Overworked students

I’ve recently had a couple of students who are just generally being overworked. One parent asked me to give huge amounts of homework, when their child was struggling to even complete the smaller tasks I was setting, and was feeling very guilty about that (I told her that I wouldn’t and it hasn’t come up again). I have another, today, that was nearly falling asleep at the desk. I know he does clubs after school and other types of tuition too, and it is just too much for him. He gets to a Friday afternoon and he is exhausted. I asked him to write connotations of ‘child’ and he wrote ‘work’ and ‘pressure’. :frowning:
How do you deal with the situation? I have written in the feedback, and in the occasional email, about them being tired in lesson, but it generally gets ignored. Is anybody else finding this to be an issue?

2 Likes

I have lost students by trying to discuss issues like this with parents. However I feel we have a duty of care just as we would in a school classroom and I would not intentionally do anything to harm a child’s well-being.
I try to counter this by being really clear with parents about what my expectations and priorities are. I always do an initial lesson both to assess the students needs and to discuss with parents how we would proceed. I find this usually prevents such situations.

1 Like

Hi Heather - firstly I agree with Mrs P about duty of care, whether we are overbooked under booked, seeking more students it makes no difference we have a duty of care. Even though it might affect income I think we all have a responsibility to draw a line in the sand and make it clear to parents that we are not prepared to teach students who are overtired an stressed and that we will end tutoring with that family if this continues. My personal view would be one clear warning and then firmly but politely end tutoring with that family if this continues. I would probably also contact tutorful by email (as a record) explaining what you did and why. Thankfully issues of mental health seem a lot easier to raise, discuss and have accepted than it was a few years ago . Put simply let your inner voice guide you and do ‘the right thing’ remembering always that that is not always the easiest thing to do. My view is mine alone but I taught for 25 years in the secondary sector and whenever a students came to see me my first question was always ‘how are you?’ Paul the History Ambassador

3 Likes

Yes, I completely agree.
I’m not worried about my income (I am overbooked, if anything), but I do worry that the parents will just find another tutor who will do it (although thinking about it, I shouldn’t put that ‘what if’ on my shoulders). I tend to just reduce homework and adapt the lesson to shorter and more ‘game like’ tasks if possible. I also make it clear that I will not be increasing the homework etc.
I guess I shouldn’t worry about what might potentially happen and focus on what is happening. I only have one where it is a regular and pointed issue, the other is a bit hit and miss.
I will send a firm email next time it happens and make it clear that we won’t proceed with tuition for the best interests of the student if it happens again. I think I just need to toughen up with it!

1 Like

Yes, I tend to do this too, but some have slipped through! I will have a chat with the parents and make it clear that I won’t continue tuition if I feel it isn’t in the best interests of the student.

2 Likes

Lovely to hear this from somebody else. I still work in schools and I think one of the dangers of online teaching is that you can become detached from safeguarding issues.
Just a thought but my university do what are called Badged Courses that show up on our records. For example I have one for research ethics. Could tutorful do the same? A safeguarding course that would show as completed on our profiles?

1 Like

I think the idea of a refresher safegarding course is an excellent idea - lets put this to Tutorful

2 Likes

This is an important issue. I tend to work with older students, and, especially around exams, they can become rather tired! I usually have a chat with them about managing workload, and follow up with parents so that they are aware of any issues. With older students, who are more ‘in control’ of their learning, I tend to find it works itself out as the student learns how to manage A-level / GCSE workload. But, if the child / young person seems to be under too much strain and seems not to be coping I think it’s important to flag this - my first port of call would be to contact Tutorful for advice, and, as others say, make it clear that you will need to stop sessions if you feel it’s too much for the young person. Of course, every child is different - I have some very busy students, but they seem to be happy and on top if their workload. Trust your instinct - if something doesn’t feel right, ask for help - I’ve rung Tutorful for advice in the past and always found them very helpful.

2 Likes

I love this idea! I would know exactly what to do in a school setting, but out on my own (I’m full time self employed as a tutor) it can be a bit trickier to handle! A safeguarding course would be brilliant, and showing it on the profiles would be great for parents to see too. I’m all for it! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

1 Like

I’ll send a message in what i think is the right direction,

1 Like

As long as it’s not compulsory because I work for an agency that provides a yearly update and I’ve just completed a level 2 safeguarding lead course.

2 Likes