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Tutoring advice please(6 Posts)
Hoping some fellow teachers can help me with a dilemma, last year I tutored a student for her GCSE. I have never tutored before in my career as I felt registering was more bother than it was worth but her mum was deputy head in my school and asked me if I could. I felt I should say yes so I began tutoring her and the student was very pleasant to work with.
This year the same girl wanted to continue tuition as she had chosen my subject for A Level and her friend also asked – so I now tutor the two of them. The problem is the original girl studies different unit options of my subject than what I have taught to date. It takes me a long time to prepare for her sessions and her mum always texts for feedback after – basically a lot of time out of the session either preparing or feeding back or marking extra work she has completed (which takes a while as I am unfamiliar). The other girl studies a unit I have taught many times and have abundant resources on so it quite easy to prep for and support. Her parents are happy to have a brief word in front of her at the end of the session to feedback.
After waking up at early this morning and spending 2 hours prepping / finding resources for tomorrow’s session before beginning work for my own classes I have decided enough if enough – the additional stress this is causing me is too much. I already feel exhausted by 11am on Sunday morning and my DD will be arriving back from DPs to a tired mum. However … her mum is quite an unapproachable leader who I don’t quite know how to tell I no longer want to tutor her daughter.
What would be the best approach here? How much notice should I give? I feel guilty letting the girl down but I think it is causing me anxiety. Any advice would be welcome! May be worth adding her mum is currently signed off with a medical problem so not easy to have a word with in work.
Personally, I'd wait until the girl's mother is back at work, so I could have a proper conversation. And, I suppose, I would want to give enough notice for her to make other arrangements. I would probably be cutting back after Easter because of family commitments.
Having that light at the end of the tunnel would probably get me through the next few weeks, but if you really don't want to continue, it'll probably have to be a phone call. I'd still want to give a couple of weeks notice.
Thanks for the advice Cynderella - I know I should and you are right but the thought of all this prep to Easter makes me feel so stressed. Her mum is signed off to half term at the minute but her friends at work seem to think it will be longer.
I don't know how to word what I want to say - basically it is too much work for one hour of tutoring and my school are unlikely to change exam board so I will never really use this work in my lessons? I like the idea of saying family commitments but I was going to keep the second girl on to the end of this year as I can easily prep for her and feel she needs the help/is a very borderline student. So the mum would question why I am not dropping both. The girl I want to drop is extremely bright - I honestly think she will be fine tutor or not.
Ah I know I should just keep it up to Easter but it just seems like a very long tunnel ..
I would be honest and send an email or text.
Saying sincere apologies for being unable to have the conversation in person but you wanted to let her know ASAP in order for her to make alternative arrangements. Say you are very sorry but you are simply not in a position to continue with the tutoring as you are really struggling to fit in the additional workload required for it and it is impacting family life. Explain that as the subject matter is not part of your current job it is requiring x hours of additional work outside the actual session. Say you really enjoy working with x and she is a very gifted student but you don't feel best placed anymore to offer the challenge required for her to excel and feel she would benefit from a tutor more familiar with the requirements for her particular exam board etc. So go with the flattery and someone else doing a better job angle.
not a teacher.
Why not say 'because X is doing modules I haven't taught I am finding I cannot adequately tutor her without extensive preparation. So after half term either we will need to stop or I will need to charge <5xcurrent price, or whatever> to cover my preparation time.'
or if you wouldn't be willing to continue whatever the price
'because X is doing modules I haven't taught I am finding I cannot adequately tutor her without extensive preparation, which unfortunately I don't feel I have the time for without it impacting my day job. So after half term either we will need to stop.'
I agree that some combination of "can't offer her what she needs without extra paid time" and "she is doing well without needing what I can offer" is probably the way to go.
Unless you can take advantage of her being bright to make it work with less effort on your part. What would actually make a difference to her results? Could you focus on exam technique / essay structure / revision strategies? Basically do things where you expect her to bring the content, but help her assess how she tackles questions or organises what she already knows.
A tutor doesn't have to do the same as a classroom teacher - I don't know if you've inadvertently fallen into that pattern?
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