I teach a 9th grade student. The problem is she is very talkative and doesn't pay attention on her studies as her final exams are near. Her parents are also very much worried about her. Whenever I ask her to be serious, put your effort as your parents send you here to study, they pay for you etc, she starts arguing with me.

Can anyone suggest how to handle her as she is a bit sensitive. I don't want to give her punishment as sometimes she starts crying with her head down. How can I bring her back to study?

  • It sounds like you are a personal tutor. What subject(s) do you cover? Are they subjects she likes? Is there any specific thing she excels at?
    – Pam
    Nov 3, 2018 at 20:22
  • I'm home tutor.i have to teach her all subjects.she is good in singing. Nov 3, 2018 at 20:52
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    It would be nice to know how you handled the arguing so far. What happens between 'she starts arguing' and 'you giving her punishment'? To avoid getting answers suggesting solutions you've already tried, could you be more elaborate on what you've tried so far?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Nov 7, 2018 at 9:57

2 Answers 2


Thank you for the question. As it shows you care about your students. Instead of turning it into an argument, why don't you just sit and ask her what she likes or would like to do in future? Maybe it's the way she is being taught. Observe if she is a visual learner, or learns through experience or reading or maybe she is a slow learner and time-based activities or someone rushing her makes it hard for her to grasp the concept. We tend to dislike what we don't understand. If studying is difficult for her, she sure will avoid it.

You didn't say if she is like this with all the subjects. Ask her what her favorite subject is. It can tell you a lot about her. If she doesn't like to read long paragraphs, ask/help her to download adobe reader (there is a function called "read out loud") it can read the paragraphs to her. That way she can sit quietly and just listen. If she is a visual learner, give her related videos to watch. There is a whole new world out there. Google is your friend. If she is a slow learner, then DON'T ever rush her. It will make her nervous and want to quit.

Whatever you are teaching her, start with the most basics. Step by step. Wherever she gets stuck, stop and repeat.

However, if she really has no interest in studies, then you can try asking her if she is stressed about something, or is there something distracting her. Assure her that she will not be judged or punished for expressing her self. Talk like a guide, a friend. Hope she will open up.


One thing I've found to work teaching 9th grade is believing in them. The other answer by ConfusedANDHungry01 is really good and touches on this but I want to say it explicitly.

I've found kids to have an understanding of what teachers are on their side and want them to succeed and what teachers care about them.

So first of all congratulations. You care - that puts you above most teachers I've run into when teaching 9th grade. Let's see what skills you can apply:

Build self efficacy.

You want to build her ability to believe she can accomplish her goals. This starts by literally saying things like:

I believe in you and your ability to do great on this topic.

And then gradually building small successes with her. Give increasingly harder assignments that are not out of reach for her and you believe she can succeed (even if initially the assignments seem small) and gradually build up her feeling of self efficacy.

Self efficacy has been (for my 9th graders) the biggest determining factor in who succeeds and who doesn't at the end of the year.

Focus on her commitment to succeed

If for example she did not do all the homework but did half of it instead of talking down to her you can say something like:

I see you've done half the homework. Thank you for dedicating time to work on the topic and doing substantial work on the questions I gave you. Can we go over the parts you didn't do and understand together what was harder about them?

Be non-judgmental

Explain to her that you're on her side, ask her what she wants and why and then sit down and figure out together how to get there and plan.

Make her an active participant of the plan and have her commit to the different parts. Make sure she does not over commit (see the part about self efficacy above). Commitment and small successes create a sense of accountability.

Find interesting ways to approach the topics and use them. For example I've found project based learning on subjects that interest the students to be a great motivator and a way to cultivate curiously which people naturally have.

Support her

Remember that you have a shared goal (her success). Criticism is fine but only within that specific context. Criticism needs to be:

  • Direct to the student.
  • About an action and not about her. It is very important to understand that it is not your place to judge her as a person as her teacher.
  • Within a context of caring about her.
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    Thank you @Benjamin its a big complement for me and very thankful for your Answer :) Nov 4, 2018 at 14:45

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