Redditor “Mbutterfly911″—who is a part-time tutor—was frustrated with a student who blamed them for his parent’s divorce. The student’s indignation towards his tutor spilled over into a practice college application essay in which he was asked to write about an “unusual life experience” and how it “transformed him.”
The Original Poster (OP) was mortified to discover their student decided to feature them in the essay as the villain responsible for splitting his parents up. Or so they claimed when they posted their tale on Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) forum.
Tutor Mbutterfly911 asked:
“AITA for telling my student he cannot write about me in his college application essays and for sharing his practice essay with his father?”
The OP wrote:
“I have been tutoring (part-time) a student since he was in 8th grade and he will be applying for college in the fall.”
“His dad is paying me additional fees to be his independent college admissions consultant, so I have been helping him assemble a competitive college admissions portfolio. For a practice exercise last week, I asked him to write an essay describing an unusual life experience and how the experience transformed him.”
“Now, I have known for a couple years that he is hostile towards me. However, I’ve known him since he was in junior high and I feel a deep sense of obligation to see him through this stressful experience.”
“The reason he despises me is that he blames me for his parents’ acrimonious divorce a couple years ago, even though I had nothing to do with the long-broken relationship that ended inevitably in dissolution. Being a hormonal teenager, my student unilaterally decided I’m the villain without understanding how deeply flawed his parents’ marriage was before I even came into the picture.”
“Despite working with a child psychologist for over two years now, he continues to reflexively blame me for the perceived problems in his life.”
The OP was prominently featured as “the villain” in this assignment.
“I read his practice essay this past weekend. He decided to write about his parents’ divorce, featuring me as the villain.”
“The theme of the essay was family betrayal.”
“I sat him down (on zoom) and reasoned with him, because he is old enough for me to give him a much-needed dose of reality.”
“First, I expected him to take the assignment seriously. Second, parental divorce is an unoriginal topic – half of married couples divorce. Third, the essay was focused entirely on his sense of betrayal, without discussion of any personal insight or growth from the experience, compounding the banality of his unserious attempt.”
“I told him if an admissions officer wanted to waste her time reading this drivel, she could just watch histrionic teens complaining on youtube. His essay is the written equivalent of a toddler throwing a tantrum when placed on time-out, without any of the lessons learned from the punishment.”
“I made it clear that he is not to talk about me in his admissions essays. I also told him I would share his essay with his father (since his father is paying for the service) with my concerns.”
“After reading the essay, his father warned him he is not allowed to discuss the divorce or me in his application essays, unless he wants to pay for college and room and board by himself.”
“I also suggested to his father to share the essay with his child psychologist, where discussion of the content would be more appropriate.”
The OP said they are devoted to the student’s success but expressed they are running out of patience.
“My student stopped attending our zoom meetings. When I texted him, he replied with vile gifs and memes. I’m sort of at the end of my ropes with him, even though I am deeply invested in his success. I just wish he can see that.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Immediately Redditors accused the OP of leaving out some pertinent details and started asking questions.
And the OP came back in the comments with snippets of that missing information.
Needless to say, it changed everything.
Redditor KuhBus did all the heavy lifting and compiled all the snippets of info into one major truth bomb…
“From OP’s comments we know: Met the kid’s father through an internship after college (so likely significantly younger than the kid’s dad)”
“Started tutoring around four years ago, divorce likely happened around the same time and started sleeping with the kid’s dad while the divorce was still happening.”
“Claims the mom is homophobic and both her and the dad didn’t want to reveal their relationship to the kid, but then dropped him off early at the dad’s place to have him find out. This entire family is trash.”
“OP seems incapable of understanding that forcing a kid to rely on a person for academic help/support for years, while knowing they are/were sleeping with their dad is profoundly disgusting.”
“All OP can focus on is the racist memes the kid is sending, as if the memes are the problem and not the fact that this kid hates him for good reason and is trying to get away from this toxic relationship in any way he can.”
“In conclusion: These people are all disgusting and I feel deeply sorry for the kid. Forcing him to continue getting tutoring for years from a person he does not like, does not want to be around with and whose mere existence is a constant reminder of how f’ked up his parents are borders on emotional abuse.”
“OP is completely in denial of how he is contributing to that emotional abuse and trying to paint the kid as the bad guy for sending racist memes. Guess what? I’m pretty sure this kid has felt pressured to interact with OP for years.”
“He likely has repeatedly told his father that he doesn’t want OP to tutor him. And since he likely got ignored for the past couple of years, he’s using the most vile stuff he can find to get OP to leave him alone, because nothing else has worked.”
…that detonated a major YTA from Redditor mosstalgia that earned them an “Ignite! Award” from fellow Redditors.
“YTA for taking this job when you have a pre-existing, negative relationship with this student. It doesn’t matter whether or not his father wanted you to take it, you (unlike this poor boy) are an adult.”
“You had the option to refuse on grounds of professional ethics. You should not have even considered taking this job! How could you possibly think that a student who loathes you and blames you for his parents divorce could possibly be helped by you?”
“YTA for saying ‘I told him if an admissions officer wanted to waste her time reading this drivel, she could just watch histrionic teens complaining on youtube.’ This is not useful feedback; it’s needlessly cruel and unhelpful.”
“YTA for ‘I made it clear that he is not to talk about me in his admissions essays.’ Do you have any right to decide this? I’m not American, so I cannot say if you have a legal/practical right to make this claim, but you certainly don’t have a moral one.”
“YTA for showing the essay to his father not because you want him to get further therapy or because you were concerned that the essay wouldn’t help him get into college, but out of vengeful spitefulness to ensure he didn’t write on this topic. (His father is also a massive a**hole, by the way. Enormous. I couldn’t decide which of you is worse.)”
“YTA for lying to yourself about being ‘deeply invested in his success’. Your entire post comes across as though you resent this child for resenting you, something that’s completely reasonable on his part because you’ve been extremely unprofessional in every possible way here.”
“YTA to such a degree that it’s no wonder the kid can’t see anything else. I can’t, either.”
Once the truth was revealed, people were pretty much in agreement about who the a**hole was here.
“YTA. So, so much…”
“Why ask for judgment if you’re just going to come here and lie about the situation? You had an affair with a married man and his kid hates you and wrote a college essay about it because dear old dad keeps forcing him to interact with the person he considers the ‘wh**e that split up my parents’.”
“The fact you see yourself as a victim here is cause for you to seek professional help. The kid doesn’t need to get over the fact you hopped in bed with his dad then his parents split up. You need to recognize he’s under no obligation to make you feel better about sleeping with a married man instead of waiting for his divorce to be final.”
“And that ‘the marriage was in shambles already’ bullsh*t is what every side piece tells themselves so they feel like less of a wh**e. The kid isn’t required to back up your delusions.” ~ LakotaGrl
“YTA for leaving out the fact that you were romantically involved with the father. No wonder the kid hates you and blames you for the divorce!”
“Why didn’t you include this in your original post?” – [deleted]
“But the marriage was deeply flawed, so it was ok, right?”
“Massive YTA here. Imagine having the gall to continue working with this student after sleeping with his father and expecting him to be grateful for your help.” – GenericUser69143
“I kept on thinking ‘either the kid is completely insane or the OP is f’king the dad and not mentioning it to us’.”
“The ‘their marriage was already in shambles’ line makes me think that OP/dad’s relationship started before the end of the marriage, and that the kid and his mother were probably not aware that the marriage was actually in shambles.” – HyacinthFT
“Yup, had exactly the same thought. Otherwise why is a teen randomly blaming a third party service provider who has nothing to do with anything? Yep, they were providing a service alright.” – wineandhugs
“Same. If OP thought they had done nothing wrong they wouldn’t have left that out.”
“It’s nuts that they are still tutoring the kid but acting like the kid should be ‘over it’. OP, YTA and so is the dad.” – Academic-Panic
Folks, if you’re going to go to Reddit for some judgment, make sure to tell the whole truth. Otherwise you’re just lying to yourself.