Reaching students is the reason you’re a tutor, but one of the less talked about issues that tutors face is how to work with parents, too. Sometimes parents can require more managing than their students do, so helping parents understand what reasonable expectations look like can be tricky. Here are some tips from Train The Brain for managing parents’ expectations.
The first step you can take is to provide open communication with the parents of your students. If they ask, keep them up to date with what you’ve been working on, let them know what their student is struggling with, and give them advice about what their students need to focus on next. Start with something positive about the student or their work in every communication with parents, and then give them ideas about how they can help their student succeed. However, it’s important to be honest and to let them know if their student doesn’t appear to have worked as much as you previously recommended.
That brings you to the next part of managing parent expectations. If it’s clear that your student hasn’t made the efforts necessary to make progress, their parent needs to know that. For example, if the student has incomplete assignments that they talk about or if they consistently log on late for their session and don’t have their notes or work handy, then they aren’t totally buying in to their responsibilities. Be sure to keep track of these issues so that when parents question their student’s progress, you have specific details to share with them.
As you work with students, keep track of what they are “getting” and what they are still struggling with. Keep immaculate notes about the types of work they need to practice outside of tutoring sessions as well as how much progress they’re making, and be ready to share that information with parents.
Student Study Plans
Give each of your students the task of creating a study plan. Don’t make this plan for them, but you can give recommendations about how much time they should be spending. At the end of each session, give your student topics that they should be spending time on. If parents ask about their child’s progress, be sure to refer back to the study plan. Check with the parent to make sure your student has made a plan based on your recorded recommendations and check in with the parent to make sure their child has followed through with that plan. If the parent doesn’t know anything about the plan, encourage them to engage with their student by making sure that their child has a plan and follows it.
Parents are vital to student success, so getting them involved will be a great way to help your students succeed. Just be sure to keep organized, detailed notes so that every conversation you have with parents is productive and specific, and your parent communications will go much more smoothly!