There are a great many number of students you will meet during your career. With these students, you’ll be able to interact with different kinds of needs, personalities, and behaviors. As a home tutor, you’ll also be meeting different situational struggles which you can use to gain experience from to make your tutoring better and improve your credentials. Because a tutor can meet many kinds of students, there will also be instances wherein they meet with different kinds of issues in learning, some of which includes student’s lack of motivation, low self-esteem or possibly learning disabilities. However, it wouldn’t just be students tutors will be dealing with. Aside from that, tutors also have to spend a large chunk of their time dealing with and interacting with the student’s parent.
More often, parents are the ones who hire tutors for their child. This gives the impression of them being the “employers” of these tutors even though tuition is given to the student. Dealing with parents is an essential part of your job as a home tutor. And as such, it’s inevitable to also meet different kinds of parents. In our previous article, we tackled about the different kinds of difficult parents. The article mentioned the term “helicopter parents”. If you are a home tutor with lots of experience, we’re sure you’re familiar with the term.
There can be some parents that let the tutor do their magic on the child and doesn’t interfere with the tuition. There can also be parents who doesn’t involve themselves in the child’s progress. And then, there are parents who are overly involved in their child’s progress to the point where they want to know everything that is going on with the tuition. These are called helicopter parents because they constantly hover over the child like a helicopter.
Now that you know what helicopter parents are and how it might be inevitable for you to meet them at some point in your career, let’s now delve deeper on the ways you can deal with the effectively.
Like everyone else, these kinds of parents have something that propels them into doing what they do. More often, helicopter parents are motivated by their need to stay control over everything and, unfortunately, that also includes their child’s education.
These parents want to be involved in anything their child does or participates in because they believe it can be a great way to show their love for them. While this can be a good thing, everything should be done in moderation. Too much focus on the child, especially in their academics, causes stress build-up on the child and they may be pressured to a point they cannot handle. Sometimes these parents may not also be aware that they are putting too much pressure on their child that it becomes a problem.
Tutors must remember that this can also be counterproductive for tuition. The parents may hire a tutor for their struggling child only to contribute to the problem and cause more stress to the child that they cannot perform well in their lessons. However, also remember that these parents may be just holding on to their principles and beliefs very seriously. They believe that by being involved, they are showing their support and love. They wish to give everything to their children in order for the child to succeed in life.
But as stated before, too much of everything can become a bad thing.
Because they are their parents, children will hesitate more to tell their parents about their opinions about their behavior. Some children will be too scared to tell their parents and worry about their reaction or if their parents will put more pressure on them because of them voicing out their opinions. Some children will not even tell their parents because they have gotten used to it and have already thought it normal or just “how they are”.
However, since a tutor has the outsider’s perspective, they be able to tell when the parent falls under the helicopter category. As such, parents may also listen to your position about them being too involved in their child’s life. You can help them understand that while their intentions may be good, they can also limit their child and not allow them to experience possible mistakes or failures, and as such would lower their chances to effectively cope with those when time comes. They can also hinder the child’s adaptive abilities to whatever may come their way in the future. You can also iterate that because of the pressure out on them, these children can be prone to stress and anxiety which can result in them ruining their emotional and social growth and self-confidence.
When speaking to parents about the effects of their hovering, don’t directly accuse them of being helicopter parents. While they can actually be one, no one wants to be told they are being too much. As such, these parents can also get defensive when they are accused of this.
Parents want the best for their children but their actions should also be moderated. Tutors should speak calmly but also firmly as to how they can affect their child with their actions. They can also give suggestions how they can stay involved without it being too much. It’s also vital that they understand that too much stress and pressure on the child can defeat the whole purpose of tuition and may even cause more problems for the child if continued as is.
This has been stated multiple times in our articles. Before a tutor can commit themselves to teaching a student, they should sit down with the parents and discuss the terms and expectations of how the tuition will be carried out. During this time, you can also set up schedules for the progress reports so parents will know how their child is improving.
This can help the parents reduce their impulse to constantly contact the tutor about their child’s progress. Because the terms are discussed and expectations are set, parents will also be assured that the tutor knows what they are doing and the child is in safe hands with someone who is qualified and experienced.
It can also help that the tutor be open to also discuss parents concern when giving progress reports. During this, tutors can also reassure the parent that they will be able to help the child and they are doing it according to their initial plan.
While tutors are expected to be flexible and convenient, they shouldn’t be treated like they are available 24/7. As a tutor, you will be handling many students. Your schedule can be packed with different session designated during the day.
Helicopter parents may not think about their constant messaging and asking of your schedule. Because of this, they may contact you whenever they please and it can get overwhelming at times. When making your schedule, you can include a set time for you to answer calls and emails outside of tuition hours.
Let parents understand that you also have “office hours” and set boundaries as to when they can call you for matters when it’s past the tuition session. It not only keeps your schedule on time but also helps keep your work life balanced. Once you’ve informed them of the said time, they won’t be as inclined to call or message you over trivial matters.
Don’t act rashly. They are after all your clients and while these helicopter parents can cause stress for both the tutor and the student, it’s better to maintain professionalism in your line of work.
When letting the parents become aware of their actions or how it’s affecting the people around them, they can respond to it differently. Some parents may accept it logically and try to change their actions. While others will become defensive and dismiss your opinions. It can be frustrating but a tutor has to be patient in order to get the point across to these parents.
When discussing with them about their actions, state the facts and explain to them why and how your teaching style works. If you sound defensive or unsure, it will only give these parents more reasons to dismiss your sentiments and continue being too involved with the tuition process, ultimately doubting your ability as a professional home tutor.
Nothing really comes easy. There can be many speedbumps along the way to a satisfying career. But tutors shouldn’t be discouraged, especially when dealing with helicopter parents. And especially when it involves the child’s well-being which can also affect his/her academic performance.
Still, always remember that parents only want the best for their child and these parents just so happen to think this is the best way they can give that to their children. However, the tutor and the parents only have one mutual goal in mind and that is to help the child reach their academic goals.
If you are interested in becoming a home tutor, check out FamilyTutor, the best home tuition agency in Singapore. We offer over 200 subjects for students from pre-school and even beyond university level. With our highly qualified and experienced home tutors, we assure parents that their sons and daughters are in capable hands.
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