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Private tutors, teachers' friends or foes?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by gainly, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

  2. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    I taught for twenty years and in my last year had quite a lot of contact with a local tutor (this was an international school). You have to remember that teachers have to be very careful disclosing information about students to any third party including tutors. For that reason I think most teachers ignore tutors.

    I've tutored for two years and have never had any contact with the teachers. Parents have asked for information on my behalf to help their children but the schools have never responded.

    My position is to never undermine teachers in anyway. Often I'm hired because of a problem with the class teacher, but it doesn't really help the students to join them and their parents in running down their teachers. Of course it does horrify me who they are letting teach GCSE and A level maths now.
    Piranha and suzette like this.
  3. BG54

    BG54 New commenter

    I've been tutoring for 5 years and only had direct contact with one teacher who was pro-active and helpful in letting me have her scheme of work at the start of each term together with her opinion on the student's weak areas. This teacher was happy that the student was receiving additional help but other than that I've just had the occasional second-hand comment via the student or from parents evening that their teacher is pleased that they're receiving extra help.

    I don't see myself as competing with the teachers nor is it my place to criticise them. I would hope we both have the same objective - helping the students improve.
    Kateray1 likes this.
  4. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    I agree it is important not to undermine the teacher. I always try to find out the method the students have been taught so as to not confuse them with a different method. Quite often my students tell me something their teacher has said which is clearly wrong. I avoid criticising the teacher as I think it is equally likely that the student misunderstood.

    I do quite often get secondhand feedback as to how much the student has improved after starting tuition but never had any direct contact with teachers.
  5. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    The amount of teachers who teach that Macbeth is an Elizabethan play. They make students write it in their books. It was written in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
    Then I come along and explain all about James I /James 6th Scotland, all the references to James, the theme of Kingship, the fact that he is descended from Banquo's line, the witches etc.
    They look at me gobsmacked.
    I then point out the notes in their school texts which proves it was written in the time of James I.
    The following week their teacher tells them it was written in the reign of Elizabeth...
    suzette likes this.
  6. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    I don't have any contact except for one occasion about arranging an exam for a student who was home schooled but still on their books
  7. suzette

    suzette New commenter

    I am all for not 'treading on the teacher's toes'. I don't have contact with the school, but I always suggest/and try to work in harmony with what they are taught in school. I draw the exception to historical inaccuracies like the OP posted about them saying Macbeth has been written in Elizabethan times!

    I'm flabbergasted at the fact that because of a lack of time, experience, classroom sizes or the teacher having to cope with unruly pupils; how many students are left to struggle. In fact a student that I tutor has said to me, 'If you don't understand something straight away, they don't have time to tell us again and refer them to Google to understand it.' This means students are left behind when at GCSE studying.

    I get so annoyed when articles like this 'diss' tutors and look on them as a threat to teaching.

    I am currently tutoring FOUR GCSE English lang/lit students, ALL from the same school and in the same year group. None of them know about each other, all of them have roughly said the teacher hasn't got a clue how to teach the subject well. All of them before tutoring with me barely knew how to write a decent PETAL/or PEE sentence for GCSE standard. I didn't seek them out,they found me on a tutoring website. So if I hadn't begun to tutor them, I feel they would have slipped through the net.

    I work damn hard at what I do. As I tutor I feel I can give a student more time, more resources, more feedback and I always mark a student's work within a reasonable time frame. How many teachers can do all of this?
    saluki likes this.
  8. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    As a teacher, I had no problem with a student getting extra one to one support. If their results improve, then it makes me look good! I didn't like this quote, though. Ideally, a working relationship should be developed, with ongoing contact between the tutor and class teacher. I didn't have time to spare to talk to a load of tutors on a regular basis. There is a current thread on another forum about teachers being expected to answer emails from parents on a regular basis.

    As a tutor, I do not expect contact with the school, although parents have passed emails on, thus avoiding any data protection issues. I have a policy of never criticising a teacher, even when I think the student has been badly taught.
  9. BristolLanguages

    BristolLanguages New commenter

    To be honest, a teacher and a private tutor are two different jobs. The job of the tutor is teaching the student the material adapting it to their specific needs. The job of a teacher in your standard mainstream 30 kids-classroom is 80% behaviour management, 10% social worker, 5 % keeping management and Ofsted happy and if they are lucky they can teach 5%. Okay, maybe the teaching is more than 5 %, but standing in front of a classroom of 30 or so teenagers who really mostly don't want to be there, and talking at them showing them information on Power Point, asking them to glue photocopies on their notebooks, dictating information so they write it down (because, of course, text books are evil, so why would you want to have ready information when you can waste your time misspelling it in your own handwriting) is very different from actually teaching one or two students, actually teaching them.

    I taught two sisters for three years. The eldest one was super hardworking, and she excel at everything. She just wanted to support her oral Spanish GCSE. She did great. The school is a good one, anyway. Her sister was very lazy, still after 2 years of tutoring, only one hour a week term time, and not doing any homework in between lessons, she managed a B at GCSE. By the end of the two years, I was happy she was able to converse in basic French, she was independent building her own sentences and could vary her responses, etc.
    When she did that GCSE, then I continued tutoring her to support her Spanish GCSE from school. She got an A at GCSE, the teacher was very good at cramming and rota learning, so much so, that although she got an A, she was unable to speak in Spanish or build her own sentences. So, much so, that when she came to me after having down one and a bit years of Spanish at school, 3 hours a week, I asked her "What's your name?" and she looked at me blankly!
    Her teacher at school was excellent at what they do in school... which was cramming and practicing for the GCSE exams. This was the previous GCSEs where for the oral and written paper students were given the questions and they learnt them by rota before the exams. It has changed now.

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