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Strange clients

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by snappyshark, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    Just wanted to share something that happened this week and wondered if anyone else has had something similar and what they did about it...
    I had a new boy start with me for one to one tuition. I met with him and his Mum last week and she was very positive and up for the tuition. At his first lesson, he turned up without the initial assessment work I had given him for homework and the exercise book. He was a bit odd throughout the whole session, which I put down to nerves. His Dad picked him up and that is when the real fun began! To say his Dad gave me 'attitude' is the only way I can describe it. He would not make eye contact or look at the work I did with his son. He cut me off mid sentence and said he had to go to an appointment and practically ran out the door without paying me and sped off in the car. He stopped up the road and the boy came running back with the money.
    I am trying to make sense of this and I think the issues are:
    a) They can't really afford private tuition and it is a major point of disagreement between him and his wife.
    b) He does not agree with or see why they are paying for private tuition (related to point a)
    c) He felt 'out of his depth' talking to a teacher as he has personal issues with education (without sounding judgemental, I don't think his own education is of a particularly high level ).

    I am now wondering if I will see this boy again or quite what to make of it. There was something so odd about the whole thing .
    Any advice or other stories of strange clients appreciated.
     
  2. Hi,
    Just wanted to share something that happened this week and wondered if anyone else has had something similar and what they did about it...
    I had a new boy start with me for one to one tuition. I met with him and his Mum last week and she was very positive and up for the tuition. At his first lesson, he turned up without the initial assessment work I had given him for homework and the exercise book. He was a bit odd throughout the whole session, which I put down to nerves. His Dad picked him up and that is when the real fun began! To say his Dad gave me 'attitude' is the only way I can describe it. He would not make eye contact or look at the work I did with his son. He cut me off mid sentence and said he had to go to an appointment and practically ran out the door without paying me and sped off in the car. He stopped up the road and the boy came running back with the money.
    I am trying to make sense of this and I think the issues are:
    a) They can't really afford private tuition and it is a major point of disagreement between him and his wife.
    b) He does not agree with or see why they are paying for private tuition (related to point a)
    c) He felt 'out of his depth' talking to a teacher as he has personal issues with education (without sounding judgemental, I don't think his own education is of a particularly high level ).

    I am now wondering if I will see this boy again or quite what to make of it. There was something so odd about the whole thing .
    Any advice or other stories of strange clients appreciated.
     
  3. If were you, I would stop tutoring this boy immediately. I wouldn't want to have anything to do with his father anymore
     
  4. PARTALOA

    PARTALOA New commenter

    I agree with the reply from Spanishgalxia, stop tutoring.
     
  5. I am thinking at the moment to just ignore it (it is 'business' after all!) as I think these clients will be fly by nights anyway and to just see if they turn up next week.
    It sounds as if the last two posters are quite astute at spotting time wasters! If I did stop tutoring him, how would I tell them? What would I say?
    Has anyway else had a gut feeling that customers might be time wasters or troublesome? Were you right?
     
  6. looks messy - mum and dad together?
     
  7. Yes, married living together parents.
     
  8. Some people are weird but it seems that previous posters have never had a bad day at work, getting a very bad headache that makes you want to run home rather than talking to some tutor about something that you don't really understand, and which you are not going to understand through a pumping headache may not be ideal. Many of my students have at some point forgotten to pay me, I just reminded them politely and it was an honest mistake. Also, you don't know what this man's job is, so maybe he did have an important meeting to do with his business that he couldn't miss!
    Not doing homework and the assessment you gave the boy doesn't look to me very strange. Firstly, because school kids are used these days to get homework that they regards as "an excuse to get detention if you don't do it", they don't see "homework" as part of "learning" as for them "learning" is done in school and not at home. So, I don't really see it is that strange that the kid didn't do it.
    I know timewasters when they keep cancelling lessons... however, if I dropped students because they don't do their homework or they don't seem to take the subject seriously then I would be out of business...
    I think you need to hold on and give them a chance... after a few weeks see how it goes....
     
  9. Very good advice and i fully agree

    I would rather have more of these than those that keep talking and wont let you out of the house lol (or leave yours)
     

  10. I think you are missing a point here, is not that the student did not do the homework but that the the father was plainly rude and went off without paying. I understand we all have bad days, but this is no excuse for being disrespectful to your son's tutor.
     
  11. And yes, if I feel uncomfortable with a student or their parents for whatever reason I would rather stop tutoring them and take up a new student.
     
  12. With the homework assessment, I was disappointed he didn't do it and thought it made him look flaky. Apart from that though, his parents are paying me per session so you would think they would try to get every pennies worth of opportunity! A bit like if you were having a weekly driving lesson, you would try to practice driving in between the lessons as much as you could because of the expense. For me, taking on the expense of an £80 bill every month is a big deal!
    Incidentally, the Mum said the Dad was a barber and he turned up driving a taxi cab which does not add up, unless he does both.
    The bottom line is just my 'gut feeling' . As I said, I am new to tutoring and my other clients have all been 100% lovely and genuine. I don't know any other tutors to chat to about things like this. All replies appreciated so thanks:)
     
  13. Follow your gut, there will be plenty of other lovely and genuine students. I wouldn't want an extra headache every week, it's not worth it.
     
  14. Well I randomly had a boy whose mum would make me a cup of tea and bring me biscuits having shouted the boy from his room. The boy would then take up to 25 mins to appear, this is for an hours lesson! Of course I had to leave at the arranged time so his mum was paying me for nothing! I never really got to the bottom of what he was doing or why, he was always fine during the lessons. V v strange!
     
  15. Maybe the father has special needs of some sort. Mum might be trying to stop the cycle with son.
     

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