I am bleeding money, and just like blood, there is a finite amount of it available. I’m getting my morning started and will be teaching a Drawing for Beginners class at 9:30, one of two Saturday classes I have run this month. The first was attended by the most amazing boy (nearly 12 years old) and he lapped up every exercise and technique I taught to him. He didn’t take a break for the whole two and a half hours of tuition. He went home and praised my class and how cool I am. He was also, alas, my only student that morning and although I expect him back again today, I’m still in the hole for my costs.
This is not a story confined to Saturday classes, nor to only classes I teach. The state of attendance for enrichment classes is desperate. One of my Wednesday evening students went to a class north of Crackington and was the only one there. She had an unintentional private lesson from me too. I hear from one of my life drawing models that the local council is cancelling one of their art courses due to low registration numbers– they cannot afford to run it.
After model fees and room hire I am – so far – £63 in debt on this month’s teaching activities (outside of my classes at Wooda). I have another £20 of hire charges to go, plus another £30 in model fees expected before the last two classes are done. I have not even factored in materials and refreshments. If I have no other students, that’s a huge loss for an independent tutor to endure in a month.
I have tried different venues, times and months, villages– everywhere is the same right now. I have attempted three class formats, and had one special event class during a festival. All of them cost money to run and only the event class came close to breaking even.
At the end of this month, I can put the teaching to bed for a bit, save for my hugely successful Wednesday mornings at Wooda. I am a good teacher. I love teaching and what I do. The rest of the world just needs to level out and have a few extra quid each week to spend time on enriching classes. This is not a time for indulgence; it is a time for me to stop trying to change that fact with hope and good intentions.
I have two more classes left in September and for now, I’ll let them bleed me. I have committed, I am professional, and I take my risks and then take my lumps where appropriate.
I think I’d like less lumps in future though, thankyouverymuch.