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Parents being present during tutor sessions

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by Strangeo, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Strangeo

    Strangeo New commenter

    Hi all, new to the forum!
    I am a private tutor, having had the opportunity to get out of full-time teaching a few years back. I go to my students' houses for each session. Having done this for over a year, its fair to say, the situations I have been put in and the surroundings I have tutored in have varied, from lovely to extremely awkward to awfulnevergoingbackagain...
    I had a situation recently whereby the person in charge, who was neither a parent or grandparent or brother, insisted on being in the room during the session with the 15 year-old boy. Sat right behind me.
    No problem there, but a strange experience when the kid has his head low and won't speak up much, and this man is getting involved in the session also, interrupting, sharing in the session. Usually parents leave me to it so I can get on with getting them through content, building confidence, you know, DOING MY JOB!
    Before the next session I tried giving him the heads up, (the 'guardian'), and I texted him to say that perhaps we could try him being out of the room so I could try to get some sort of rapport with the kid to build confidence. I made the suggestion that we go to a public place, a cafe or a library, to do the session, instead.
    He wrote back that he was deeply offended and did not want contact with me again, furthermore he didn't want me to tutor the boy.
    I'm an experienced teacher, 12 years in mainstream secondary schools, I now run a tutoring business and I am a self-employed tutor. It goes without saying that I'm a professional and I follow the rules.
    I am used to being blindsided by parents and their demands anyway (work for nothing! You don't need a table do you? etc. ) but I could see no reason why HE should be offended that he shouldn't be there. I don't think he even saw it as a child protection issue!
    I took it on the chin, apologised and we have not had contact since.
    Has anyone got any thoughts on this? Was I right to ask? Was I out of order? What was his problem? Do you tutor with a parent insisting on being present? Have you ever told them to go? Thanks in advance...
  2. Ian1983

    Ian1983 Occasional commenter

    person in charge, who was neither a parent or grandparent or brother

    Who were they?

    Parents / guardians are welcome to be in the room during my lessons but not to be getting involved.
  3. TheLondonTutor

    TheLondonTutor New commenter

    Hi Strangeo,

    Sounds to me like a child protection issue that should be taken seriously. There are some concerning signs including that the ‘guardian’ was unwilling to leave the boy unattended, and also that the boy has his head low and doesn’t speak up much when they’re in the same room.

    I recommend that you call NSPCC for advice on what to do - 0808 800 5000
    NSPCC advice on their website - https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/safeguarding-child-protection/

    I’ve had a few safeguarding trainings now via healthcare and stories like this are often given as example cases of when something should be reported.
  4. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    I would have expected the adult to have introduced themselves and say who they were. For example "I am X and am Ys uncle/guardian etc,".
    In some cultures the adult may be uncomfortable if the tutor is the opposite gender to the tutee so this may explain why he was there. However I wouldn't expect them to participate in the lesson in any way. Usually parents get on with another task or sit in the corner reading a book, for example. I think your instincts were correct, but I doubt the situation would have improved so perhaps it's better that they made the decision to pull out. I think after the first session I would have said " I think Y would be better with a male tutor" or "I don't think that I am the right tutor for Y" or saying that he (the adult) can attend but in future needs to keep quiet during the sessions.
    I am not sure if you can report on the basis of one session to be honest. Does the boy attend school? I would be suspicious if he is being home educated.
    It's not just you by the way, we have all had parents/adults/tutees that have been awkward clients.
    Mrsmumbles, Kateray1 and phlogiston like this.
  5. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    Just to add to my post I once had a tutee where the whole family turned up for the first session - both parents and a sister as well. I had prepared a lesson and some questions for the boy, but they seemed to have other ideas and started interviewing me! Needless to say, that was the one and only session!
    Kateray1 likes this.
  6. parseltongue

    parseltongue New commenter

    As a previous poster has commented, this is a potential safeguarding issue. Report to social services- better to overreact than to do nothing.
    Kateray1 likes this.
  7. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    This seems quite an odd experience. Normally parents leave me alone with the student and are doing something in the next room. Occasionally they ask if they should stay and I encourage them not to, which they have always been OK about. I think the students can be quite put off by having a parent or other adult present and are more worried about making a mistake which makes the lesson more difficult.

    I think you did the right thing and are well out of the situation. Without actually having been there I'm not sure if the situation would be serious enough to report to social services. Who arranged the tuition initially? Was it this man or an actual parent?
  8. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    They are weird and you are well out of it. I would have sacked them if they hadn't sacked me.
    Piranha likes this.
  9. becca3471

    becca3471 New commenter

    All my tutees come to me so that is a bit different I know. I have one parent who likes to stay - this is a much younger student and the parent just likes to know what’s going on to reinforce it at home. She’s lovely but v v chatty and likes to go off on a tangent. Otherwise, I occasionally have parents who stay for the very first session (to suss me out I suppose, and so I can chat to them and the student about grades etc - I encourage this if a parent asks me if that’s ok) but would hate it to become the norm. You were not at all in the wrong, but given how weird it sounded anyway this seems for the best.
  10. -LittleMiss-

    -LittleMiss- New commenter

    i dont think they should be sitting all the way through it...its ok, to pop in every now n again without interupting too much...the parent would know what the child did by looking through the work...maybe u should charge the parent too.....(joke)
    Kateray1 likes this.
  11. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    This does sound really odd and you're probably best off out of it.

    My students travel to me and I habe one mum who sits in and reads her book as they come too far for her to go home. She regularly dozes off! Not sure if it's a compliment or if I bore her to sleep..
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  12. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    I'd normally expect a parent to be in the house for tutoring, though seldom in the same room constantly. Some families are very odd and it's probably best if you lose them.
    Not having a table is an awkward, even awful set up. No wonder their child is struggling.
  13. never_expect_anything

    never_expect_anything Occasional commenter

    I wonder what background information you have on this tutee and his 'home' situation. I'm not sure this is necessarily a clear-cut safeguarding issue, though I can see how it could be. The response of the 'guardian' to say they didn't want you to tutor any more seems more odd to me than the actual tutoring session situation. I teach looked after young people (from residential children's homes) who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties, and who are supported 1-to-1 at all times (due to their extreme behaviours), which might sound intense and unusual to anyone who has not worked in this type of setting; it sounds possible that the guardian was used to being 1-to-1 with the tutee, but perhaps failed to explain the tutee's exact situation and support needs to you in advance...
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  14. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    The advantage of being a tutor is you shouldn't worry about things like this. If the tutoring isn't working out for either party just move on.
  15. Strangeo

    Strangeo New commenter

    Thankyou all for your responses, it's good to have some back up!
    I had a chat with a friend who is also a safeguarding officer at her school. She said that I should tell someone. So I will get some advice and go ahead with that. Thanks all!
  16. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

  17. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    He sounds nuts, ignore him and get yourself a better student. Yes, I allow parents of KS2 kids to sit in. I have a sneaky system. L shaped ground floor, garden view, really comfy armchair. Happy Mums snooze off within minutes or catch up on their emails...they would never ever intrusion the teaching they’re paying for...no way. That adult is going to realise how wrong he was to treat you like that as he starts trying to find a replacement for you...his loss, not yours!
  18. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Definitely a compliment! :)

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