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The importance of professionalism for private tutors

27th February 2015 6:00
By Blue Tutors

In addition to identifying their students’ weaknesses and finding the best way to help them improve, private tutors must also develop the social skills required to help them deal appropriately and professionally with students’ parents. Whilst the majority of parents want the best for their children and maintain a polite and professional relationship with tutors, every tutor has at least one experience of relationships with parents becoming strained. Sometimes this can be a difference of opinion over what is best for their child’s education, and other times parents and tutors clash over fees, results or scheduling. Whatever the issue is, learning to deal with professional relationships in the private tuition industry is an important skill.

Professional relationships in a relatively unregulated sector such as private tuition can be difficult, and tutors should ensure that they navigate them carefully. Where there is little regulation and tutors are self-employed, there is little to protect them from parents who refuse to pay or cancel at short notice. It can be tempting to treat difficult parents in a less than professional manner, especially when they have treated tutors badly. When parents cancel lessons at short notice, tutors may feel that they can do the same, or if they do not get on with parents they may not give 100%. However, tutors should remember that it is all the more important that they behave impeccably under these circumstances.

Firstly, a tutor’s reputation is his or her currency, and a damaging review – however unfair – should be avoided if at all possible. If tutors are experiencing problems with parents who are treating them unfairly and unprofessionally, they should attempt to resolve the issue in the most professional may they can. This means informing their agency of any issues, and discussing the problems in a professional way with their clients. This gives the tutor, client and agency the opportunity to resolve problems amicably before both parties leave the table feeling hard done by. If tutors fail to be professional, it is not only their reputation and that of their agency that suffers, but also their students’ education – a situation which they should strive to avoid.