition AIBU

(81 Posts)
CatWranglersAnonymous Sun 22-Oct-17 10:21:34

I tutor a GCSE student over Skype on Sunday at 10 every 2 weeks.
The student knows it's every two weeks, as does their parent.

(I keep in contact with the parent in case they need to cancel/rearrange the sessions, which they have done in the past, but never at the last minute).

This morning, I logged into Skype just before 10, and saw the student was offline.

I waited until around ten past to check whether they would come online, but they're not online yet (as of 10:19).

I texted the student's parent at ten past to let them know of the situation, and haven't had a reply yet.

If they come back to me and say they'd like to rearrange for later today, that would disrupt my schedule. But I do see that it may also be a misunderstanding on their part.

From now on, I'll text the parent the day before to confirm the lesson, but it just frustrates me a bit that they haven't kept to their commitments. I have regular commitments that I have to attend weekly or every 2 weeks, and I would be letting people down if I didn't attend.


Booboobooboo84 Sun 22-Oct-17 10:23:21

Is this the first session or have they had sessions before. If it’s the first one write it off as a misunderstanding. If it’s a regular session then bill as normal. You showed up it’s up to them to do the same.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Sun 22-Oct-17 10:23:30

I hope you get them to pay upfront.

Students miss non Skype lessons, but they should still be paying for them.

Musicaltheatremum Sun 22-Oct-17 10:25:58

It's half term this following week. Could they have forgotten to tell you and be away? Or maybe they think you know. (They Should have discussed it though)

CatWranglersAnonymous Sun 22-Oct-17 10:29:45

I've just had a reply from the parent:

'X (the student) is away on a trip. We will get back to you when she can have a lesson.'

Not sure what I should say back, as they knew we had a two-week arrangement for Skype sessions.

Any ideas about what's the best of way of phrasing my text message back please?

MsDugong Sun 22-Oct-17 10:32:47

I tutor.

If this a regular, fixed time then there is no excuse, barring an emergency situation, for the student to have missed the session. I wouldn't rearrange for later in the day. The student missed their scheduled session. You tried to contact them via several means. They have missed their session. They either have to wait another 2 weeks or have the session at a time that is convenient to you (depending on your terms and conditions). I wouldn't make that time later today. That just gives them the impression that the lesson is really just at any time on a Sunday, rather than at 10am.

If it is the first session you could give them the benefit of the doubt but also remember that how you handle this sets them a precedent.....

Booboobooboo84 Sun 22-Oct-17 10:33:19

Well like I said it depends- was this the first lesson. If so let it go, polite text asking them to give 48 hours notice (or whatever your contract says) in future and ask if they would like to keep the lesson in a fortnight.

If a regular lesson but it’s the first time then I’d go with same as the above.

If it’s a regular lesson and they’ve done it more than once advise unfortunately as the lesson wasn’t cancelled in advance the fee will still apply.

C0untDucku1a Sun 22-Oct-17 10:34:09

Id still bill them.

sukitea Sun 22-Oct-17 10:35:51

All of mine have done/do lessons via Skype or wiziq. We pay in 4 week blocks upfront. One of the tutors has a "less than 24 hour cancellation must be paid for" rule, which I think is fair.

I would not minimize the upheaval this has caused you and think about a payment in advance policy. What are you teaching? <being nosey>

CatWranglersAnonymous Sun 22-Oct-17 10:37:37

Just drafted the message to the client. It sounds a bit clinical and detached 🙈 - I'm just trying to get the message across.

Any help would be appreciated please smile

So far, this is what I've got:

Hello X,

Thanks for letting me know.

X agency asks clients to kindly pay for the tuition session in full if they wish to cancel or reschedule within 24 hours of a session.

Best wishes,


CatWranglersAnonymous Sun 22-Oct-17 10:38:11

Sorry forgot to mention - I'm with an agency.

ownedbySWD Sun 22-Oct-17 10:38:46

We've missed Skype sessions with our tutor in the past. I'm a serious flake sometimes. I always apologise and pay anyway.

CatWranglersAnonymous Sun 22-Oct-17 10:39:14

Sorry, also forgot to say - this is a regular arrangement, not the first session.

ownedbySWD Sun 22-Oct-17 10:39:59

Sounds good to me.

LemonShark Sun 22-Oct-17 10:40:06

Hopefully you have a contract you have them sign at the start, stating that missed lessons and cancellations within 24 hours must be paid for. So text back and say 'thanks for your message. As I wasn't informed about this in advance I will still require payment for my time as I'm sure you understand. Please get in touch to restart regular lessons when it is convenient and blah blah how to pay you for this one if not upfront'.

You should definitely be getting them to pay you upfront as loads of people are slippery and would rather cancel lessons altogether than pay for something they feel they shouldn't or can get away with not paying.

My music instrument teacher always required the full £30 if I missed a lesson or cancelled it short notice and I paid up happily on the one occasion it happened. They've paid for a chunk of your time where you have therefore not booked anyone else in. If they don't show it's their fault.

You need to get a bit ruthless here and learn to stick up for yourself or you'll get walked all over.

MsDugong Sun 22-Oct-17 10:40:27

Cross posted

Was this the first session? Had a start date been agreed? Have you taken any payment?

I would send a polite but strongly worded text to say that you should have been informed in advance and that you need to know if the student will be wanting the lesson the next date. I'd probably remind/inform them that each lesson needs planning to be done in advance and so advance notice of cancellations is necessary.

If you don't take payment in advance, start doing so. And set terms and conditions for these scenarios....student is still liable to pay.

MsDugong Sun 22-Oct-17 10:42:32

If this isn't the first session, I'd word things more strongly.

Text back saying that as they didn't give you notice then payment is still required and you will expect the student at 10am on 5th November or 24 hours notice of any cancellation.

CatWranglersAnonymous Sun 22-Oct-17 10:51:04

Thanks so much everyone for your suggestions! You're all so helpful smile

I've sent this to the client:

Hello X,

Thank you for letting me know.

As I'm sure you will appreciate, I will still require payment for my time today, as I wasn't informed in advance about the situation with today's session.

X agency asks clients to kindly pay for the tuition session in full if the client wishes to cancel or reschedule within 24 hours of a session.

Please get in touch to restart the tuition whenever it is convenient.

Kind regards,


CatWranglersAnonymous Sun 22-Oct-17 11:06:38

The client has just texted back to say that they're not paying today's session. They've also said that as I don't even travel to them, how can I teach their student on X skill.

Booboobooboo84 Sun 22-Oct-17 11:09:18

Let your agency know they won’t pay and dump them as a client.

sonjadog Sun 22-Oct-17 11:09:37

Have they paid you up to today? If so, I think I'd stop the tutoring immediately with them. They don't take you seriously.

CatWranglersAnonymous Sun 22-Oct-17 11:26:05

Yes, they have paid me up until today.

The situation is:

I had a first session with the student at the start of September at the student's house. The house was too far for me to travel to, so I suggest Skype tuition instead. The client and her parent agreed we would do Skype tuition.

Our first Skype session was meant to be two weeks later (end of Sept.) I realised very early on that I couldn't do the session, so I let the client and parent know asap. They agreed we wouldn't have the session.

Two weeks after that (early Oct.), we had our first Skype session.

Today, we were meant to have our second Skype session.

So it was a long-standing arrangement.

I'm drafting an email to the agency:

Dear X,

I have regular two-weekly Spanish tuition sessions with X. We arranged by mutual agreement, as of X date (early September), to hold these sessions on Skype, after having a first session at the client's home.

As the Skype tuition sessions are every two weeks on Sundays at 10am, the arrangement was that we would have a session this morning at 10am.

After logging onto Skype this morning, I noticed that X was not online. I contacted X's parent to remind them of today's session. X's parent replied, mentioning that X was away today.

As I had not been notified by X's parent within 24 hours that X would not be having a session today, I informed X that they would be required to pay for today's session in full, as stated in the contract issued by your agency.

I have since received a reply from X's parent to let me know that they will not be paying for today's session.

How should I proceed in this situation?

Kind regards,


CatWranglersAnonymous Sun 22-Oct-17 11:35:42

Any advice please? smile

HouseworkIsAPain Sun 22-Oct-17 11:44:30

I actually don’t think this sounds like a long standing arrangement. They had one session at hone, then you cancelled next one, then one Skype session and nothing since? They weren’t really in a two-week pattern and may have forgotten about today’s session.

They sound annoyed that they thought they were getting face to face sessions to begin with- which you persuaded them to try as Skype instead because the agency sent a tutor who could not easily travel to their house?

I’d let the agency deal with it now, but for future make sure you are reminding people about their lessons at the beginning, particularly if you’ve persuaded them to try out a different format.

HouseworkIsAPain Sun 22-Oct-17 11:46:09

Also don’t carry on with this client - they do not seem keen on paying for Skype sessions (they may have been keener if you’d offered reduced payment terms which I suspect you didn’t).

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