Why won't you tutor my son/daughter?
It's not that I won't tutor your child. I tutor anyone who wants to be tutored. My only requirement is that the student makes an effort to learn - any effort is enough.
But sometimes I sit with a student who is not interested in learning the material. They're looking for a magic bullet that will allow them to understand without putting forth effort.
That simply doesn't exist and when I repeatedly sit with a student who doesn't have questions and repeatedly makes the same mistakes from tutoring session to tutoring session there
comes a time when I don't think it makes sense to continue tutoring the student. Honestly, it turns into a waste of my time and the student's money. I know from a business perspective
it's silly for me to not tutor somebody's child. They're willing to pay. But I think I can spend that time with another student who both needs my help and will make an earnest effort
to learn. Plus I find it very unpleasant to reflect back on a tutoring session knowing the student isn't making progress due to their lack of motivation and effort.
I've chosen to be a tutor not just to make money but to help people. If the student is not receptive to my help, it hardly makes sense to continue with that student.
I never cease tutoring a student without explanation and sometimes I can be strict with students. I do this with in an encouraging way. I attempt to appeal to their sense of reason
letting them know I'm here to help. I Tell them we're a team and our goal is for them to attain understanding. I ask them what they want and tell them there's no substitute for
practice. I always communicate with both the student and the parents before I decide to stop tutoring any student. I don't think it's ever a surprise when I tell them I'm no longer
available - they know the reasons why. I do think it's a surprise to them that they are willing to pay and I don't want to continue. This situation is uncomfortable and sad - but I
need to be true to myself and to them. I want to deliver value (earn the money) - if I'm unable to do that than why am I tutoring this student?
I also have students who seriously struggle with the material they're studying. And some of these students try very hard. It's apparent when I sit with them that they're trying and
studying on their own. I continue to tutor these students without reservation. I want them to be successful and they want to succeed. There's nothing more gratifying to me than
seeing a student succeed and knowing I am at least partially responsible. But the student really deserves all the credit. They are the one who kept their nose to the grindstone and
relentlessly pursued understanding.
I'm serious when I say the best compliment a tutor can get is the student saying "I don't need you anymore". This happened with one of my Trigonometry students. After seeing the
daughter for several weeks in a row they started canceling the weekly appointment (with sufficient notice) for 2 or 3 weeks in a row. Finally, I spoke with the mother and she said
her daughter feels really bad about canceling week after week. I told her it's OK and that I'm glad her daughter no longer needs help. They never actually said "I don't need you
anymore" but the message was clear. To me that was success! Of course it's also a bit of a downer for me to lose a student who is motivated and willing to do what it takes to
understand and be successful.
On to the next student!