As a tutor, I have to do with people. Students and parents.
I am the person who goes to their home very often.
I am the person who meets the whole family.
I am the person who sees everybody in their pyjamas (most kids don't even bother to put other clothes on)
I am the person who has to be trusted, since parents are not always at home.
I am not only a language teacher, I am the babysitter, I am the psychologist, I am the councillor, I am the friend, I am the trusted adult.
So, it is crucial from the very beginning to have a good co-operation with the parents. If the parents trust me and my work and work with me, it is way easier for me to do my job.
I have never seen my job as a real job. I mean it is a paying job and I need the money to support my own family, but... my students will always be "my kids". That's why I try to keep in touch and I am so grateful that the kids keep in touch as well, even the ones who have grown up.
This time I am going to tell a story.
A story of a student.
Somebody had recommended me and I went to meet her and her parents.
She was a shy girl, an early teen.
Very different from the teens I know (as a mother of a teen myself)
A very bright girl who was not in a hurry to grow up.
An excellent student.
But... The thing with English learning....
Every time she attempted to go to an English school, she failed. Due to health problems, she had to miss a lot of classes during the winter. When she returned, she couldn't catch up with the others.
Although she studied the books, although she knew the rules by heart. She just couldn't...
So she started hating the language. She didn't find it necessary to learn. It was just another subject, right?
Well, the first year with me, she kept trying to learn the rules.
I tried to reach her, to find what interested her, tried to give her the motive to go on.
We put the course-book aside and started reading fairytales and books and watch movies in English. I went really slow at first.
The first year at school was difficult as well. In the final school exams she didn't do that well. Her mum was annoyed. After all we had been working for a year but she didn't know any grammar rules (?)
I asked her to give me one more year.
She did. The next year the girl got more confident. Again, we did not have to do much with the school books. We talked a lot. In English. She spoke to me about her dreams, her hopes, the places she went, the movies she saw. She wrote about them. She communicated with people. She did research on the internet about her school, about music... She now knew the need of learning a foreign language. She wanted to learn the rules, not by heart, but to use the language correctly. She learned vocabulary because se needed it to understand.
She had excellent results at school. She passed the language certificate exams. She continued to learn more advanced English. She passed the next exams as well.
Her mother understood. Because sometimes parents do understand, if they are open minded.
And this happened because the mother, the parents were there. They were there to see the progress, to ask questions, to help in anyway they could.
And this happened because they decided to trust me.
Of course this does not happen overnight. But it does if you are willing to communicate.
I have a lot of stories with students and parents. Some are very happy and positive and some are negative. Because you can't be compatible with every person you see. Not if they don't give it a try as well.
I just wanted to share this story, now that the school year is beginning.
Soon with more stories...