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A bit of advice needed please

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by suzette, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    Hi Everyone, I wonder if I can tap your knowledgeable brains? I have a student that; to put it bluntly is plain lazy. She's in Yr 10, studying for her GCSE in English Lit/Lang with me only. She often doesn't do any homework, turns up late (at least a half hour late for an hour lesson), she says doesn't know what poetry, texts etc she's doing for he GCSE's and has even said her teacher's hasn't begun doing the English Literature yet with them, just the English Language part of the course!

    I think she's lying, as I've been onto her school's website it says they will begin to study for English lit/lang in Yr 10, however it doesn't say what and when they will do it.

    I know what she should be studying GCSE English lit, as it's my job to know what the GCSE English lit/lang subjects contain. She says she only knows she's studying the Love & Relationship poems/Romeo & Juliet, but says they haven't done anything towards learning about the 15 poems/novels/Shakespeare yet???

    Also other Year 10 students that school & in different schools I'm tutoring are well on the way with regards to studying the poetry etc! But she keeps saying her specific teacher hasn't started doing English Lit with them yet at all.

    I've suggested to her mum to ask the school/teacher's and she has given me a list of what she should know/be doing, but she is still saying they are just concentrating on the English Language & not the English lit! As she will be in Year 11 next (the year that is mostly a revision year), I'm a bit worried that she appears to not know anything.

    I always write an a review about each student/how they're doing etc at this time of the year & her mum has asked me to do one. My question is: How do I approach mum about this (I've spoken to her many times about this & she seems to be a bit oblivious as to how to forge forward with this). Also what do I write in her review?

    Any relevant advice would be appreciated.
  2. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    In my old age I have become more particular about the students I am willing to tutor. If I had a student like this I would get rid of them. One of the advantages of private tuition is that you don't have to put up with this sort of behaviour.

    Assuming you want to try and continue, I think you should be honest with the mum. Say that the girl is often half an hour late and doesn't do her homework and that unless she changes there is little point continuing tuition. She may well be unwilling to hear criticism of her daughter and stop tuition anyway when you tell her that.
    alfredrussell likes this.
  3. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Tell the parent the truth. I've had to do this a couple of times and each time the parent has been furious with the child and things have improved bug they've been grateful for me telling them.

    If they don't want to hear it or are 'off' about you telling them then you might want to stop tuition.
  4. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    It sounds like the child is not interested in tuition. I am very very blunt with parents. The parent may not be happy that this has been going on and they have been unaware. I had a student who forgot half their homework two weeks in a row I told their mum and she wasn't happy that it had happened twice before I had mentioned it.
    I think I would speak to her on the phone rather than writing a review. I would send her an email saying that you are very concerned and feel that you need to speak to the parent on the phone.
  5. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the info. The bluntness with the parents is not the issue, it's that she's clearly lying. It couldn't be possible with so little time that the teacher would concentrate on one subject & not the other, especially as the GCSE English Language is always after the English Literature ones! I know she's lying, but I can't call her out on it, the mum thinks she's also not certain what she should be doing, but I think she's in denial, often blaming the school for not telling her daughter what they should be doing.

    I have a feeling that they're looking to make me the fall guy, blaming me (and her teacher) for her lack of knowledge. I'm thinking of dumping her before it gets to that stage, but as I've only been tutoring her since April this year, I was wondering if I should hang on a bit.
  6. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    If she has form for blaming the school, you could well be next. I'd give notice, saying that you can't continue to offer tuition due to the lateness and non completion of homework but that you wish them well.
  7. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    It seems you have a choice. Either tell the mum you don't believe what her daughter is saying, which could result in some unpleasantness and them sacking you, or you tell them you are no longer able to tutor her. I'd go for the latter.
  8. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Can you not just say that due to other commitments you're no longer available?
  9. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    I only tutor students in their own home so they can't be late but if I didn't I wouldn't allow a student to be late. After 5 mins I would phone the parent and say they hadn't arrived. The main problem with main stream education is the acceptance of poor behaviour, as a tutor it doesn't need to exist. Adios bad students and parents.
  10. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    I have had an issue with students not 'taking responsibility for their own learning' which sounds like this student. I would be honest with her and her mum and say that she isn't putting in the necessary effort to achieve the grade she wants. Rather than saying she is lying. I would get rid.
  11. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your responses. Yes I am going to have a word with the mum after Christmas. (I think I should leave it until then). I have since found out that a student in the year below her, that I tutor has begun to work towards the GCSE English lit subjects, so I know for sure she's lying!! Obviously, I won't call her out to her mum, but I'm more than likely going to call it a day, as it's clear, she doesn't want my help.
  12. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    I can't do that as she's a student from a tutoring site I'm on. If I do I run the risk of a bad review. Even if this wasn't the case I wouldn't use this as a reason. I would give a reason regarding the work, or lack of it. It sounds more related to the tutoring, other commitments sounds a bit wishy washy. I'd like to keep it professional.

    I'm more than likely to go down the contract route as well. Her mum signed to say that she would be committed to doing homework relevant to the development of her progress. She has had no progress since I've tutored her, due to the lack of homework, inertia, lack of participation in the lessons and general attitude, so I think in the New Year these are the things I will mention when I have a conversation with mum.
  13. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    You're being way too kind. The mother is paying you £££, don't you think she deserves to know the truth?
  14. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    I think the mother knows what she's doing. I personally wouldn't ever call a student a liar. (My reputation is far too valuable for that). I am going to speak to mum, but I think it calls for subtlety, rather than going in all blazes! Although she's paying me, I still think I need to be tactful and cautious!
  15. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    I wrote an article over a year ago on developing work-ethic and responsibility in students (this sounds much needed with this student!) which I've linked below for you, as it's now hidden well down in the archives!


    If I wasn't getting anywhere with these strategies after 3 or 4 weeks though, I'd be ditching her and being honest as to the reasons, which should come as no surprise to the parent anyway assuming you're giving regular weekly feedback.
  16. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    I've just this minute found your response to my OP. Thanks a lot. Your article is very useful. Is there anyway it can be downloaded as a PDF perhaps? I had to scan read it, as it's a bit long but would like to read it in more detail later. If it was downloadable, it would make it easier to do, but cheers and Happy New Year!!
  17. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    Not sure about downloading it as a pdf but it'd be very simple to copy the text, paste it into a word document and then print it off
  18. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    Tell the parent
    Get an email address for the parent and send any homework to them
    If she makes her own way there text the parent when she's arrived
  19. suzette

    suzette Occasional commenter

    Already done all of that. But thanks anyway.
  20. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    In that case I'd get rid . It's not looking like the have their support and you can't work miracles

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