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My students are revolting...help!

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by 911turbo, Jan 22, 2011.

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    I have some real difficulties with my students and wondered
    if someone could help me as I would be very grateful for any advice and
    guidance.


    I privately tutor a very small group of students. I have
    written before on this forum about how they are adults and I use a variety of
    different teaching methods, try to motivate them but that they don’t do the
    work, chat in my lessons and hardly ever do the homework I set them. I have
    encouraged and guided them as much as possible, been creative with my resources
    and have empathised with their reasons for studying this A’Level. They only
    have two hours a week tuition from me (their choice) and I have told them they
    need to work very hard to obtain their second year A’Level. They have been
    overwhelmed by the workload but they don’t do the work! I do get some essays and coursework in but certainly not enough to help them pass.


    The last time I taught them it became impossible. One of the
    students said she had had enough, she wasn’t doing the exam and she was only
    there to keep up the numbers! She said she would never learn it all and it was
    too stressful. The others tried to convince her to do the exam in June and she
    just refused and I said I sympathised and she said she didn’t
    want my sympathy! This student is the oldest of the group and she distracts the
    others constantly. She has made offensive and narrow minded comments that I
    found upsetting if I am honest and I feel she undermines my position as their
    tutor. The atmosphere, the last time I taught them, was tense and very
    uncomfortable and I remember coming away thinking that I couldn’t teach them
    again.


    I thought about it in depth. I have done a lot of work and
    preparation for these students. It was extremely hard to create a scheme of
    work to put so much work into such a short space of time and I have prepared
    their lessons and resources until June but I knew I couldn’t teach them with
    this lady in the group. So as we are always in contact by email I emailed them
    to explain how I felt, suggested that I would still teach the others without
    the student causing problems, and that I would teach them in my home (as we
    were using a building where this lady works) and that I would reduce the price
    accordingly. I also said that I would teach individually, or in pairs, or
    whatever they would like.


    Now they have refused. Said that I agreed to teach them as a
    group (which of course I did, but who could ever predict what will happen?) and
    that if I wouldn’t teach all of them, then they would accept me withdrawing as
    their teacher. This woman doesn’t even want to use the A’Level and was purely
    doing it for fun. They are missing out because of her. I have reiterated why I
    didn’t want to teach this woman in the group but the emails I receive back just
    keep on about teaching them as a group! It is not possible now for me to teach
    them as a group, not after the way I have expressed my grievances against one
    of them and they are asking for a refund. I am not in a financial position to
    just give back their money (it is four payments in advance) and I have done so
    much work for them in preparation that I feel they should pay for.
    Additionally, I haven’t said I wouldn’t teach them, just one of them! I feel I
    have bent over backwards to accommodate them. I have tried to support them even
    though they don’t do any work.


    There was no contract and we are completely private, not
    under a college or governing body. Does anyone have any suggestions please?
     
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    I have some real difficulties with my students and wondered
    if someone could help me as I would be very grateful for any advice and
    guidance.


    I privately tutor a very small group of students. I have
    written before on this forum about how they are adults and I use a variety of
    different teaching methods, try to motivate them but that they don’t do the
    work, chat in my lessons and hardly ever do the homework I set them. I have
    encouraged and guided them as much as possible, been creative with my resources
    and have empathised with their reasons for studying this A’Level. They only
    have two hours a week tuition from me (their choice) and I have told them they
    need to work very hard to obtain their second year A’Level. They have been
    overwhelmed by the workload but they don’t do the work! I do get some essays and coursework in but certainly not enough to help them pass.


    The last time I taught them it became impossible. One of the
    students said she had had enough, she wasn’t doing the exam and she was only
    there to keep up the numbers! She said she would never learn it all and it was
    too stressful. The others tried to convince her to do the exam in June and she
    just refused and I said I sympathised and she said she didn’t
    want my sympathy! This student is the oldest of the group and she distracts the
    others constantly. She has made offensive and narrow minded comments that I
    found upsetting if I am honest and I feel she undermines my position as their
    tutor. The atmosphere, the last time I taught them, was tense and very
    uncomfortable and I remember coming away thinking that I couldn’t teach them
    again.


    I thought about it in depth. I have done a lot of work and
    preparation for these students. It was extremely hard to create a scheme of
    work to put so much work into such a short space of time and I have prepared
    their lessons and resources until June but I knew I couldn’t teach them with
    this lady in the group. So as we are always in contact by email I emailed them
    to explain how I felt, suggested that I would still teach the others without
    the student causing problems, and that I would teach them in my home (as we
    were using a building where this lady works) and that I would reduce the price
    accordingly. I also said that I would teach individually, or in pairs, or
    whatever they would like.


    Now they have refused. Said that I agreed to teach them as a
    group (which of course I did, but who could ever predict what will happen?) and
    that if I wouldn’t teach all of them, then they would accept me withdrawing as
    their teacher. This woman doesn’t even want to use the A’Level and was purely
    doing it for fun. They are missing out because of her. I have reiterated why I
    didn’t want to teach this woman in the group but the emails I receive back just
    keep on about teaching them as a group! It is not possible now for me to teach
    them as a group, not after the way I have expressed my grievances against one
    of them and they are asking for a refund. I am not in a financial position to
    just give back their money (it is four payments in advance) and I have done so
    much work for them in preparation that I feel they should pay for.
    Additionally, I haven’t said I wouldn’t teach them, just one of them! I feel I
    have bent over backwards to accommodate them. I have tried to support them even
    though they don’t do any work.


    There was no contract and we are completely private, not
    under a college or governing body. Does anyone have any suggestions please?
     
  3. I think you've got no choice here but to cut your losses and part ways. You aren't in any position to retain any of the fee, as you have not provided any clauses in a contract. This sounds awful, I hope you can find a way to get rid of them.

    Best of luck!

    Dan
     
  4. I would say tutor them. Even if it's awful - you don't have long left. If you've already got the resources ready then it's not extra work. It's up to them to do well and work hard and if they are giong to pay you to be there at their weekly social events, then do it! Just let them know that it's up to them to put the work in and that you can't do the work for them. I would also draw up a plan for the next few weeks that they can agree to - perhaps in the format 'if you want a good grade then...'.

    Hold your head up high - they are supposed to be adults - don't quit because of a 'naughty pupil'!!

    good luck x
     

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