Friday, July 11, 2008

ESL Tutor Scheduling Challenges

Being a self-employed ESL tutor is very rewarding work. I've mentioned before how it enables me to "travel vicariously" and meet many incredible and interesting people from all over the world. It also helps me to continue to (partially) see my own country through non-American eyes. I really enjoy this part.

One of the more time-consuming and challenging parts of being self-employed, but still working with other people, is all the schedule juggling I have to do; and the time-consuming emails I have to write after I try to figure out everyone's schedule. Of course, if I did not have to depend upon my income from teaching ESL, I wouldn't spend so much time trying to juggle everyone's schedules.

Here's the text of an email I had to write today:

Hi ,

It looks like we might have a problem meeting twice a week. Currently, 11:30 is the only opening I have on Wednesdays. I've learned that all my Tuesdays appointments are booked, so no time there either. (Do you think there may be any possibility of rescheduling your EAC meetings? I know this is probably not likely.)

I can see you at 3pm on Thursday, the 17th. Please confirm if this time works, or if you need 3:30.

I have you confirmed for Thursdays (starting July 24th) at 1 p.m.

My schedule has just gotten crazy lately, so I'm sorry about my limited availability. I often have cancellations, so whenever I have one, I could let you know right away so you can decide if you would like to take the class."

This email was to a new ESL student. Usually, after we get started and establish a regular schedule, that schedule is good for a few months (until life circumstances change, such as a new semester begins, or a work schedule changes, etc.).

I should probably also point out that the above email was to a very advanced ESL student. For newer English Language Learners, my emails (especially around logistics) are a lot more succinct and direct.


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