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Keeping Your Private Students Happy!

Once you have arranged a lesson with a student, it's time to consider how to build trust and a sense of loyalty with her or him. Creating a strong working relationship with your students will make it more likely that the student will want to continue having lessons with you, as well as putting them in a better mindset to learn with you; which is after all the overall objective!

1. Give Discounts

Offering a discount if a student wants to buy multiple lessons, for example 'pay for 9, get 10 lessons' instantly helps both of you start on the right foot. It means you both have greater security of knowing the lessons are going to continue and you will equally benefit from the continuity and consistency. Discounts needn't be limited to advanced bookings, you can offer a 50% discount at Christmas, the student's birthday, or simply for the sake of it to help establish a bond with your student!

2. Plan Future Lessons

Once you have received payment for several lessons, you can mutually plan the lessons and fix them in a shared timetable, like Google Calendar. Setting dates and times for future lessons will help you plan your work life better, save time at the end of each lesson usually spent working out when you are both free next, and it will show your student that your are organised.

3. Be Flexible

The flip side of setting dates and times is understanding that sometimes,'life' happens. Last-minute events pop up, people get sick, or sometimes are just not in the mood for an English lesson. It can be inconvenient but being flexible and understanding with your students will help you to form a better relationship and create loyalty.

4. Check Learning is Happening

Teaching doesn't always = learning. As teachers we know this, and sometimes we need to remind ourselves to check that our students are progressing as you both expect and intended. Schedule in a time to review what you have covered in the previous lessons and check students' understanding of the key concepts and vocabulary. This is a good opportunity to reassess the direction you are going and adapt the learning path and/or syllabus as necessary.

5. Reflect On Lessons And Learning

As well as reviewing the content of your lessons it can be worthwhile to put some time aside to reflect on the way the lessons are delivered. Being a student is a much different experience to being the teacher. You can ask students if they are enjoying the lessons or if there is anything you can do to make them better. Even if you know your student is happy, it gives them opportunity to say it!

6. Give Variety

Over time it's easy to fall into a routine, and trot out the same things week after week for lessons be it worksheets, conversation questions, or grammar exercises. Make the effort to vary the type of lessons and the dynamics. If you usually have only conversation lessons take a lesson to look at a set of vocabulary that your student would benefit from. If you always look at grammar, put one lesson aside for informal conversation practice and putting that grammar and vocabulary to use.

7. Be Generous

There are always some students who will take an extra 20 minutes at the end of a lesson to talk over a certain  grammar point, or to practice conversational English. While this can be frustrating if you have a tight schedule your student will greatly appreciate an extra few minutes here and there. Be generous with your time, your praise, and occasionally with your money! Your student is your client, so buy them a coffee once in a while and treat them well!

Building and maintaining a good relationship with your students is an important part of your work, and is easily overlooked. We hope these tips have been useful. If you have any comments, please let us know below.

Read: Being a Professional Independent English Teacher

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