One student’s teacher is a little uncooperative. At my bidding my student requested mathematics homework from school, since the teacher was not giving the students any maths homework. Instead of giving the student extra work for the topics they were covering the teacher gave her homework of topics they had not yet covered in school. The teacher also seemed a little unwilling to give my student one on one time to answer her questions. How should I correctly advise my student to handle this situation?
This sounds like a very disappointing scenario; tutoring a proactive student who is being somewhat discouraged for seeking to improve their academic position. In dealing with this situation you need to be mindful of a few main elements
- Ensure the student’s proactive attitude is not affected by any perceived negativity or lack of support from the teacher. The student’s willingness to seek extra help and homework from the teacher is a fantastic indication and a huge asset which is to be protected.
- The student does need practice work to do at home. One way or another you will need to find a way to make this happen.
- However the situation is handled, you must make sure to not inadvertently damage the student’s relationship with the school teacher. The teacher is a valuable asset even if they are not being completely co-operative.
Firstly you should find out from the student exactly what happened with the teacher. When the student asked for extra help answering questions what happened exactly? Are you sure the problem was not that the student had not brought specific questions and the teacher may have perceived the student as unprepared? Either way, the student can improve without one-on-one time with their teacher but they cannot improve without homework. Look through the student’s previous workbook to make sure 100% whether or not the teacher was really giving irrelevant work for the student to do. Sometimes students forget what work they have done in the past. If the teacher did give irrelevant homework you may ask the student to ask their teacher once more for homework and be specific about what homework they want – relevant to the current school topic.
Even if the student gets some relevant homework, looking forward you are likely to have a problem. The school topic will keep changing and the student is likely to feel discouraged if they continuously have to ask an unsupportive teacher for extra work. A more suitable long term solution in this situation would be to organise another textbook/workbook for the student. This way whatever work the student is doing at school, you will have your own resource for setting relevant homework. Ezy Math has a range of digital resources available in the tutor admin section but it is best to organise for a hard copy of some textbook/workbook. You may want to explain the situation to the parents and see if they would be willing to purchase a textbook from Dymocks or other book store. It may also be a good opportunity to praise the student for their proactivity and gently inform the parents about the unsupportive school teacher.