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Avoiding undermining the school

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by Boardingmaster, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Boardingmaster

    Boardingmaster New commenter


    I have a year 13 boy who I tutor further maths to, and am in a bit of a dilemma. It seems to me his school is not doing a great job at teaching the course, as there still seems to be a huge amount left to cover (at least the whole of complex numbers, vectors, further mechanics, integration and hyperbolics) and his teacher refuses to give them an idea of when they will finish the course. He is a very bright and hardworking boy who I doubt is making things up, and I feel the best use of my time really would be to teach him parts of the course he hasn't covered yet so he can be in a position to revise by Easter. How do I suggest we should do this without showing concern at how much is left to cover and undermining his faith in the school/ his ability to succeed? As a full time teacher I would hate the idea of a tutor undermining me, and as an anxious boy I don't want to get him too worried about the task ahead. Any advice? Thanks
  2. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I quite often teach topics they haven't yet done at school. Sometimes I've been asked to do this as the child or their parents are concerned that they aren't covering everything at school in a timely manner. It is quite possible the boy realises how much there is still to do and would be pleased if you suggest doing some parts of the course they haven't done yet.

    Perhaps say something along the lines of:

    "Is there anything you've been doing at school you need help with? If not perhaps we could go on to a new topic and then you'll be ahead of the action when you cover it at school."
  3. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    Really like @gainly's last phrase, I may wish to borrow that one!
    It could also be a possibility that the teacher may expect pupils to "self-study" some of the topics. I have seen this for Y13s and they are very grateful for some help if that is the case.
  4. Boardingmaster

    Boardingmaster New commenter

    Thanks for the advice, I will give that a go when I see him tomorrow!
  5. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    I would very happily teach the new topics and do the whole time. No criticism of the school or teacher is involved. If you introduce him to complex numbers at least you know it has been done properly.
  6. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    If you're currently teaching in schools, you'll be amazed by the amount of contents students need to cover--especially in humanities subjects: history, geography, religious studies, etc.--to the point that some schools, now begin GCSE in Year 9. At A-Level, extra lessons are being arranged to get students through contents just in time for their exams, leaving little or no room for revisions. Last year, a survey on a teachers' online forum showed that in one of the humanities' subject, less than 40% of participating schools would have finished teaching contents by Easter. About 15% reported, they're unlikely to cover all contents prior to exams date, and students would have to self-taught or seek help elsewhere. It seems a crazy situation, really.
  7. Boardingmaster

    Boardingmaster New commenter

    I have to say I hadn’t realised the situation was that bad. I’ve found that since dropping AS levels, having the summer term as a full teaching term means we almost finish too early (I’ve basically finished with my year 13s, desperately trying to add in as much extension as possible to avoid spending the next 4 months revising). I do realise in other school contexts it would be harder, but I’m amazed by that 15% stat
  8. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    I agree with briancant. Further Maths is very demanding for all but the very gifted so any additional tuition is extremely beneficial.
  9. venny414

    venny414 New commenter

    I think there lies your answer. Tread carefully.

    Good luck with it all.
  10. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    I don't think it applies in this case, but I would have no hesitation in undermining the teacher when they have told the pupils something which is clearly wrong.

    For example I found one of my pupils had written in her exercise book: "The exact value of pi is 22/7" She said she was sure it was wrong but the teacher had told them to copy it down!
  11. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I bet the teacher is from overseas. I teach adults, and I've come across several who have been under the impression that 22/7 is better than any decimal, and are very reluctant to use the calculator button.
    (Who remembers when most circle radii were multiples of 7?)
    Piranha likes this.
  12. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    We certainly used 22/7 as an approximate value for pi when I was at school, before calculators. Most of my students cannot imagine how we could possibly do maths without a calculator.
    Piranha likes this.
  13. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    That's insane. Further Maths is WAY quicker to teach than the single Maths content. We finish CP1 by Xmas of Yr 12 and do the Year 1 FM1 and FP1 content by Easter. Exams, revision, blah. FInish CP2 by October and the rest of FM1 and FP1 by February at the latest. Then 3 months of revision. I don't know WHAT his school is up to.
  14. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I have tutored students where it was touch and go whether the school would finish the A-level course before the exam. I wouldn't criticise the school, but the student usually knew that things were not being done properly without me saying anything. Just looking at the number of chapters left in the text book is a good guide. My duty was to do the best I could for them, and if this meant teaching material they had not yet covered in class, then so be it.
  15. Boardingmaster

    Boardingmaster New commenter

    Thank you all for your advice. I have done exactly as suggested and we are covering the remaining syllabus in our sessions.

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