Parents are becoming willingly complacent at organising tutorials. Reducing tutorials from 1 weekly, to 1 fortnightly in an attempt to reduce financial cost. I assume this is due to poorer than expected results from last semester, and the feeling that cost/benefit is low, devaluing tutorial time. I have in place set more at home tasks to be completed between tutorials. Since parents are making little effort to effectively teach, student is making no effort to complete tasks, and tutorial time has been reduced, I perceive that improvements will be difficult.
If you feel that a parent or student is becoming increasingly complacent with organising tuition sessions- it is time for a serious one on one conversation with the parents. The conversation should outline why there has been a reduction in lessons recently. If you have a hunch it’s due to low results recently, then maybe note some of the reasons why the student didn’t perform very well . Also don’t assume too much about their reasons – you never know what a family may be going through. Explain that reducing the frequency of the tuition sessions will only exacerbate the problem instead of resolving it. Reduced time with the tutor will just make the progress a lot slower, if not halt it altogether. Remember a professional attitude here when speaking to the parents can go a long way, because as much as they value money, they will value their child’s education more.
Parents have a tough job of weighting the benefits of quality tuition against the cost of it, and sometimes due to their financial circumstance, tuition will be slowed down or stopped. If a parent is considering slowing down tuition because they’re devaluing the service all they end up doing is making it a self-fulfilled prophecy. This is especially so when the child is becoming slack with completing homework tasks. Ensure the parents are aware that at the current rate, unless something is done, while they’re reducing the financial impact, they’re also minimizing the positive impact of the service.
Sometimes if parents are feeling apprehensive about the benefit of tuition, it can be a good opportunity to mention some of the key positives of our service and how it’s impacted the student. Mention any gaps you have minimised and any areas which you have improved the student upon. Explain how the student’s improved study skills will also help them to achieve their goals. Essentially we want to rationalise the perceived cost/benefit analysis so the parent realises that tuition is still a very worthy investment.
If the student is not completing the homework tasks on time, it would be a good opportunity to speak to the parents to outline the importance of completing homework tasks. Mention that without homework tasks being complete; it reduces the time efficiency of the tuition sessions, thus reducing effectiveness of tuition against the money spent on it. Most parents will like the idea of getting more ‘bang for their buck’ by having their son or daughter complete homework tasks. Lastly, speak to the student as well to mention all the benefits of tuition to the student, to help them to realise that tuition is important. Relate to your particular student about the benefits they’re likely to be engaged by the most. It may be a good idea to speak to the student before you speak to the parents so that you can relate the student’s version of the tutoring experience back to the parents.
Make sure that before you speak with the parents you have well thought out ideas about the progress of the tutoring or lack thereof. Also prepare some suggestions to the client to offer supportive approaches if they do in fact chose to decrease tuition. For example, suggest the student sees their school teach 1-2 times per week for a bit of extra help; or that perhaps the parents put in some effort to teach the student if they are able. Explain thoroughly why consistency and momentum is important to tutoring. Ensure you are speaking in the best interests of the student, you do not want to come across as if you are just trying to push the tutoring agenda for your own interests and be prepared to accept the client’s decison – you are having the conversation to advise them not insist on a particular course of action.