Monday, July 14, 2008

Sick Days for ESL Tutors

Another disadvantage of being self-employed is that there is no sick leave! I’ve been under the weather for a few days and have had to cancel two days of classes with my ESL students.

As a self-employed ESL tutor, I’ve had to find other ways to supplement my income. Hence, my blog and websites. (Remember the old joke: What’s the difference between a large pizza and an ESL teacher? A large pizza can feed a family of four!)

I’ve found it interesting to note all the home-based-business opportunities out there that tell you you can set your own hours, make the income you want, etc., etc., etc.

Well, I suppose that is true for some, but what I’ve found to be more true for myself and others is that as a self-employed person, I’m seldom really not working. With websites, there is always more to do. More emails to answer. More pages to write. More corrections to make. More research to do.

Although being a self-employed ESL tutor does have some downsides (e.g., no sick leave, no vacation leave), I still would never trade it for a “real” j-o-b.



Seonaid said...

Hi Debra,

It's too true about being self-employed! And what about when students cancel or change their lessons? (One of my students moved her lesson three times last week - urggh!). Still it's great not having to ask permission when I want the morning off.

Best wishes,

Name: Debra Garcia, M.A. said...

Hi Seonaid,

I'm able to limit my last minute cancellations by requiring a 24-hour notice.

I have a one page contract that I use with students when we first start meeting. In the contract, I make very clear that I require a 24-hour notice or they will be charged for the missed lesson. (Of course, if something really unavoidable comes up, I'm flexible.) I enforce the contract by requiring a deposit at the first class. The deposit is equal to the amount of a lesson. I tell them that I will apply the deposit to our last lesson together, or I will apply it to a missed class (without notice).

This seems to cut down significantly on cancellations and rescheduling.

You can see a copy of my contract by checking under "Article Topics."

I really try to run my tutoring business as a business and I find that my students actually appreciate this and give our lessons more value.

Take care,