One of the questions I received from a member of the Ultimate Support Group for Online Tutors is if I videotape my in-home sessions for fear of parents suing me.
Hmm, now that’s an interesting concern.
First of all, I have heard of parents suing schools and teachers for a child’s poor academic performance (I know right?!), physical injury, bullying, and even sexual harassment.
But I have yet to hear of a private tutor being sued for these sorts of things. However, if it can happen to school-based teachers, it can certainly happen to private tutors as well.
To answer the question of my member, no, I don’t videotape any of my in-home tutorial sessions because of the following reasons:
- It’s too much work. Honestly, I don’t know if I am willing to set up a system for videotaping each of my in-home tutorial sessions.
I’d need to have a camera with lots of space, I need to transfer the files to the storage, and I need to look for a storage space that can house all of those huge video files.
- I don’t think I will be sued! I have been conducting in-home tutoring for my neighbors over the past 5 years, and no one has ever had a complaint against me. I think the chances of me getting sued are so small, so going through all the trouble of videotaping is not worth it for me.
- I have an open workspace. I conduct my sessions in my home office which is pretty open, so parents can come and go all they want. They can even go inside my house and listen in on the session without me knowing, and that’s fine as well.
They can practically just listen and observe our sessions, so there’s no need to videotape anything.
Now comes the interesting question. What about online tutoring?
Zoom has a feature where you can videotape your sessions. Should you use it?
There are some instances where it is beneficial to use it, but I would never use it because I think I am going to get sued. In all of the cases where a parent was unhappy the services (yes, I have had some instances where things did not work out perfectly) they simply ask for a refund, and I give it to them.
I think the only time they would sue me is if I did not give the refund.
Here two times where I think recording sessions could be useful.
- Record so the student can review the material later.
- Record assessments to compare before and after abilities.
What about you?
Of course, a lot of people would disagree with me on this, and that’s fine because each of us has different work settings. If you’re thinking of videotaping your in-home sessions, you need to consider the following:
- How is your relationship with your clients? Some of us may have clients that we have no prior relationship with, so the trust level is pretty low. It’s a good idea to videotape for clients like this just in case something happens.
- Where will you store all the files? Videos are pretty big files with sizes depending on the resolution and settings of the camera used. It’s important to think of a good storage space for these files.
Zoom has a built-in storage for recorded online sessions, but for in-home sessions that are videotaped via camera, you’d have to get a storage like an extra hard disk or flash drive. You can also store in cloud-based apps like Gmail or Dropbox, though I think these apps have storage limits.
Of course, you can burn these videos into CDs or DVDs as well. (But then where will you store all those CDs?!)
- How big is your tutorial business? For those with bigger online tutorial business with several other tutors working under you, it’s a good thing to have a system in place in case of a client complaint.
You can videotape each of the tutor’s session so that you have a record in case something comes up. After a week and everything’s clear, delete the files to avoid a build-up of huge files.
In the end, it depends on your preference. If you feel wary and want to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, then go ahead and videotape your lessons. An extra self-protection can’t harm you given that you consider the three things that I mentioned above.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you think videotaping your in-home and/or tutoring sessions is a wise thing to do? Comment it below!