But here comes the “BUT”. Many times blunt honesty may cause as much damage as lies. Let me explain.
As a self-employed teacher I depend on my students’ regular payments to keep a steady source of income. “No work-O, no pay-O”, as I like to say.
At times, a student will be having classes for many months and years, but “HAVING CLASSES” would be a mild exaggeration.
Let’s go through a check list:
Is the student punctual? ✘
Does the student do her/his homework? ✘
Does the student want to do any sort of exercise in class? ✘
Does the student learn from speech corrections? ✘
Does the student allow the teacher to follow any class plan? ✘
Well, just based on this brief shortlist what would be the right thing to do?
My first instinct is to calmly say:
“STOP WASTING MY TIME. PAY UP AND SHUT UP!”
uh… I guess that wouldn’t be the best approach.
I could give them a self evaluation test saying: “It’ll be good for you to see your language progress along these years. You started with me at an intermediate level. Why don’t find out your level now?
The student’s response: “Ok”. Does it mean he or she will do the test right away? NO. In a week? Nope. And questioned about that they’ll simply reply – “I’m afraid to find out I haven’t made much progress”.
So the students know they haven’t done their part, their progress has been stunted (at best) and they’re spending money to keep a feeling of “I’m studying, at least”.
There have been cases that I’ve implied to the student (both implicitly and explicitly) that they should stop having classes “until they are able to focus a little more on their course”.
Does it work? ‘Fraid not. Some ignore the advice, others may get mad at me and stop the course and there my stipend goes out of the window. And me back to square one looking for a new student.
It makes me wonder that my “honesty” can be an act of self-sabotage where the only loss is actually mine.
That drives me to the conclusion that “as long as they’re paying, there’s hope”.
Good classes and don’t give up.