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Teen Balks When The Pricy ‘Tutor’ She Hires Encourages Her To Turn In A Plagiarized Essay

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School can be really difficult, especially as you try to pull ahead and make yourself stand out for college admissions. A drop in your grade can make you feel like your world is ending, so sometimes you need a little help.

On the “Am I the A**hole” subReddit, user aitatutor tried to get a little help and instead got way more than she bargained for. She didn’t like the situation and posted about it online, but that seemed to make things worse.

The original poster (OP) asks:

“AITA for causing my former tutor to lose the majority of her clients”

This is what happened:

“I (f17) had this huge essay a couple weeks ago. It was an argumentative essay on the character John Proctor from the crucible, if I thought he was a good or bad person and why.”

“If I got an F on this essay it would bring my grade down from an A to a D and I’m not good at writing essays so I decided to book myself a couple sessions with a very popular tutor in my town, Pam, to help me.”

“I booked myself 2 sessions at $65 an hour so I expected her to help me draft an outline and get quotes from the book and just make sure I was doing it right.”

“Instead she showed up to my house with a prewritten essay and told me to copy it. That was the entire session.”

“I canceled the second session and posted on nextdoor about my experience working with her and asked if anyone else had similar experiences. My post went nextdoor viral and a lot of parents saw my post.”

“Pam texted me and told me to take down my post because she was losing clients but I was feeling kinda petty so I decided to keep it up.”

“Well, Pam texted me a couple days ago to say that thanks to my post, she lost around 80% of her clients (most of her clients are younger kids so I guess their parents saw the post and asked the kids what they did with Pam).”

“I feel kinda bad because we’re in a pandemic and it’s really hard to get jobs and I basically made Pam lose her job so I wanted to know if I was the a**hole.”

It’s easy to think that just because Pam did something wrong that it means OP is in the clear. But losing a job during a time like this is difficult too, and OP feels guilty about that.

To find out if they’re at fault, the AITA board votes on it. This is done with one of the following comments.

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

The board determined that while OP may feel like she caused the issue for Pam, it was really Pam’s own actions that made her lose clients.

OP doesn’t need to feel guilty about this.

“NTA, she was a tutor and told you to plagiarize. Not only is it a surefire way to fail, it does nothing to help you learn how to write and research future essays.” – APrettyRedBalloon

“NTA Also, if you’ve written an essay yourself before for the same teacher, and you show up with Pam’s plagiarized nonsense, they’re going to know.”

“Fastest way to raise a teacher’s suspicions is to radically change your writing style. So Pam is also TA for potentially getting all of these kids in a lot of trouble, because if she works with lots of younger kids they might not be as firm on the rules about plagiarism (picturing middle school aged here).”

“Plus you learn nothing, aka she’s not a tutor.” – Archandicorrigible

“NTA. You did not cause her to lose her job, her actions did. What she had you do was plagiarism and could have gotten you into a lot more trouble.” – AmethysstFire

“NTA and good for you for speaking up. Pam calling herself a tutor is false advertising.”

“Parents of kids who are too young to really grasp the plagiarism concept need to know this is happening. Obviously by the time you’re in high school you should know that turning in Pam’s paper is not a good idea, but I’d worry about kids getting confused when an authority figure is okaying plagiarism.” – SneakySneakySquirrel

Being a tutor relies a lot on word of mouth to get new clients. If you aren’t doing a job you can be proud of, it’s going to be difficult to get students and parents to trust you.

But that trust is something you have to build, and if you don’t want someone telling others you recommended they plagiarize an essay, maybe don’t suggest it in the first place.

“NTA. I was a tutor for a very long time before I started my career, and I HATED kids who expected me to do their papers/hwk. The job is to teach children how to best approach their work that suits their needs.”

“How does she expect to keep clients if her kids fail exams or don’t learn how to study and get bad grades? She did it to herself. – Hotmessquire

“I babysit some of Pam’s clients. One kid’s mom was convinced that the kid knew the material but didn’t test well or had test anxiety.”

“Another kid has a near photographic memory and their teacher uses the same problems on the test as the homework so that kid just had the answers memorized” – aitatutor (OP)

“NTA. If anything, you’ve saved these parents and others from wasting money on a ‘tutor’ that wasn’t teaching or tutoring anything, and was instead asking you to plagiarize an essay, which she could have even plagiarized from somewhere else or paid someone for.”

“Not only is it likely those kids weren’t learning anything, but it was only a matter of time before someone else outted her for bad practices.”

“I understand you feeling compassion because of these hard times, but if she’s going to offer her services she needs to provide the expected service. Also, with so many people struggling financially, it’s not okay for them to be paying someone to help them or their kids only to get what you got from her.”

“So think of their financial situations, too. We’re struggling and I can’t imagine trying to pay for a tutor for my nephew, only to find out she was not really tutoring anything. You’re definitely NTA here!” – rockpaperllama

“NTA. She is not tutoring kids as she claims, she is selling them papers.”

“The parents are paying (or at least most of them probably are) with the impression that she is actually teaching the kids how to do an assignment so they can do them in the future by themselves when in fact she is not teaching them at all.”

“She is setting them for future failure and to get more money out of the parents. She deserved to be called out.” – holisarcasm

The board seemed to be in agreement that OP was NTA in this situation, but it’s admirable that OP was worried about Pam’s job. However, Pam needs to be the one more worried about it, if she wants to have a reputation that allows her to work as a tutor.

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.