Student here. I've worked as a tutor for a while now at a tutoring center. There's one student that I started private tutoring. During the course of their classes they discovered they had a learning disability. I'm infinitely patient so I didn't really notice. Also i'm unfamiliar with this sort of thing so I wanted to break it off just in case there was something I didn't know how to handle. But apparently the student wanted to have a tutor present at all times, and the other tutors were charging up to a hundred dollars an hour to work with this poor soul. I was charging way less than that so I felt some responsibility to be the one to not screw this student over with high prices because everything was going okay and they were learning (or so it seemed). I probably should have just gotten out of there at that point. Time goes on and near the end of the semester they tell me they paid some PhD to take their exam for them. That's a shocker. They also started paying someone to do their homework. They said it was because they would not have an income from a certain organization if they dropped out of school. So basically they would go jobless in a pandemic unless they passed the class. My stupid self still wanted to help them the way I had been doing, explaining things step by step and having them do the problems- and encourage them to stop paying people to do stuff for them. It was awkward to try to tell them that they shouldn't be paying people to do their homework, since they are at least a decade older than myself.

It kept getting worse instead of better. I stuck to my guns and made them work, never answering for them (to their extreme frustration) but now I realize it may have been better to do exactly what I was so committed to not doing: leave them be so they could learn their lesson. I don't tutor them anymore but I still don't know what to do. I didn't want to give up on this student. But I think I was wrong to even take on this work. Should I tell about their cheating? I stopped tutoring them when the end of the semester came, that was a no-brainer. But I don't want them to keep working with whoever it is that's completely taking advantage of the situation, and I also worry that their professors will think it's me who helped them on their exam. I know, I must be a clueless idiot, but that's why i'm asking for help.

And feel free to give me a talking to if that's what I need. I just don't trust my judgement anymore. I'm quitting private tutoring.


Not reporting them does no one any good in a case like this. If they have a learning disability then they need to deal with that, and cheating isn't the proper way. If they don't really know the material then an employer will eventually catch on and they will be unemployed anyway. The PhD student has an ethical violation as do the people paid to do the homework.

If I were to beat up on you it would only be to suggest that they should have been referred to a professional when the learning issue became known.

But letting it go isn't a solution here.

  • 1
    Thank you for your comment. I did ask them and they said they would try a learning therapist long before it got bad, but both of us never followed up. I followed your advice and talked to them today about their progress for a couple hours, as a friend. Seems like it might have helped. They said they would take a different class and continue the subject they had difficulty in later on, after the learning therapist. Fingers crossed. – lost Jan 31 at 22:57

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