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I have a new tutee who I have very mixed feelings about and I want to check with some other teachers that I'm not over reacting.
I've only seen him twice so far. He's polite in that he says everything with a smile but some of the things he's said are just bizarre.
-that he didn't see how I could justify working in a boarding school when it's documented that girls who board suffer psychological problems. -that it's a pain the small mark on his arm looks so much like a cigarette burn when three pupils have been expelled from his school for smoking this term. -that the marks on his arm came from someone using a butter knife on him. (Both of these he showed me in a very obvious way; I didn't ask. I did mention them to his mother.) -he is constantly telling me that his teacher for the subject I tutor him for is crap, that she makes them mark their own work (in a totally justified getting to know the mark scheme kind of way as far as I can see), that he's had to teach himself the subject, that she doesn't know what she's talking about. (I've seen work she's set and marked and it all looks great.) -that he's reading books aimed at 'professors'-he got very defensive when I pointed out that the titles he mentioned aren't quite that academic. (I said it nicely but I was getting fed up with the showing off.) -that some notes he had done were so good his teacher had photocopied them and given them to the class and put them on the school website. I saw them and asked gently whether they were definitely his own work. He said yes. I said that they did look a lot like notes available from an online student resource and he looked me straight in the eye and told me that while he had read various things online and used them to help him, they were definitely his own work. I know, 100%, they are not. I have googled.
If he were a child at my school I'd go to his tutor/housemaster as I feel there's clearly attention seeking behaviour going on. As it is, however, I don't know him or his parents well enough to know how to proceed. He makes me feel very uncomfortable, he's very critical of teachers, he lies outright. I'm tempted to tell the above to his mother and say I don't want to tutor him anymore, but I'm worried he's in need of pastoral care for whatever reason and I don't want to abandon him. Am I over thinking it? Should I just stop tutoring him? Or am I overreacting to his behaviour?
I think he bothers me because I'm worried that the burn, cuts, showing off and lying might add up to a serious problem, and it's different dealing with that in my own home than in school. He's not my first tutee but he's the first to present with issues like this.
maybe contact his school with the starting point being what knowledge and understanding gaps they think he has/boards his exams are etc etc. and see if anything they say sheds light on it. Obviously they will need to maintain a level of confidentiality but if you get parents' permission to talk to them first (parents might not want school knowing he is tutored) they might speak to you as one professional to another and you might get some idea if this is a behaviour pattern they are familiar with etc. Do get parents permission first though and perhaps it is useful if they tell the school you are going to contact them as the school/tutor relationship needs careful handling often!
I actually spoke to his mum today and said I was worried about the marks on his arm and the fact that he had lied to me about something so important-I asked if maybe there was something going on at school and she filled me in a bit. I think he's just a troubled soul. I feel better for knowing a bit more about it so hopefully we'll be fine...