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Top 5 Mistakes That All Tutors Should Avoid

Every parent in the world strives to provide the best opportunities to their children. And one of the ways they can do that is by hiring private tutors to enhance their children’s knowledge.

Private tuition sets up their child for future success and for that reason tutors have an enormous responsibility to deliver the goods they have promised.

Today home tutors in Singapore operate in an extremely competitive environment where one bad review can either make or break a tutoring career.

In order to earn a stellar reputation as a private tutor avoid making 5 mistakes listed below.

Eradicating those errors from your daily practice will help you grow your private tuition business and stand out from the competition.


1. No Ground Rules

Set clear ground rules from the very beginning and stick by them. 
This applies to both parents and students.

Tutors often make a mistake of trying too hard to be likeable and in pursuit of this they become excessively flexible. Of course, it is important to be polite however it is also important to establish some ground rules before home tutoring sessions have even started.

For example, you should discuss with the parents what are your policies regarding the cancellation of one or more lessons and lateness. Make sure to communicate your policies clearly to the parent and adhere to them throughout the entire course.

Such consistency will help you avoid wasting your time and losing potential revenue. As for children, home tutors should definitely try and formulate a different set of rules for them as well.

Make sure to explain to the child that there is a set of objectives which have to be met during each lesson. In an attempt to establish a friendly relationship with the child some tutors allow the children to set the terms of the lesson.

Although it is important to appear friendly, the child must understand that he will have to follow your lead during the lesson not vice versa.


2. Unrealistic goals

Home tuition, as I have already mentioned, is a rather competitive field, so sometimes in order to attract new clients private tutors set unrealistic expectations.

All parents want their children to acquire knowledge as soon as possible, so some of them may be tempted to opt for the tutor who promises them the moon and the stars in a period of mere months.

Remember, telling parents what they want to hear may fool some, but it is never a good long-term strategy.

Over-promising and under-delivering things as well as setting unrealistic deadlines is a recipe for disappointment. It might cause you to lose your existing clientele rather quickly and bad word of mouth and negative reviews may also deter any potential clients which will harm your career in the long term.


3. Lack of a Lesson Plan

Creating a custom lesson plan in advance is always a good idea. In a private tuition setting you are the one who is responsible for setting educational goals. For that reason having a lesson plan is a must.

It is always a good idea to divide the allotted time into easily manageable segments. Each part of the lesson can be devoted to a different activity.

Make sure to choose in advance the sources (e.g. books, articles) that are relevant to your educational objectives. Failure to do so will result in an erratic lesson and will make you appear less professional in the eyes of the parent.

Also it will be good if you communicate your short-term objectives to the child before the beginning of each lesson. If you are working with small children they might require a 5-minute break in the middle of the lesson to recharge their batteries. These must also be discussed in advance.

Outlining a clear path will not only make you appear more professional but it will also make the child more co-operative and compliant.



4. Don't be a lecturer - Be a mentor.

Some private tutors spend most of their lesson endlessly talking to their students explain complex notions in excruciating detail while their glassy-eyed pupils daydream about video games.

Remember what differentiates good home tutors from bad ones is not their ability to talk for hours on end but whether their students retain the information provided to them by their private tutors.

So turn your lessons into a fun collaborative activity and if your lesson does call for a lengthy monologue, make sure to intersperse it with questions addressed at your student to make sure that he or she is following the point you are trying to make.


5. Boring your students out. Make the lesson fun!

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Experts say that the current generation is the most tested generation in the history of the world.

Children today are under enormous pressure both from their parents and the society to be the best and the most studious versions of themselves.

Last thing they want from their private tuition is more of the same tedious teaching experience. It will be a good idea if you include some game-based tasks in your lessons that are not only educational but also entertaining.

There is a large number of online tools and elearning applications that have successfully combined education and fun. Utilising these resources during your lessons will make your students more motivated.

Devoting 5 minutes at the end of the lesson to these fun activities will help to foster students' positive attitude towards the class you teach.

Such activities, strategically placed at the end of the lesson, can also be used as a bargaining chip to motivate the student to successfully complete all of the previous tasks.


Of course this is not an exhaustive list of all the things home tutors need to do to hone their skills to perfection.

However by being consistent in following these essential and simple rules you will be able to differentiate yourself from other home tutors in Singapore, acquire the reputation of a respectable and professional private tutor and grow your client base.

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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.