Knowing When to Say Goodbye

Wave goodbye to your ESL students in a respectful and caring way

Advice for ESL Teachers on Stopping Work with a Student

Having said that, I once had an extremely difficult Cambly student who was abrasive and miserable every class. Yet, she continued booking me nonstop and left good reviews. After a few months of this, she opened up during class and thanked me for putting up with her. She said she suffered from clinical depression and scheduling daily English classes with me was the only thing keeping her going until her meds kicked in. The classes forced her to interact with someone. She was so grateful I had dealt with her attitude for so long and she was a totally pleasant student after this! So, it is certainly not your job to be an emotional caretaker, but you might want to give a student a break if you can take it and your rating score isn’t tanking. We are all human, after all.

Having said that, here are some tips to help you know when to say goodbye and how to do it gracefully.

End it: how to stop teaching a student

  1. Be Clear about Expectations

From the beginning of your working relationship with a student, it is important to set clear expectations. This includes outlining what you expect from the student in terms of attendance, participation, and progress. If the student is not meeting these expectations, it may be time to reassess the situation.

  1. Keep an Open Dialogue

If you notice that the student is not meeting your expectations, it is important to have an open dialogue with them. Schedule a meeting to discuss your concerns, and give them the opportunity to express their own. Sometimes, there may be underlying issues that are causing the student’s lack of progress, and you may be able to find a solution together.

  1. Be Honest and Professional

If, after trying to work through the issues, you still feel that it is necessary to stop working with the student, it is important to be honest and professional. Schedule a meeting with the student to explain your decision, and provide specific reasons for why you believe it is the best course of action. It is important to be clear, but also respectful and empathetic in your delivery.

  1. Offer Resources and Recommendations

As an ESL teacher, you are likely to have a network of colleagues and resources that can help the student continue their language learning journey. Offer to provide recommendations for other teachers, language schools, or resources that may be a better fit for the student’s needs.

  1. Follow Up

After ending your working relationship with a student, it is important to follow up with them. This can include sending an email to wish them the best of luck, or offering to provide a reference for them in the future. While you may no longer be working with the student, you can still show your support and commitment to their language learning journey.

Ending a working relationship with a student is never an easy decision, but it is sometimes necessary for both parties to move forward. By setting clear expectations, maintaining an open dialogue, being honest and professional, offering resources and recommendations, and following up, you can make the process as smooth and positive as possible. Remember, as an ESL teacher, your ultimate goal is to help your students succeed, and sometimes that means knowing when to say goodbye.

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