I think I was a bit weak so far.
I am really sorry to say this, but after about 12 years of experience and the growing number of cheating people online I have to make some new rules: no free first lesson (from now on the second lesson will be free) and no teaching without getting paid first.
Let me explain!
I am not happy that I have to make this decision. But I must.
I used to give a free trial lesson to all new students.
I liked the idea that one could try the teacher free to see if his/her method suits them. As for me, I always got prepared for all the trial lessons as well. I never just dropped in to interview the new student about the goals and the reasons of study during the lesson, as that would take a lot of time.
I did that (and will keep doing that) prior to the lesson in messages or e-mails, depending on how the student found me. Then when I got to know all I needed – goals, reasons, language level, age, time zone, any detail that are important to design the lessons I got ready for a real lesson, to show how I would do the paid lessons as well. Before each free trial lesson the new students got their files into their message boxes. Then we had the lesson at the agreed time and at the end of it we discussed the plans for the future. I am lucky to say that everyone who tried my lessons so far continued to learn with me. Except those people, who used this as an opportunity to learn free.
I am describing all this because it makes me sad when one uses me, my time, my efforts just because he is a free language learner adventurer. This category is a real one already, and I find it disappointing. It is so unnatural to me. I will not go into details what I think of these people. But this student I had the opportunity to meet the last time…
I even taught her 10 minutes longer and after the lesson I spent time on making her homework, because we agreed when we would learn each week from now on. Then she booked free with another teacher but she was a bit unlucky. That other teacher was my sister. The bad side of this is that she did so on a language learning website. As everyone has only 1 chance to book free on that website, one is able to keep booking free if the person registers many new Verbalplanet accounts with many e-mail addresses (we found out afterwards, that she booked free before me with at least one more teacher).
My sister wanted to make sure, that she would not waste her time, so she asked her in a VERY nice voice (she is a lovely person, everybody loves her, it is true!), why she booked free twice. Has she maybe not found the right teacher yet? She got mad, started to curse her, wrote to me messages about how she liked our lesson, how she likes learning with me, and my sister is very rude, mean etc. She kept banging on about it and finally she started to explain what a good person she herself is and she reaches anything in her life, but she is poor and this is why she books always free. And my sister is evil, because she does not help the poor (STOP! Last time I gave a lifesaver present to a bagger who for the past 30 years we have known just as “Kukás Mari” because she keeps rummaging in the bins! I do not hate people just because they are poor or gipsy like the beggar, or for whatever reason out of the air!!!) and so on and so on. She even cursed my sister for the future.
I was left without words. I knew it would not be worth to start to explain anything. So to cut it short, I introduced her to a language exchange society and told her, maybe it would be worth to order the MagyarOK books for herself and study on her own.
She thanked it and in 10 minutes I got an e-mail from the website where she booked. She raised a lesson dispute against me where she wrote: “The teacher was actually didn’t come to teach me. She was telling me so rude and threatened me on skype that I need to make a good review”.
This was the point where my mind simply exploded. Up until that point I was calm and I was trying to tell my sister, to forget this person. But this was it. I asked her why she did this but she quitted Skype. I guess she registered a new account. This person is preparing to come to Hungary! She will cheat more!
I then spent a whole hour writing the e-mails for that website to prove that I was innocent! Luckily they closed the case in my favour. I have all active students from my very own website , except one and this one stopped booking on that website with me too, only because she decided to take longer lessons together with her husband which I could not fit in the system anymore!
Sad, but this is not the first time I met this type of learners.
I think if somebody really wants to start learning and is ready to pay then they won’t get offended at my new offer:
Please pay for the trial lesson.
If you like the lesson (and so far everyone did, except these people….) then do not pay for the next one. After that if you decide so, you will not pay for more lessons and you can stop learning with me. Or continue the journey and pay again for the 3rd lesson and so on.
Thank you for your kind understanding.
No lesson without getting paid first:
Unfortunately, I made a mistake. I let one student go unpaid for 10 lessons. I know. It was silly. More than that. stupid. She seemed to be very nice, she took many lessons a week, first 3 times 90 minutes a week, then less, but still more than anyone. She was talented, a real quick learner. She started from ZERO and she reached a high level in a short time. For some reasons she never paid in advance. It felt like a pain that she used such a payment method that I did not know before and the money was travelling very long. She is a language teacher herself, so it also gave me the idea, maybe she simply had a different view of getting paid, probably she gets paid after lessons too, never before, so all in all, I trusted her.
But of course those who will cheat make you believe that you are able to trust them.
I asked her to pay usually about after every 5 lessons, at least once it was 7. She always paid right away. Finally she sent a message that she had not slept enough and cancelled 15 minutes before the lesson. She also said, she would pay for 10 lessons. It was 5 weeks ago if my memory does not decieve me. Of course she did not pay. It means she got away with my 180 Euros. She was even a friend of mine on Facebook as once we had to learn on messenger and I added her (please don’t add me without asking first, thank you). She read all my messages on messenger and on Skype and she never even answered!!! A simple answer she could not type! What a shame!
I am sorry, but I cannot trust anyone IN ADVANCE, no matter how nice they seem and how long we have been learning together. I am not a bank to give credits. But if you pay in advance, you have my lessons and the knowledge and I will keep teaching you.
Once in the past, when I was a beginner teacher, around 11 years ago, the same thing happened to me. That was a new student and he kept promising that my money would arrive. He took lessons and then he disappeared. Some months later came a student who decided to learn with me after the free trial and I told him, if he did not pay in advance at least for 1 lesson then I would not give a lesson. I then reminded him again right before the lesson that I still had not got the payment. We went online, he called and the started to curse me why I do not trust him. A complete stranger. I guess he had some personal issues, because his cursing took him 20 minutes. Maybe he was angry at somebody else, no idea. It felt very bad. Then he announced: “Now you can start teaching me”. I started but in an instant I could feel what I then said to him: “I already can’t”.
I am grateful that you understand my reasons.
One last thing.
Please do not cancel shortly before the lesson for no serious reason and then feel like it is just fine. As you can see, my timetable is full.
I agree with each student how long before the lesson they have the last chance to cancel without having to pay half price of the fee. Please let us be fair with each other. As Hungarians say: Az idő pénz (time is money).
If I cancel late, after the agreed time, I teach half a lesson free. I think it is fair. I rarely cancel, almost never. I do not remember when I had to cancel the last time. I raise my son alone, his father lives an hour drive from here, etc. etc., this corona situation does not help…. so I often need to juggle with time, but I like agreeing about lesson times a week or at least some days in advance. I need it and trust me, it is better for you too.
Want to read good opinions about me from my students? Go to The method page to see them.