Sometimes I'm really at a loss what to do. Last week I had to deal with a semi-hysterical mother and her very lazy son. Talk abut being caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand I'm dealing with a parent who has been deceived (and probably has been deceiving herself for many years) about her son's progress at school. On the other a student who has spent years finding ever more inventive ways to avoid doing school work.
If I had more time I could turn this student around and allow him to pass the exams, but we have only a couple of months.
I have a policy of total (read "brutal") honesty when it comes to my student's progress. I find that in the end it solves a lot of problems and allows us to deal with problems much more quickly. Also the vast majority of parents appreciate it as they have been bull####ed for many years by language schools more interested in next bunch of fees and less in dealing with any shortcomings in their teaching.
No students ever fails, everyone gets passable grades, whether they deserve them or not. The end result is the kind of students I've started lessons with; Seven years of lessons and he's barely able to form a correct sentence in English. Now the hysterical mother expects me to do in seven hours what the school has been unable to do in seven years.
I tried in every way I could to explain to her that I cannot undo the damage that has been done in the time given and that the student is in all likelihood is going to fail his exams in May.
The worse thing was that as I'm telling her that her son has repeatedly lied and tried to deceive me about his homework she's working harder on finding excuses than he is. The most probable outcome is that they'll stop doing lessons with me and find another teacher who'll tell them exactly what they want to hear. And, of course, the kid will still fail his exams.
To tell you the truth that doesn't bother me one little bit.