Girls are taught to be nice.
I have a mixture of private clients (who pay better) and agency clients. Other than getting less per hour, taking on agency clients means that I don’t get paid for the first lesson (the agency does – it gets an $85 registration fee for each term). There’s an up side to agency clients, which is spelled out in a form that clients sign: they must give me 24 hours’ notice of cancellation – or I still get paid.
Generally, if a student is sick or whatever, I am able to reschedule them onto a later time or another day, and I let that happen. I have one student who has done this over and over again, and when she did it twice in one day (yesterday, to be precise) I drew a line by only giving her a half hour lesson – ending at the time I’d agreed to end at when she first rescheduled. I also discovered (while chatting with her mum, since the actual student still wasn’t there when I arrived) that the reason she’s been rescheduling me is. . . her boyfriend.
Someone needs a smack.
Her mum seemed confused when paying me, having noticed how short the lesson was. I said it was because she’d rescheduled twice, and fled without elaborating (having already sat through one mother-daughter shouting match that hour). They’re good parents, so I hope they get their daughter on track and don’t try and blame me for being paid. We’ll see. I dread next week.
Last week I started lessons with a new student, Bobette. Since it was the first lesson, I wasn’t paid (although, naturally, the agency was). Today should have been our second lesson – for me, the first paid lesson. Instead, the family just called and cancelled (because the daughter is sick). I attempted to arrange another lesson “so you don’t end up paying”. No joy. They apologised. I said, “Don’t be sorry. One of the good things about working for an agency is I still get paid – when there’s less than 24 hours’ notice. But don’t worry – you can just pay me double next week.” Since it’s now fourth term (which often cuts off all tutoring in about week five, leaving me with about $50/week income until February), I made it clear that they had my sympathies – since they’d be paying for the lesson, as per the form they’d signed. After the conversation, I SMSed to say that if Bobette was feeling better at lesson time, I’d still come and tutor her.
But the time for being nice has passed, and that’s a fact.
Have you been nice for far too long? Maybe it’s time to stand up for yourself, and see what happens. It’s quite likely I’ll lose one or both of the students, but frankly I know I’m a good tutor and I’ll easily find replacements with better manners.
To put things in perspective, here’s my brother in his “home office”:
Here’s something more cheerful: a clockwork jet pack designed by a Russian scientist in the 1920s.