A parent is unhappy with the progress of her child. This reaction came about after her child got a series of questions wrong with completing problem outside of the tutoring sessions. These problems covered material and concepts that have not been covered in the tutoring sessions that the student is unfamiliar with. The material and concepts have now been covered and the student understands how to approach the problems. And the only reason the student could not answer the questions correctly was that the material was new yet it still received a quite negative response from the parent. How should I proceed? To ensure the parent that the tutoring sessions are working and the issue of the parents response to her child getting math problems wrong, on unfamiliar material, that has not been covered?
The main ways to combat this problem is to:
Speak to the parent as soon as possible about:
- The expected time before good results for the student are likely
- The expectations they have in general – the student cannot know 100% of their curriculum whenever prompted, that kind of general knowledge requires specific preparation.
- How successful tuition may involve reviewing previous concepts before moving forward
- Setting objectives and goals for the student to show the positive impact of the tuition
- How you plan to maintain an open line of communication about how each lesson is going and the progress being made
When a parent isn’t happy with the progress made with the child it could be due to many different factors. Parents might form expectations that results will be achieved in a much shorter time frame than what is likely, and therefore become upset when the results aren’t achieved. It is highly necessary to speak to the parent about the student’s situation and how long it may take until they can see some large improvements in certain areas. Communication with the parent will go a long way with maintaining a good relationship and ensuring they’re not disappointed.
Achieving good results will take time. Depending on how the student is currently going in school, it could take a month or several months. Ensure that the parent understands that good and thorough understanding with permanent improvements takes time.
Effective teaching involves prioritising which areas to focus on, and usually it is a good idea to teach the mathematics from the ground-up. This is done by dealing with the basics in the topic area before teaching the more advanced material. This method helps the student to recognise all the elements necessary to solve some of the harder problems in this area, and gives them a chance to understand the concepts again. You need to explain to a parent that this is the method you’re going to take as it will see a permanent improvement to attitudes and grades, however it will take time.
Planning some objectives and goals you wish to achieve with your student throughout the tuition is a great way for both the student and parent to see the effect of the tuition. This is a good way to organise the lessons to ensure time isn’t wasted and it also helps to shape the parent’s perspective on the time required for high quality tuition.
Finally, you will want to keep an open line of communication with the parent, this can be from speaking to the parent quickly before or after a class in person, or through a text or quick phone call. This shows that you really care about the work involved and also helps the parent to understand how the tuition progress works. With open communication, the chance of disappointment through unfounded expectations is minimised.