5 Stars: The 4 Stars
One question I just received on a different blog was how to handle the 4-star ratings that come up. No matter how good you are, someone will not be satisfied. I personally have received two 4-stars here on WyzAnt, one when I was just starting out, and one just today.
For the 4-star early on, it was from a weekly student who only rated the very first meeting as a 4-star. When I learned it was him (either WyzAnt didn't let us see ratings back when I began or I just hadn't figured out how), I approached him about it at the end of our next meeting. One thing I've learned in life is to ask questions instead, so I simply inquired as to why the first lesson was a 4-star to him. He thought back and couldn't really remember why; the session had gone well to him, and he couldn't remember anything in particular that went wrong; he simply thought that 4-stars was still "good". When I explained to him that it wasn't really how things worked on WyzAnt, how only 5-stars is "good" and anything else is basically "bad", he kindly agreed to go back in and change the rating.
For today's, the story is a bit different. It seems like the student was a one-time student whom I helped with finals preparation. Thus, I had no way of gently bringing up after a meeting. Instead, I sent an email to her today to inquire of what she felt was missing that caused the missing star. I may or may not get a reply, but I have learned that it is better to ask, as long as it is done politely and from a position of requesting feedback. If there really WAS something wrong, I'd like to know to not miss that star in the future.
I write this as an advice to any fellow tutor reading this. There will be times that you will get a 4-star, regardless of whether you did your best or not. When those times come up, my advice is to make a gentle inquiry as to what was lacking in your own tutoring that caused the lack of the star. If the student doesn't understand the big deal, then you can let them know how the ratings here work, and then see if they are willing to change it if they feel like you did do all you could. Just be sure to also accept the opposite; if there really was a reason, then learn from it and keep growing.