Wyzant asked if tutors would be interested in offering an "instant booking" option that allows students to see tutors' availability and book a lesson right away. I would support this service, with conditions, although I am not sure it would be a good fit for my students.
Firstly, I think this booking option should only be available for returning students. I believe that the initial communication between a tutor and student prior to booking the first lesson is critical. It allows the tutor and student to get to know one another, to find out if they are a good match, and to prepare for the first lesson.
Secondly, I think the service should block out times when other students have booked lessons. So, if one student books a lesson during my available time, then another student should be prevented from double booking.
I understand the convenience of automatic booking for students, but it is a tricky issue as a tutor. I work hard to serve my students and meet their needs, and that is why I would consider using instant/ automatic booking, even though it is less convenient to me than booking through a message. I also see how this service could be more convenient to some tutors who work with a different student demographic.
However, many of my students need a greater level of flexibility than automatic booking might provide. I work with students with exceptionally busy schedules. Most of my students are adults who work full-time, have children, and attend school. Often, they text me to schedule a lesson at the last minute,and I provide this service to them. Automatic booking might not give me enough notice of their last-minute booking to prepare for their lesson. If they had to text me anyway, I do not think that booking online would be more convenient.
Although I would support implementing automatic booking with conditions, I do not think it is a good fit for most of my current students and I.