Sorry A, we're switching to B
June 14, 2021 12:25 PM   Subscribe

What are some tactful, kind scripts for ending a long-standing tutoring relationship, when the reason is that you're switching to the same service with someone else?

Assume this is a kids' tutor situation, which has extended over several years.

The relationship has been good, and there's mutual respect on both sides, but the new provider offers more extensive services and seems overall a better match in a few key respects.


Is therea way to break this news that lets everyone leave with good feelings? Hind ways to explain the decision without opening up uncomfortable space for perceived criticism and defensiveness?

[apologies for typos; text entry box behaving oddly for me!]
posted by Bardolph to Human Relations (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Is therea way to break this news that lets everyone leave with good feelings? Hind ways to explain the decision without opening up uncomfortable space for perceived criticism and defensiveness?

Nope. It is not possible to fire someone and make them feel good about it. But you can write them a great reference letter, offer to be a reference for future prospective clients who want to talk to a past client, give them an excellent review on any site that they want you to, and make sure you give them four weeks of severence.

And don't feel badly about it -- your job is to do what's best for your kid, while not being a dick about it.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:40 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]


I have no idea why you'd give a tutor severance unless the tutor is your employee (unlikely). The tutor, as an independent contractor, prices in the cost of down periods into their rates. Long-term relationships with a contractor don't change that.

It sounds like you have no particular issue with the tutor. So, reduce the scope of your discussion to them to simply ending the relationship. There's no reason to even bring up the new tutor.

"Hey, we think $KID is in a good place now, thanks to you! We think the last tutoring session necessary will be $DATE. We're happy to act as a reference for you in the future. Could you send us an invoice for any hours outstanding so that we can pay it quickly?"
posted by saeculorum at 12:45 PM on June 14 [18 favorites]


One way that might be helpful, if the tutor has been a good fit until recently, is to give the person advance notice or, failing that, to give them additional payment in lieu of significant notice. That’s not obligatory, that’s not necessary, but it is kind if this is a relationship that has been going on for several years. Because that suggests the tutor has probably budgeted for this income, which is now going away.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:47 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Long-term relationships with a contractor don't change that.

Long-term relationships with individual human beings, especially economically marginal ones, who take personal care of your family do.

That said, there's no non-awkward way to let someone go. I wouldn't get engaged in a discussion of the reasons. Say that you've appreciated all their efforts but you're not going to need their services anymore, offer to write a reference (if you have a friends group with lots of kids your kid's age, you might even offer to write a group email), and, unless you're economically precarious yourself, give them a severance.
posted by praemunire at 1:20 PM on June 14 [14 favorites]


I have no idea why you'd give a tutor severance unless the tutor is your employee (unlikely). The tutor, as an independent contractor, prices in the cost of down periods into their rates.

Ha. It depends on the specifics of your context, but the tutor is already pricing in the cost of only being able to work during the hours their students are available, and holidays, and probably cancellations -- and has endless competition that charges extremely cheap prices, so there's a limit to how much pricing in they can do. Tutoring is not, in most cases, an especially remunerative profession.

If you can give severance, that would be very considerate. You don't need to give a reason - just say you need to take a break, but that their service was wonderful and that you'll keep recommending them (and then do so, ideally). And yes, offer yourself as a reference.

(ETA: if you've been working together for a long time, a small gift would probably be appreciated. You're also ending a relationship, and if the tutor is good then it will have been a meaningful one for them.)
posted by trig at 1:50 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


(to clarify: a small gift like flowers or chocolates or something, separately from any cash severance. It's a nice human touch.)
posted by trig at 1:57 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Make it clear first that the decisions is made and not open for negotiation.

Express clearly what the new tutor is offering that current tutor does not provide. Express your gratitude for the outcomes tutor has helped your learner achieve. Offer with sincerity to provide referrals to families who might be a good match. If you would be willing to engage this tutor again, let them know (for instance, if new tutor’s availability changes).
posted by bilabial at 4:01 PM on June 14


I have spent about 7 years tutoring, sometimes as my sole income. Go for a sincere thanks, 2 weeks of pay in cash (paper money), and the promise of a great recommendation.
posted by 8603 at 4:50 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


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