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Nightmare Parents As A Private Tutor: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I’ve been doing this job for over a decade now and the stories I could tell you about nightmare parents!

The stories I have could put the Reddit thread r/entitledparents to shame.

However, let me give you an example of an entitled parent who not only believed that her son’s failure was all my fault but also tried to slander my name to anyone who would listen.

It was early in my career as a tutor, about 2016. I had been established for about 4 years now and had built a great reputation in my local community. Due to working in schools at this time, I had decided to set up a tuition centre where I could help more students, while also not eating into all my personal time.

In case none of you have ever been to or used a tuition centre the set-up is pretty simple. Every tutor would be in charge of small groups of 4-6 students who were in the same age range and therefore learning the same topics.

In came Mary*. She had a son who was in Year 10 and had missed a lot of school due to truancy and not liking his teachers because they all hated him – I’m sure there was more to the story but that was all she would say and all I’m willing to share. We will call him Adam*. Adam was a bright kid; spent more time thinking about elaborate ways to get to out of doing work than actually working. Some of it was successful, most was hilariously transparent.

They joined us in April 2016 for help in English and Maths. Adam had his Year 10 mock exams in late June and received the results in early July.

Mary was not impressed. He was given a Grade 3 in Maths and Grade 2 in both English’s. She came storming up to me, screaming about how I was a waste of money, and her son didn’t get a good grade like the others there. That I must hate her son because he didn’t do well. [Don’t ask – I have no idea how she came up with that idea but I’m seeing why he had issues with his teachers.]

The other students – due to their hard work – managed to all get a Grade 6 or higher.

This was the first year with these new 9-1 grades, so it was an adjustment – but basically, they needed a 5 or above to have passed.

Remember – Adam was Year 10, not year 11. So, he still had 1 year left.

Not only that, he had come to us with a Grade U – so there was definitely improvement.

But not enough for Mary. Mary believed that paying someone to tutor their child was the same as their child getting amazing grades, straight away. Even if we only taught Adam for 4 hours a week.

She made it her mission to try and discredit me to anyone and everyone. Luckily, most parents understand that we can help, but we are not miracle workers. We can only do our best.

Phone calls, emails and social media posts were constant for a few months until she seemed to get tired and run out of steam.

The saddest part of this, was that Mary wasn’t the worst parent I had come across. She was just the most persistent in being so wrong.

Every tutor, teacher or educator has had some kind of negative parent experience and its sad that we get treated so badly.

Maybe I’ll share some of the most bizarre ones soon – until next time!

*names are made up for the purpose of the blog

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