Urgent help/advise please

Hello everyone,

I need some urgent help/advice please. I’m actually quite shaken up because a parent did not speak to me in a polite manner and I have never experienced this. I am typing this in a rush so please excuse any errors.

I have been tutoring a Year 2 child for a couple of months now in Maths and English. The parent provided me with some school work such as; spellings, targets etc. I have always planned to work on those in the lessons, given her mum feedback and then planned for the next lesson to progress.
I give feedback and also send any homework that needs to be completed but the mum has been saying she is not well and therefore hasn’t been able to work with her.

Just some background on the child (we will call child X)- has had two tutors in the past, can be challenging at times in the lesson, moans etc when asked to answer a question. She doesn’t like getting an answer wrong so would say ’ no you tell me ’ when asked to say what she wrote. So you can imagine how challenging she can be in the lesson where the mum has paid for it. Child X can also show some negative behaviour which I made mum aware of at the start. When I started tutoring her at the start, I had many new parents so the timings were all over the place. So for 1-2 weeks I had to change Child X’s time. Mum was very adamant that we stick to one time and I explained it was due to new parents but we will have a regular time from week 3 for example. Since then all has been fine…

At the start- we tried 1 hour which was not working for her (you can imagine with the challenging behaviour how it could have been). I then explained to mum that 1 hour is too long as she gets tired- so we reduced to 45 minutes. I have been finishing lessons 1 minute before because I find I need to log into the next lesson as the next parent would complain why I’m not on time. Some understand where as some don’t. I have never had any issues with other parents. Just this one.

Some more background info, Child X’s mum wanted a 3 page report from me to which I said I will send you a short report during the Easter holidays- I am a full time teacher and I give her feedback often so a short report sounds reasonable to me and she agreed to it.

Our lesson was at 12:30pm today, I logged in at 12:30pm and waited for approx 6 mins then sent her a message (she’s normally on time). She called me and said, we are in the lesson too, we will log in again. I said I still cannot see you (It probably makes no difference but I always take pictures of my screen that I am inside the classroom). She then said she wants to talk to me in the lesson. I offered to send a zoom link as the lesson time was running out, she didn’t sound happy about it but it had to be done. So whilst she was trying to log in she left me on the phone unfortunately and said to her husband “the lessons are only happening for the money, she is saying she is logged in” . As a tutor who works incredibly hard and also a qualified teach- I WAS hurt by this. I kept saying, “Hello have you logged in?” but she hung up by then. 20 minutes or so minutes into the lesson she logs in to zoom and she did not speak to me in a polite manner. She was blaming me for her classroom not showing or thinking I’m lieing because I just want the money. She has said she is a business woman and knows how to run a business, I give no feedback, I rush lessons and just want money. I replied to this by saying I’m very sorry but I would like to disagree with what you have said, I am a qualified teacher and there is a reason why parents enjoy my lessons, I give you feedback and have done so since the beginning. She shut me down completely and said she does not want to talk about this matter, literally did not give me a chance to speak if I’m honest and then at the end I said ’ I wish you the best of luck’.

I have always come across supportive parents who understand situation, however I have been taken back by this particular parent. If I charge her for this lesson, she will think I just wanted money. Where as she is the one who was talking to me for 5 minutes then decided to end the lesson.

I’m so worried now, I don’t know what she can do, what if she complains to Tutorful? I have never had a complaint from a parent and they are always supportive. I give extra time when I can if parents are late. She said she will not write a negative review (she always wrote a positive one couple weeks ago) I’m just very concerned if she complains to Tutorful.

Any thoughts will be appreciated please.

Kind regards,
Qurat

Hi Qurat,

I am sorry to hear about your experience. I’ve not had anything as bad as that before, but I do have some pointers/advice.

  1. When the parent said that they were logged into the classroom, did you try leaving and re-entering the classroom as well? I no longer use the Tutorful classroom; instead I use LearnCube, but back when I did used to do lessons in the classroom I have noticed before that sometimes you have to refresh or even completely log out and in again to get it to work. I have had incidents where I was in the classroom, the student said they were in the classroom but both of us appeared to be the only person present in their (respective) classroom. Completely logging out and back in always rectified this for me or for the student. Alternatively, you could cancel that current lesson and rebook as a new session. The only drawback here is that the lesson start time must be at least 5 mins later than the time you try to make the booking, otherwise the system will not authorise the booking.

  2. If you’re really worried about this I would write to Tutorful and let them know directly.

  3. I wouldn’t charge for this. It’s unfortunate, but it’s not really fair on the parent to charge them for a lesson they weren’t able to have through no fault of their own. It’s not fair on you either, so you could ask Tutorful to pay you or you charge for the lesson as normal but ask Tutorful to reimburse the parent. I had a case similar to this where technical problems with the classroom itself prevented a lesson from taking place (major glitches, etc.). Since it wasn’t down to problems my end or the student’s, Tutorful did agree to pay me after they had liaised with the parent and myself and confirmed to their satisfaction that the classroom was at fault.

  4. Were those other tutors who left child-x also with Tutorful? Do you know why they stopped the tuition? Depending on why those tutors left, the fact the parent has tried multiple tutors could be a red flag.

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Hi, thank you so much for your response.

  1. I don’t remember now to be fair, normally I leave the classroom and come back in multiple times. However, I have experienced what you are saying. To resolve this I just offer a zoom link and parents are normally fine with it. This parent told me she does not want any further lessons and somehow thinks I had something to do with not seeing her online. When I asked why she would like to end the lessons, she said ‘do you honestly want to know? I’ll be honest with you, you rush and it’s just for the money’.

  2. I have emailed Tutorful -but again, just worried as you work so hard to build your platform and I feel at risk because of this situation? If I make sense?

  3. I have refunded the money and don’t even want a reimburse the way I was spoken to.

  4. From what I was told, yes, the previous two tutors were also from Tutorful. Mum said the first tutor was not challenging enough, second tutor- lessons stopped for some reason. But the way she abruptly ended future lessons with me, it seems like she probably ended the lessons with them.

It’s like she didn’t like me? Or she’s not well so took it out on me?

Really sorry to hear the negative experience you’ve had. Sometimes, the Tutorful classroom glitches and you are in completely different classrooms…no-one’s fault (except arguably Tutorful’s, but no one person to blame). If it happens again, refresh or move onto a different platform.

Honestly, she sounds horrible. She reminds me of a parent I had that I tutored in English. She got a 9 in English, which I was delighted about, but when I told her to say well done to the student, she told me I was basically a horrible person because I didn’t care about her 6 in Art. Student aced exams but was crying because of her 6 - ridiculous. I really wanted to tear her a strip and tell her she was a horrible person not focusing on her daughter’s real achievements, but it would have been so unprofessional, so I just said ‘I care a lot about your daughter. Good luck in the future’ and blocked her so I would never hear from her again.

Regarding the logging on, this might not work for you, but I always leave fifteen minutes between lessons. This way everyone gets their full hour, and I’m not keeping someone waiting, plus there’s wriggle room if someone is late.

I agree with Lewis; don’t charge but absolutely make sure you are paid because you shouldn’t be out of money because of a mistake!

Saying you’re obsessed with money is ridiculous; we all need to make a living! Sounds like she’s just making excuses.

You did not deserve her vitriol. You were not in the wrong at all. You frankly do not need people like that in your life who do not appreciate you when there are several students out there waiting who WILL appreciate you.

You’re better than that and you did nothing wrong, so please don’t panic. :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your response Katy and sorry to hear about your experience.
Not once did the parent approach me via message and talk about any issues she had. Why couldn’t she message me beforehand and talk about this instead of todays lesson?.

15 minutes strategies makes sense, however I have alot of children who do 30 mins and if I leave 15 mins between each lesson then the whole Tutorful timetable/availability gets ruined. I have tried it before and unfortunately it doesn’t work for me. But I appreciate your advise on this.

She said it straight to me - I think it’s all about money. I do not want to talk about this, we will have no more lessons. I just replied with, I wish you the best of luck. I was the third tutor for her daughter, I’m sure Tutorful would have some sort of log of how many tutors parents have? She clearly had no issue with my teaching- not sure what happened then but this is no way to talk to tutors.

I have emailed Tutorful the incident above and just waiting for their response really. Not sure what their responses are in these situations. I gave a refund but I felt as if someone just demolished my hard work with an excuse of me trying to make money.

Thank you so much, I’m trying not to panic and the posts from yourself and Lewis have made me feel much better! Thank goodness for this Tutorful community.

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Sometimes, people don’t understand. The very first person I ever dealt with on Tutorful wouldn’t book in a lesson officially but still wanted a lesson. I told her I couldn’t without confirmation of payment (also, I couldn’t take cash) and she accused me of being money obsessed. Well yes, I want to make sure I’m paid for my time!

I’m sorry to say, there are lots of horrible parents out there - it frightens me, honestly! Best thing is to move on. I was FURIOUS with my parent (I called her NP - Nightmare Parent - though obviously not to her face!) but I knew constantly I was in the right, and if she couldn’t see that screw her and it’s her loss - best move on to someone who values me. I’m incredibly lucky that my parents are really lovely people right now :slight_smile:

I completely agree with you- not everyone understands. Some parents are not polite at all.
I guess I was happy shes gone but what she said and the manner wasn’t nice.

Thank you so much for your kind words Katy.

I am very lucky and grateful to have lovely supportive parents. I have an odd weird one who wants to cancel last minute because her daughter is ‘relaxing’, but I told her you have messaged me 15 mins before the lesson starts. Terrible.

I will update once Tutorful gets back to me

If she continues to cancel 15 minutes before lessons, charge her. We’re running a business here. Some people don’t realise that.

I hope Tutorful will be supportive. They are usually incredibly understanding.

She didnt cancel because I told her she will be charged as its a last minute cancellation.

She then said I’m not wasting money for nothing so I will bring my daughter lol.

I’m actually very happy to see there are more tutors like yourselves who charge parents too.

Well…actually I’m a little bit of a hypocrite here because I don’t charge as often as I should! I think I really need to sort out a proper cancellation policy.
However…don’t turn up to lesson with no notice (happens more than I like to admit) it’s an instant full charge.

I never used to either!
But then I noticed they rearrange their lesson to another day and then cancel it so they don’t get charged.

So I started charging every parent even if they wanted to rearrange. Now I say, any cancellation on the day will be charge unfortunately as I can’t give anyone the slot and I have planned the lesson already.

Hey, I’m just jumping in on this!
I had a parent who had a kid working at a low level with creative writing. I managed to get him to a point where he had jumped several levels in a couple of weeks, and he worked so hard, and his mum still wasn’t happy because he wasn’t independent yet. Turned out she had been sitting with him while doing his homework and going on at him if he wasn’t good enough. I was very explicit, several times, that she had to stop doing this, and she didn’t. She emailed me a few times concerned with his progress. I always replied with explanations and evidence showing his progress and telling her she could get another tutor if she wasn’t happy.
They eventually cancelled lessons, but I was so frustrated that she couldn’t see how much he had improved, and how hard we had worked.
Some parents you absolutelt just can’t please.
I have found that ever student I’ve had who has had previous tutors tends to be a pain in some way. I’ve just stopped accepting them, to be honest. I know it’s harsh, but it’s just not worth the bother.

Also - I absolutely am doing this for the money. What the hell else would I be doing it for?! The desk work isn’t exactly great for my health. Don’t be ashamed to say that. People think working in education is basically charity work, and it absolutely isn’t.

I also charge for last minute cancellations, unless they are a long term student and rare, or a very good excuse.

I’m sorry you had such a negative experience. People can be horrible sometimes, but thays no reflection on you. I bet the previous 2 teachers have very similar stories xx

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I’ve read most of the thread here and some great advice as always.

On a more emotional level , try to learn from it and move on , reflect on the bits you can control , check your methods, quality of lessons etc then just don’t worry about the rest. You will always get people on here who do not see things as you do and really I would argue they are probably not right for the tutoring experience.

I think a bit of humour can help if possible, I have a student who is starting to be late for lessons and blaming on the tech, you have to ask yourself what is going on for them, he is a very long standing student and is now in year 6, a horrid age!

Good luck!

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Hi Kitty,

Thank you for your message and I appreciate your advice.

I understand every parent is different but I guess it’s just what this particular parent said and their tone especially.

Definitely felt better since hearing from tutors on here and I’m happy I don’t have to teach that child to he honest. That opportunity will now go to another child.

Thank you :relaxed:

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I get it. That stuff lingers with me too. Just remember you’re not alone in experiencing it! It happens across all jobs too. I used to work and M and S and I had some really awful encounters that had me leaving the shop floor sobbing. I’ve had parents, as a teacher and a tutor, that have also left me in a state because of how they have treated me.
Just try to remember that its a reflection on them, not you. xx

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I’m truly sorry to hear you have has such a negative experience. Please don’t worry about the mother reporting you to Tutorful. I’m sure they will fully understand and empathise with your predicament. Unfortunately, it is an occupational hazard for tutors/teachers, having to deal with difficult parents. I diagnose learning disabilities in children, such as ASD, Dyslexia etc and have to inform parents that their children are on the autistic spectrum or dyslexic and advise them to get it confirmed by their GP. It sounds to me that child x may be ADHD and that perhaps the mother can’t cope with it and is taking it out on you. You have been very patient and tolerant, which is commendable, so you should be proud of yourself for that. As you can see from what the others have said, they have had similar experiences, so follow their advice. You don’t have to feel bad about the ridiculous accusation about the money. She’s just trying to make you feel guilty because she’s realised you are a reasonable person with a good heart. Don’t let negative people drag you down to their level. Challenge negativity as something you can change into something positive. You have done nothing wrong, so there is no need to feel bad other than an unpleasant person trying to hurt you.

Thank you for your message Rocki.

I did think the mum was stressed because of something as she is very hard to approach, but I guess she can deal with it now lol.

Thank you for your kind words on this.

Qurat, thanks for sharing. I agree with what’s been said in the notes above. Just lending my support

The way the parent spoke to you was unacceptable and you’re entitled to feel wronged. She knows apparently how to run a business? How to speak to people? I doubt it. People who speak to suppliers and partners that way give off the same attitude to their customers even if they think they’re being clever and concealing it.

But if you still have a bad feeling in your gut, your head, wherever, from what this person said, I wish you well that it goes away. It will. You can help this along. Whatever you do to chill like meditation, kick-boxing or a pub crawl, go do! And when’s the last time you had a few days off somewhere different and sunny?

Best wishes Mohan

This is a situation you should withdraw from with immediate effect. The Mother sounds toxic and seems fully capable of rubbishing your name across the net. The child seems pretty hopeless too. What you must avoid doing is waste your time and energy in endlessly propping up a bad situation. Your professional skills are best deployed elsewhere. Inform Tutorful of what happened and than pull out.

Hi Richard,

Thank you for your response.

I think I find it hard to just drop out? If I say, my circumstances have changed, the parent might get worked up about it. I have a parent at the moment who does not communicate well and is also taking advantage of not being in lessons then finding an excuse so he doesn’t pay. Now he has told me his children are changing schools so he does not know what will happen to our lessons (he’s not sure if the timing will change or if he will have lessons).