When you work for an academy, they take care of these kinds of students for you. But when you manage your own classes, when you are your own boss, then you have to be prepared to deal with these students that were previously taken care of or weeded out before they even got to you.
1) The Best Friend
This student is friendly and charismatic. You feel like you could be friends with them. They smile a lot and have a very smooth way of talking. You feel like you can confide in them more than with other students.
The Catch: These students can easily manipulate you. They might wrangle you into giving them a discount on classes or other things that are not necessarily in your best interest, but in theirs. They’ll use their smile and charm to make you feel better about it.
What to do: You need to be firm from the beginning. This isn’t to say you can’t be friendly or that you need to always be suspicious of their motives, but you should be clear about the rules. If your student comes to class late, you still finish on time- you won’t break the rules for them.
2) The Sob Story
This is the student who comes with a story about how difficult their life has been and how many obstacles they have had. They will make you feel bad or sorry for them and will make you want to help them, since they’ve had so many difficulties in life.
The Catch: This person will one, get discounts from you, which isn’t necessarily a problem as long as they are genuine. But, since they aren’t losing money by not coming, they often don’t treat class like a priority and it can mess with the progress of your class.
What to do: Make it very clear to the student that they need to make class a priority, even if they are not paying. If they skip more than a quarter of their classes, then they will not be allowed to continue. You also need to keep in mind that by allowing a free student to come to class, you are taking a spot that could go to a student who is paying the full amount. You could end up with a class full of people who aren’t paying.
3) The Creeper
This person pays you a lot of attention. They seem to pay more attention to you than they do to your teaching. They may give you gifts and try to find time to be alone with you.
The Catch: This one is obvious. Some students can turn into stalkers or can try to initiate a romantic relationship with you. At the least, your classes will turn awkward or uncomfortable and at worst you could be in danger.
What to do: From the beginning in your classes, you should be careful that you don’t come across as flirting with students. If a student does make an advance at you, then suggest they study with another teacher. Sometimes you do not have the luxury of being polite and to keep yourself safe, you need to get rid of a student. In this case, you should also report the student and let administration take care of the situation.
4) The Impossible to Please
This student is also known as the complainer. They are never happy. They are always asking you to find more and more complex ways to teach them and are never satisfied.
The Catch: There are many students who need very specific types of classes, and it is your responsibility as a teacher to find that style, but there are other students who will never be happy. They will make your life difficult and may disrupt the rhythm of group classes. In the end, they may end up affecting your rating and reputation.
What to do: Sometimes, this student just needs a different style of class. Maybe they were in a group class, but really need their own class. You can try to accommodate this, or you can refer them to another teacher who may be better for them. In the end, if a student is constantly disrupting class and you find it is not worth it to teach them, then suggest that another teacher would be better
5) The Bitter Learner
This person has probably tried to learn a language before. In fact, they have probably tried several times and in different places. They no longer believe, or they may have never believed, that they have the ability to learn. They might even hate the language.
The Catch: This student will be incredibly difficult to teach because they will constantly be talking about how hard it is. As soon as there isn’t an easy answer to a question, they will descend into “I just can’t do it”, “this is ridiculous”, or “I hate this.” If this student is in a group class, it will really pull the rest of the group down.
What to do: First of all, this student needs to be in a private class. You need to forbid them from saying “I can’t do it” especially in their native language. Make it clear that they will never ever learn if they treat every class like a punishment. In the end, you may not be the right match for them, in which case refer them to another teacher.