Thursday, 14 June 2012

Clases particulares

So as I mentioned in my last post, I've been a bad blogger.  I'm actually home now, so technically I can't really give you adventures from Spain, but there are a few posts I wanted to do before saying adiós from cyberspace.

The first thing I want to ramble a bit about is giving private lessons whilst you're abroad.  Because it's a real hit and miss business. 

Generally, I think I've generally been very lucky this year, I've worked with some amazing families and students and really enjoyed doing private tutoring.  That said, though, I've had some bad/strange experiences  and should probably warn new assistants that it's not all plain sailing!

To begin with, you'll get the odd family who will cancel lessons on you at a moment's notice.  I had one woman who developed an annoying habit of texting me five minutes before a class was due to start, telling me her daughter had suddenly developed a migraine.  The final straw came when she cancelled because her daughter was 'tired' and I had to tell her that I was too.  Tired of eating my lunch two hours early so I could teach in my break, tired of preparing classes that I never got to teach and tired of factoring money into my budget that I never got paid.  *Grumpy face*

Then you'll have forgetful students.  You'll arrange and prepare a class and go all the way to their door to find they're not in.  This will frustrate you immensely, especially when said class isn't in the city you live in and on a Saturday.

You may also be frustrated by getting up out of bed, walking a mile, turning up to give a lesson and your student telling you they don't feel like speaking English today, thank you.  (Seriously.)

The weirdest thing though are the families that don't interact with you.   If I had a kid, I'd want to know exactly who was with them, what they were like and what they were doing.  So imagine my surprise when I turned up for the first day of a new class I'd arranged via email and a nanny who had never laid eyes on me before just left me to my own devices with two very young children.  When the mother eventually did turn up, the only thing she said to me was 'how much do you charge?'  Then she handed me the money and I left the house. 

I think what made this even more striking was that after this class, I went to another family who couldn't have been more different.  This one always welcomed me into the house, had a little chat with me, offered me a drink and then asked about their kids' progress when the lesson was over.  What a contrast.

So yeah, I suppose if you're lucky, you're lucky and if you're not, it can be pretty crap.  One good piece of advice I was given though is to make sure that you get paid a flat rate per month for private classes, rather than per lesson.  Most families will agree to this if you offer them a good deal, and the advantage for you is a steady income. Whether your student cancels/forgets/decides they can't be arsed, getting paid anyway often softens the blow!  


David Ruiz Urraca said...

I can't believe you're blogging again :)

Hayley said...

Hi I'm going to be an assistant this year in Logrono and I randomly found your blog. Awesome entries! I've been doing research on teaching private English lessons to know what to expect and yours in very informative! I was wondering if you were coming to Logrono next year and if you werent that maybe your students were looking for a new teacher? If you could email me that would be fabulous! Gracias chica!

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