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Ethical tutor situation

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by HolyGrail, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail A magnum opus suscipio
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    I'm a public and private tutor at my University, I charge $20/hr privately, and work for free with people who can't afford it...

    That being said, there is a person in desperate need of a tutor, who currently has a D in this class, and "Needs to be able to take Lab next semester". The case is that this person basically needs to get a BC at the University to go on I believe(I don't know I've never had a poor grade like that).

    Said person is offering me more than my going rate, and a bonus if this person can get the grade needed. I see this as a great opportunity to make some money(Which I desperately need for the upcoming expenses!), but I also feel that once I meet with the person, and see whether or not the student is capable, I might have reservations about abilities, and thus the effectiveness of tutoring the student.

    I've been tutoring for Organic Chemistry for the past 2 years now, I know the ins and outs, I know the professors etc... But this is the week of finals, I have literally 7 days to teach this student everything in first semester Organic Chemistry, how optimistic/pessimistic should I be? Should I even touch this?
     
  2. justdoit31

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    I would suggest having the person pay you normal rate and tell him/her that if they get the grade they want they could give you a holiday "gift" but you will only charge regular rate and remind that individual that they waited too late into the course to seek help and you didn't want the additional pressure.
     
  3. silverhorse84

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    I'd say at least meet with him once to see where he is. If you realistically think he can't make it, then tell him that. Tell him that you will tutor him if he wishes, but that you honestly have doubts. This puts the ball in his court and he can decide, knowing the consequences (losing money and not getting the grade), and he can choose whether he wants to try.

    You can also tell him that if he retakes it next quarter/semester you would be more than happy to tutor him and start EARLIER :)
     
    #3 silverhorse84, Dec 11, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  4. lisasimpson87

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    how is this an ethical dilemma?
     
  5. Lacheln

    Lacheln Cavorting in the Hills
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    It's fine to have reservations. I tutor as well, and I always tell my students that I can't really make any predictions until after I've met with them (and even then never make promises). I would meet with the person, calculate how well they'd need to do on the final to get a C, and then decide if you think a C is possible based on where they are now. Generally speaking, it's perfectly possible for a student to make good gains in a week if they are just getting tripped up by one or two central concepts (which I've found is somewhat common in orgo). As long as you do your best to set expectations realistically then there's nothing to worry about ethically.
     
  6. 135892

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    This is what I was wondering... What is the problem here?
     
  7. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail A magnum opus suscipio
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    The problem is that this person has not done any work whatsoever the entire semester. Maybe I didn't make that clear. I'll be taking money from someone who I feel has a very slim chance of getting a reasonable grade in the course. I'd hope you would all have reservations before blindly taking money from people without thinking about whether you're doing any help whatsoever...

    Come to think of it, I feel like this could easily translate into the medical world... For example: Very low chance of a treatment helping a patient, but you'll be compensated well, do you blindly say "Sure I'll do it" or do you meet with the person and make sure that you'll be doing more help than good?

    Just wondering what other people, who don't just worry about themselves, think about this.

    **Edit** Meant to say "More help than harm
     
    #7 HolyGrail, Dec 11, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  8. MedMan25

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    Maybe I'm reading this wrong but are you saying you don't know what happens when you get a B or a C in a class? How long have you been a student? I learned that getting a B or C means you pass and move on when I was in elementary school.
     
  9. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Cross Oncology off the list of subspecialties you might consider.
     
  10. airplanes

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    Why don't you just be honest and explain your doubts about how much you could help. If they still want to pay you, why not? In medical terms, it's called informed consent...
     
  11. saqrfaraj

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Hehehe....ZING! :laugh:
     
  12. MedMan25

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    I don't believe a treatment exists that offers 100% assurance of success. Every drug has side effects, every procedure carries risks. Nothing is absolutely for sure in medicine. You just have to weigh your options and do what you feel is best. Same goes for your tutoring situation.
     
  13. Chemist0157

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    If he contacted you about it, surely he knows how bad his chances are. I've dealt with some people who never study during the semester, but right before finals, they're willing to sell an arm to get a passing grade. Personally, I would be honest with him about his chances so he knows how deep he is, and then I would just charge the normal rate, unless he wants you to be "on call" or something, lol.
     
  14. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail A magnum opus suscipio
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    Alright, thanks everyone. Unfortunately I tried to fix that quote "More help than good" = "More help than harm" but anyway...

    I guess I was apprehensive about the possibility of taking around $1000 from someone, when I wasn't sure they were willing to put in the time/effort and whether or not it's even possible at this stage to help out enough. I suppose I'll have to try my best. I'll let you know how it goes(If it goes well).

    Just wanted to hear other opinions on the situation. I'll have to preface anything with a very brutally honest opinion: there's only so much I can do, and you're in a very bad situation.
     
  15. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail A magnum opus suscipio
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    LOL, Ouch LizzyM...
     
  16. JackInTheBox

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    Yup. It's called informed consent :D
     
  17. xanthomondo

    xanthomondo nom nom nom
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    Umm at this point in their career they should be able to take care of themself if they're wasting their money or not. The only thing you need is that they're coming to you and they need your service.

    You're giving them your service - you're not misrepresenting anything, you're only providing them what they asked for.

    PS - I've tried the "tutor the entire course in a week" trick, too. Hopefully you can do better than I did - she still failed miserably. (It never works and it's incredibly frustrating)

    But :luck:
     
  18. Chemist0157

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    $1,000 in a week!? :eek: That's like 1,000 spicy crispy chicken sandwiches from McDonalds! Just do it!!! :laugh:
     
  19. airplanes

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    I believe the proper denomination is one thousand frostys. ;)
     
  20. Doctura

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    As a professional musician, I routinely charge extra money if I am required to learn music with little advanced notice. In fact, I usually double my fee ($20/hour --> $40/hour), and I would do the same as a tutor. My mantra is "your lack of preparation is not my emergency." Emergencies in medicine, of course, are generally not caused by a lack of preparation on the part of the patient. Anyway, I would just be realistic with the guy. Tell him you will teach him as much as you can but you can't make any guarantees he will pass. Don't feel bad about the money.
     
  21. OncoCaP

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    I don't think there is a problem with charging a higher rate. However, I would tell the student that while there are some things that you could probably help the student learn that it would be very unlikely, if not impossible, that they would do very well even after working extensively with you ... they may or may not even pass. In other words, I would not make the rate you get paid contingent on some kind of grade.
     
  22. Hyperstudyosis

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    I wish you could tutor me in ochem. I have my final on Thursday and right now I'm sitting on the fence between an A and a B. I don't know how well it's working out with just me and the textbook...I don't feel like it's very effective.

    Anyhow, I would tell him that you want to meet with him to assess where he is and you will then give him an honest opinion about what you think he can expect to get on the final. I would insist that he pay you your regular rate. If he insists on continuing the tutoring even if you tell him you don't think it's possible for him to get the grade he wants, then that decision is up to him.
     
  23. 135892

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    I really don't understand what the "ethical situation" is here. The guy who is in need of tutoring knows what situation he is in and has made the decision to hire a tutor. You, as the tutor, are providing a service, and he is more than happy to pay. As long as you aren't doing something like guaranteeing him an A if he hires you, I don't see a problem. And besides, are you not going to help him out just because you think he has no chance of passing? In my opinion, that would be much worse of you.
     
  24. 229141

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    I've tutored O-chem for two years..and everyone I've ever tutored is really lazy. They come to get tutored instead of locking themselves in the library for 4 hours..its really frustrating. How do you tutor someone who won't put the work ethic into it? Ochem is pretty much all memorizing...even though you are a master of this material it won't help the fact that this kid probably is not willing to do what it takes..
     
  25. MeatTornado

    MeatTornado On Sabbatical
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    these two posts are great

    i think OP is just trying to find an "ethical dilemma" to write about in his AMCAS or secondaries so he's just creating one out of nothing.
     
  26. EpiPEN

    EpiPEN Aegis of Immortality
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    :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

    okay that gave me the laugh I was looking for, now back to studying :D
     
  27. Marcus Brody

    Marcus Brody Already has the grail.
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    I was hoping to find a sex-for-help scenario in this thread.

    :thumbdown:
     
  28. thewendster

    thewendster Senior Member
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    I wouldn't accept the bonus for a higher grade. Taking a higher rate seems acceptable because they are asking you to cram along with them.. to put parts of your life on hold and put in a week of grueling sessions... long hours, late nights, and weekends. In my mind, that is worth more money.

     
  29. rbaksi

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    I don't think there's too much of a dilemma here.

    You should definately tell him what your doubts are and how you obviously can't guarantee his success. But I'd take the offer and help him.

    If you honestly work hard and do all that you can to help him given the time that you have left (and knowing that he knows there is little time), there should be a completely clear conscience on your mind when you take the money.

    He offered the cash for your expertise. If you give him the expertise as best you can, there should be no problem with him paying you.

    good luck
     
  30. poiuyt123

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    yea thats kinda what it sounds like when reading the thread title.
     

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