Dealing with tutees who are less than angelic creatures

Those who have taught long enough will very likely have encountered students who are angels on the one hand, and those who refuse to play ball on the other. While not exactly devils, they do succeed in driving you up the wall at times with their not quite impeccable behaviour and learning attitudes. Last minute changes to lesson timings, unwillingness to complete homework assigned to them et cetera et cetera.......just makes you go all "@#$%^&*!!!!!" . But a composed and professional tutor will not resort to physical violence or screaming the most unrefined of expletives in the presence of his/her tutee(s), because they only serve to fan the flames. Instead, there are far more elegant methods of resolution which you can consider employing to show who's in charge. Here goes:

Situation A: 10 minutes prior to lesson commencement, your tutee suddenly "falls ill" and wishes to cancel the lesson.

Even superman takes longer than 600 seconds to be fell by kryptonite, and it is obviously an attempt to skip tuition altogether. What should you do?

Text him/her : "I am on my way."

Better yet: " I have already arrived at your flat."

That will almost definitely catch him/her off guard. Ring the doorbell and he/she is left with little choice but to perform the usual open sesame.

What happens if he/she consistently uses this ploy?

Tell this to his/her face: " This is bad. I MUST inform your parents about your poor health of late and work something out. Have you go through a battery of tests to find out what's wrong with your body."

You will be amazed at how quickly he/she starts feeling like a thousand bucks again. Problem solved.

Situation B: Your tutee practically needs to amend his/her allotted lesson timing every week.

Sit tight and take a deep breath, there's no need to pull your hair out. Inform him/her coolly: " Kindly understand this is highly unacceptable. It not only inconveniences me, it has also upset a few of my other affected students considerably when I have to consistently rearrange my teaching schedule around you."

What if this happens again?

Issue a sterner threat: " I shall have to start imposing fee penalties for your frequent changes." How much extra of a surcharge? Your call. Be sensible though.


Let him/her know: " I shall relegate you to the bottom of my list of priorities. What does this mean? This means I will only conduct a lesson with you in any given week after I have coached all my other students, and that's provided our availabilities coincide for that particular week."

Situation C: Your tutee just refuses to complete the work you have tasked him/her time and again.

Nope, no tearing into him/her with intense accusations of laziness and disobedience.

Counsel your tutee with a little loving advice: " If you'd like me to continue treating you as a young adult, then you have to grow some proper sense and start showing respect for your parents, me and most importantly yourself. You not doing your homework as told is not only an absolute waste of time, but also a terrible way to throw hard earned money down the drain. Your parents will not be very pleased to know you have not taken these classes all too seriously. I implore you to sober up, before it becomes all too late. I have come across lazy students who have teared regrettably over the messy consequences of their stubborn inaction, and I sincerely do not want that happening to you."

Situation D: Your tutee doesn't feel like having lesson today.

Well that happens on occasion. Encourage him/her not to lose sight of the crucial goal ahead, and inject a little cheer into things (it can't harm much anyways) : " Hey there, the exams are just round the corner, and we still have quite a fair bit of the syllabus to cover. It's good to at least maintain the learning momentum yes? When I stop by for lesson later, I shall proceed a little slower and liven up the session as best I can. We will survive this together, I promise."

It goes without saying, ensure you make good on your promise.

God made everyone cool - yourself included. So act like it, and do your bit in creating a more tolerable learning environment right here in the little red dot. Good luck!