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Not having much success with private tutor

(17 Posts)
decisionsdecisions123 Sat 13-Feb-16 18:10:57

A few weeks ago I posted about a tutor I had recently found for my son (Year 11). We went along to the initial meeting full of hopes only to leave feeling like 'what the heck?!' and sitting throughout the meeting feeling like a naughty school child (and that was just me!) She made us feel quite on edge as she gave out her list of rules and expectations for a good 20 minutes and I wasn't overly keen but as she was a qualified teacher specialising int he same exam board and so on I felt it would be wise to continue. I couldn't see any other similar teachers advertising their tutoring services.

Anyway, my son went along for another session with her and said she was nicer that time. I didn't get any feedback from her and only received a text message about when the next tutoring session would be a couple of days after I sent her a message. He then went along for the next session to be told that she is moving , sorry about the mess, and that she would be in touch with me in a few weeks to rearrange lessons! She didn't call/text me to let me know that day so I sent a text the next day to ask her plans for tutoring. This was a week ago and I haven't heard back. I am really annoyed that I have spent almost £100 on her so far for 3 sessions which kind of feel like a waste of time as nothing is happening now. For al I know she is moving to a random location far away. After all her lecturing on the first visit I am surprised that she acts like this and doesn't feel it necessary to contact me to let me know what is going on. It isn't that long till exams and time is of the essence!

Is this what its like with private tutors? A bit hit and miss? I am now spending hours online trying to find another qualified teacher but without success.

Finola1step Sat 13-Feb-16 18:18:08

I'm a private tutor after many years as a primary school teacher. It does sound like you've had a bit of a bad experience. Your tutor really shouldn't be taking on a new tutee unless she is confident that she can see him or her through to the agreed end point/ goal/exam etc.

That said, what was your initial enquiry like? If it was a vague "can we try for a few weeks and see how it goes?" then commitment levels are low on both sides.

It sounds like she's got a lot going on right now. I would start looking for someone else. If you have signed a contract, what is your notice period?

decisionsdecisions123 Sat 13-Feb-16 19:15:29

No I made it clear that we were committed to it and really wanted to do it every week. it was actually her that said she will do a block of 4 lessons and review the situation and that if she felt he wasn't doing very well she would simply just stop the lessons. I found that a bit unhelpful but anyway. There wasn't a contract. I think she would have broken all the terms by now if we had one!

How can you just tell a student that you are moving and you'll be back in touch in a few weeks without feeling the need to tell the parent as soon as you know you are moving??

Finola1step Sun 14-Feb-16 11:02:36

She really should have been upfront about her house move and whether that might impact on her tutoring. It is not unusual for a tutor to have a trial period for a few weeks.

Overall, she really shouldn't be taking on a new tutee this close to GCSEs if she can't commit long term. It is just not fair. She is not doing you a "favour". You are paying her for a service. A service which you find lacking.

If you can't find anyone else nearby, have a look at online tuition.

catslife Sun 14-Feb-16 11:24:09

This sounds strange to me OP. It isn't unusual to have a few trial lessons before deciding whether to continue, but her statement about continuing after this (based on a feeling) sounds a bit vague to me. If she has a minimum level based on an assessment or test, then she should have been up front about it from the start e.g. " in the 4th lesson I will do a maths test and unless he gets grade ........ it's not worth continuing."
If you are travelling to a tutor's house then she should have said at the start that she was moving to (new area of city) and given a rough date when this move would take place. I sometimes do tutoring from my house and if this venue isn't available e.g. having building work done on my house, I give students plenty of notice or use another venue for lessons.
PS Is it half term where you are - this could be another reason why she has been slow to get back in touch?
BTW I don't think this situation is necessarily due to you (or your ds) doing anything incorrectly and I think looking for another tutor is the best policy.

decisionsdecisions123 Sun 14-Feb-16 13:12:10

Thanks all.

Yes, it is now half term but this all happened last weekend and really it would have taken her more than 5 minutes to send me a text to let me know what was happening. She was half packed up when he went round to her last Saturday so she must have at least known she was moving a few days before that (assuming it must be a last minute thing).

I just find it really odd that a qualified teacher working in a school with GCSE students would think it ok to take £100 pounds from someone for a couple of lessons then just say, 'sorry, I'm moving, not around for half term, will let your mum know what I'm doing after then', and expect to be taken seriously.

I am still on the hunt for a tutor. As for online tuition, I still cant quite get my head around how useful it would be.

BlueBelle123 Sun 14-Feb-16 14:36:32

Really sorry to hear about your experience OP, I think you have been very unlucky.

We have an on-line tutor for my DD for chemistry and despite both our reservations it has worked really well and you don't have any travelling! I wouldn't rule it out and you will have so many more tutors to choose from.

PettsWoodParadise Sun 14-Feb-16 17:49:53

It could just be moving stress. However does the tutor claim to have 100% success? I ask as you say if she felt he wasn't doing very well she would simply just stop the lessons - most that do this will pre-select their students and if they don't think they can achieve the levels they market may deign not to tutor which is completely their choice but certainly not always transparent, but may be the cornerstone of their business model. I am also not suggesting your DC can't meet those standards but it can be the tutor's judgement on a few lessons. To me it rings alarm bells about the tutor's professionalism so I understand why you are concerned.

Mondrian Mon 15-Feb-16 14:28:02

We have had hit & miss experiences with tutors. 1st one was good, very good but after one season she just went missing, no reply to emails, txt or phone calls (she approached us here on mumsnet). 2nd one wanted to meet at coffee shop and proceeded to have a full 3 course meal during the meeting, SO thought he was bonkers based on meeting, a very odd man. 3rd is the current tutor whom we are extremely pleased with and has been tutoring the girls since last summer. Like everything else in life 1st experience is not always the right one so keep looking till you find the right tutor.

decisionsdecisions123 Mon 15-Feb-16 20:57:45

Sorry Mondrian but I cant help laughing at your 3 course dinner experience!

I have been on lots of tutoring websites over the past few days and some of the fees people are asking for are crazy. Would you really pay £70 to £100 an hour to someone who wasn't even a teacher (or even was a teacher)? The best one was the founder of a tutoring agency (cant remember which one it was) offering lessons at a little over £400 an HOUR! He wasn't a qualified teacher either.

Luckily I have found what sounds to be a very nice qualified tutor but only time will tell!

As for tutors hand selecting tutees for 100% pass rate, how on earth would anyone know if this really was the case of not? A tutor could take on a child who achieves a G in the exam and no one would know about it. The tutor would simply not tell anyone and its not like the parent is going to broadcast it on TV so I don't see the point in 100% claims anyway unless I'm missing something.

Mondrian Tue 16-Feb-16 10:22:41

We paid 35/hr in London a couple of years ago in summer, but that was a block booking of 3 lessons/wk. Also paid 30/hr in Oxford area last summer for block booking of 40 hrs over a 6 week period .. both were teachers at "outstanding" schools. Think we got discounts based on block booking during "quite" summer hols. Both tutors were educating the kids by addressing weaknesses and not drilling them for the exam.

If anyone promises 100% pass rate then I would stay away as they have gone over to the dark side (commercial)!

decisionsdecisions123 Wed 17-Feb-16 13:43:47

That's a lot of tutoring for the summer holidays Mondrian!

Takeiteasymum Wed 17-Feb-16 18:00:35

I am paying £25 for an hour.

decisionsdecisions123 Wed 17-Feb-16 23:39:22

Is that for a qualified teacher Takeiteasy?

Mondrian Thu 18-Feb-16 04:43:56

Decisionsdecisions123 Ex-pats with girls in French system so playing catch up with KS2 in their summer holidays, got a result though as DD1 got into her/our first choice selective secondary.

decisionsdecisions123 Thu 18-Feb-16 12:14:20

Oh well done Mondrian!

Mondrian Thu 18-Feb-16 14:18:30

Actually its well done Mrs Mondrian who home schooled them over weekends/hols in KS2 & prepped her for exams (we used tutors to check progress & fill in the gaps) and miss 11 yr old Mondrian, I had very little to do with it (a few sessions of Maths), I am very proud of them.

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