With tuition quickly becoming something every student has to go through at some point in his or her unfortunate schooling life, all kinds of tutors with all kinds of experience and qualifications have popped up offering all sorts of services, promising better results. While most tutors at tuition centres around the island are open to scrutiny by paying customers, private tutors are a more discreet and exclusive lot that charge a premium for personalised attention. Here are some things you may not have known about these elusive home educators.
They don’t earn ridiculous amounts of money.
The media has a bad habit of highlighting one-off events, and the impression that private tutors earn big bucks is something that is a result of that. The fact is that many private tutors only do tuition as a means of side income, because it is not all that easy to find a student that will stick with them for an extended period of time; this is better for the results of the student as well as the economic well-being of the tutor. Thus, private tutors tend to be more selective with their students.
They know that most students only need monitoring.
Despite the large number of students opting for extra help beyond the classroom, the majority of students actually only need someone to closely monitor their work. These students are simply too distracted in school, lack self-discipline and have a short attention span. To private tutors, these students are a godsend – give them work, go through the work with them, collect fees. Cha-ching!
They know what a teacher can’t do in a classroom.
Private tutors know that teachers in school cannot focus on certain things like revealing the mechanics behind a marking scheme and the reasoning behind setting certain examinations. They also know that understanding these things will help a student to identify what exactly they need to know, and filter out the extra content that is simply filler material in their notes and textbook. To the student, the tutor seems like a psychic; to the tutor, they simply know what the examination syllabus is looking for.
They charge a premium because they can.
Many parents baulk at the price private tutors charge them, opting to go for cheaper lessons at large franchised tuition centres until they realise that they are simply paying someone to give and mark extra homework for their children. Most private tutors charge a premium because they can simply earn more money doing something else instead of spending their precious evenings and weekends trying to help a student get better grades.
Their lives are upside down.
Full-time tutors live a life that is the exact opposite of every working adult in Singapore. When everyone is working, they’re dawdling at home; when people are out enjoying themselves, they’re struggling to help their students. It can be a lonesome, tiring existence at times, especially when you can’t meet all your friends and family for dinner or gatherings all the time.
They don’t really have holidays.
Tutors don’t take term breaks like schools do. Most students continue with tuition regardless of public or school holidays, because that is what tuition is exactly for – extra academic help outside of school. Thus, most tutors don’t have breaks except during major holidays like Chinese New Year and Hari Raya. Moreover, even when their students go for a holiday with their family, another student will still be carrying on.