9 Nov

Private Vs Free School Tutoring – Keeping Students

One student has stopped her tutoring because she had access to free tutoring at her school and that though I tried my best to convince her and her parents that it would be better to continue with me since she was used to the teaching style, she declined. I was wondering if you had any advice regarding this kind of problem should it happen again.
Probably the first thing to ask yourself is “Should the student continue tuition with me instead and why?” Being accustomed to a teaching style is not going to be enough of a reason for most parents since school tutoring is free and private tutoring is expensive. This is a fair enough perspective from the parent’s point of view and if they are to continue private tutoring the cost:benefit equation must be really promising. How much more benefit will the student get from you over the free tutoring at school? Maybe the student really would be better off with school tutoring? A few points to consider and discuss:


  • If the parents want to try the free tutoring then their global truth about the situation must be some version of “My child can probably get most if not all of the benefit of the tutor from the school tutoring free of charge”. If this is true then you cannot blame them for taking the more cost effective option. However, school tutoring won’t be able to offer certain benefits that you can but may simply not have thus far, explore these options:
    • Going ahead of the class
    • Learning extra challenging material to be the best rather than being on par
    • Preparation for specific exams
    • Revision of specific weak areas
    • Tutoring for other subjects
  • School tutoring is usually done in groups and little if any one-on-one attention is given.
  • Even when some one-on-one time is offered it is almost always centered around answering the student’s questions or problems. Little if any emphasis is placed on study skills, problem solving skills, exam preparation and performance technique, working out skills etc. Yet, if a student is ever to succeed on their own these skills must be learned. The only way they can usually be taught is if personal attention is given so that the teacher/tutor can note the errors in thinking process.
  • If the student has poor confidence then the school tutoring may not help much at all since they are likely to be too self conscious to put up their hand, ask questions and fully express their troubles.
  • Perhaps you have done a great job with the student and they are ready to move forward on their own? This is really the goal of tutoring in the first place. However, it may be an uncomfortable shift for the student. You can offer to do tuition once per fortnight or once per month for the immediate future so that the student can venture out on their own but still have some sort of a safety net.
  • Often these school tutoring programs do not work well and after a few weeks parents may wish to reconsider their position on the issue. Offer to give the client a follow up call in a month – they will typically appreciate the professionalism and personal care with which you treat their child’s education, and may wish to re-engage your services once they have experienced the benefit of private tutoring Vs free school tutoring.
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