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How to choose a home tutor

Choose the right tutor for your child

The question of choosing a home tutor is first and foremost, not a difficult thing to do.

Yet we hear horror stories in the media of parents engaging a tutor that is well below par or simply put, the worst tutor they ever had.

Why is that so? Let us explore some factors that goes into choosing a home tutor which will greatly help in the decision-making process.

1. Cost
The cost of tuition definitely affects the type of tutor engaged. Tuition fees are dependent on several factors such as the tutor’s qualifications, experience, duration and frequency of tuition.

The higher the qualifications and experience, the higher the rates charged by each tutor. It is therefore more economical to choose a young student tutor or undergrad, especially if its for a lower level such as preschool, kindergarten or primary 1-3.

One important mistake that parents make is to always offer a slightly lower rate than the market rates. Any tutor who accept it might teach for a certain period of time but eventually will drop the assignment for a better-paying one. The performance during the tuition might be not as good as expected because the tutor feels shortchanged by the fees.

We strongly advise parents to either pay according to market price or be a little more generous so as to bring out the best out of the tutor’s abilities. Eventually, it is the best results that you want for your child and ultimately a brighter future.

2. Experience of the tutor

It is a common misconception that the better tutors are highly qualified and scored well academically. The more important criteria is the tutor’s ability to teach and his past experience in the subjects he/she specialise in teaching.

No doubt that academic grades reflects the tutor’s knowledge in the subjects but someone who is able to score straight A’s may not be able to teach another party. Good tutors are those who are able to make difficult concepts easy to understand.

Each student has different absorption rates and capabilities, thus the tutor has to vary the teaching methods, tone of voice or choice of words for every student. An experienced tutor has an advantage because they have the exposure to many types of students and is able to vary their teaching style to suit each student.

3. Interpersonal skills

Clear and straightforward communication skills are key aspects of a good home tutor. The tutor must be able to communicate the subject’s contents to the student and also be able to interact on a personal level with him/her.

A tutor who wins their student’s trust and respect will ensure a fruitful tuition experience. If the tutor is not able to communicate well e.g. being too quiet or monotonous tone of voice, the student eventually gets turned off and gets distracted during the tuition. The student may also fall asleep or start doing other things during the tuition e.g. SMS-ing, reading magazines.

4. Familiarity with latest MOE syllabus

This is a double-edged sword: The more familiar a tutor is with the syllabus (i.e. school teachers / ex-school teachers), the higher his fees will be. They are the most familiar with the syllabus as they teach the subjects in their schools and are updated directly by MOE. Only go for this group of tutors if you can afford the fees they charge.

But if you can’t, don’t worry about it - we have many experienced tutors who have been giving tuition for many years and have helped students achieve distinctions and progress to top schools. This is because any changes to the syllabus does not greatly affect the abilities of home tutors as they already have the knowledge and experience to cope with it.

5. Location of tuition

A shorter travelling time definitely results in punctuality and a more energetic tutor. If the tutor has to travel far, he/she will experience fatigue and distraction during the tuition. Tutor City will always provide tutors who are staying as close as possible to the student’s place for convenience. Of course, if the tutor drives, then location shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

In conclusion, there are several factors to consider when getting a home tutor, getting them right from the start is critical to ensure that money is well-spent. Parents should always bear this in mind: your children’s academic results is top priority. If you do not engage the correct tutors, it is not only a waste of money and time, but also delays to your children’s improvement in their grades.

Tuition fees - How do tutors charge?
Rates vary according to the tutor category and the level of the students, and it is usually counted at an hourly rate. View our latest tuition rates.

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.