This week, three new teachers I know taught their first classes.
- One teacher thought the class went great! She loved the student and had a great time.
- One teacher thought it went great, and the next day, the student booked her for four more classes!
- One teacher thought it went terrible. The student seemed to be at the wrong level and did not smile once. She thought the class was a disaster. Just after she told me how awful she felt about it, she called me and said, “They just booked me again for tomorrow.”
Is all of this normal? Yes!
I recently posted this picture on instagram.
Until last week, my very first student (Erica) had been my most regular student. I taught her once or twice a week. Sometimes the classes went well, and sometimes, well, they didn’t.
Last week little Emma surpassed her. Emma sometimes doesn’t have a class in a week. Sometimes she has 3. It all just depends.
All of this led me to think about the idea of “regulars.”
Why might a student become a regular?
The student might have liked you. The parents might have liked you. Perhaps the student is shy and so they need a few classes to really feel comfortable enough to participate. Maybe the learning partner has identified that you would be a good fit. Maybe your schedules are well aligned. Maybe you just “clicked.” (Yes, it happens sometimes!)
Why might a student NOT become a regular?
Maybe your personalities didn’t mesh. Maybe the student liked you but the parents are looking for something a little bit different. Maybe the parents liked you, but the student didn’t respond. Maybe they already have a regular teacher who just wasn’t available. Maybe they use all different teachers. Maybe your schedules don’t align.
Was it me?
Students will come and go. And no, it’s not you. There are tens of thousands of teachers with VIPKid. There are some students I see one time and then never again. There are others I see almost every week. Even when I feel like I really hit it off with a student, I sometimes don’t see them on my schedule again, and that’s ok. There are so many different factors that go into choosing a teacher, you can’t second guess yourself. Don’t over think it.
How can I encourage a parent to book me again?
- Thank the parents for booking you. I follow the philosophy you cannot thank them too much. I thank them in the class feedback. If they leave me parent feedback, I go into the web browser and thank them there. Be appreciative.
- Ask the parents to book you again in the feedback! If you really loved teaching a student, let that shine through in your feedback. Parents love to hear when people enjoy their children. I’m not proud, I’ve begged before! My standard closing is something like this, though: “I hope Bao Bao enjoyed the class as much as I did! If you would like to book another class, I have this same time available in two weeks, or you can follow my teacher profile to see other available times. Thank you so much!”
- Send an e-card to the student. The feedback usually goes to the parent, but the e-card goes to the student. You can let them know how much fun you had in class and what a good job they did!
- Let the parents (and the student) know what you have planned for the next class. If a student struggled in a particular area, I might say in the feedback, “In our next class, I will continue to work with Bao Bao to help him use more complete sentences,” or “Bao Bao did not seem to enjoy the game we played today in class, so next time I will bring a Peppa the Pig game since she was wearing a Peppa shirt today! I hope she likes it!” (But then be prepared to follow through!) That’s one reason I like Feedback Panda so much is because I can remember what I promised to do!
- Send the learning partner feedback after classes if you think there are especially positive things you’d like to share or if there are areas you feel they could help address. I don’t send LP feedback after every class, but I do send it somewhat regularly. And if I have a new-to-me student that I just love, I always send a note to the LP. That way they can tell Mom and Dad that they actually got a message about how outstanding their son or daughter was!
Through everything, remember that there are so many factors that can influence whether or not a student books another class with you. So don’t over think it. Do the very best job you can for all 25 minutes that you have, and then move on to your next student. There are pros and cons to both regular and new students, so enjoy them all!
If you are just getting started and are looking for a mentor, I would be happy to help. If you have other questions or comments, please let me know below!