8.10.2010

A request from the teacher...

I have a pair of students (a couple, really) who I have been teaching since the beginning of June. Truth is, I don't know whether I should use the present perfect continuous (have been teaching) or past simple (taught) to describe my relationship with them. We were supposed to start class again last Tuesday, but they wrote me an SMS to say that they were out of town and wouldn't be able to start again until today.

So, at 7:30 AM today, I sent them another SMS, asking them again if we were starting class today. I didn't get any response. I called them just after 12 noon, to find out what the story was. "Oh, sorry!" he said. "We're out of town for a couple of days, but we'd like to start again next Tuesday, at 3PM, like normal. Would that be possible?"

Folks, if I can only share one piece of advice with you, let it be this: Be HONEST. If you don't want to continue with your teacher, tell your teacher that you don't want to continue. All you have to do is tell the truth. You won't hurt our feelings, believe me; most of us have been teaching long enough that we will not take it personally if you a) don't have enough money for classes or b) think that we are awful teachers and you want to go somewhere else.

Remember that most teachers do not get paid for classes they do not have. This is how we earn our living and pay our rent. It makes it very difficult for us when students cancel classes randomly! This is why we start insisting on being paid for ten or twenty classes in advance - I know those are policies that students don't like, but your teacher is making a commitment to you when he or she agrees to teach you, and part of that commitment involves knowing that your student will be reliable, too.

If there's something you don't like about the way your teacher teaches, or you think that you should be learning something different or doing things in a different way, be sure your teachers knows. A good teacher should not get angry if you ask for what you want. Any teacher will get very angry if a student disappears or starts acting weird.

I welcome your thoughts and your ideas....

1 comment:

Alana Moceri said...

Congrats on the new blog Dawn! So happy to be your first commenter ;-)

I wish all teachers set professional standards and stuck with them--I've always tried to adapt rules from academies. I used to e-mail prospective students a set of conditions written in Spanish so there was a clear understanding of what each expected from the other. Of course summers are always difficult.

I think it might be helpful if you did a post about what standard expectations are (like 24 hour notice for cancellations, etc.) It would be nice for both students and other teachers to reference. You might also give your readers advice on what to look for in a private teacher.