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5 Challenges of being a Tutor

Some think that working as a tutor is a piece of cake. Because it is not a full-time 8 hour job, it must be  easy peasy,  as long as you study the syllabus, that’s enough. Wrong.  Like most jobs, there are good days and bad days, ups and downs, challenges and triumphs.

  1. Students are too active/slow.

slow and active kids


We all know that every child has his/her own learning pace. There will be times in which you encounter a fast learner who easily gets bored of the lesson. There will also be occasions in which you meet a slow learner and no matter how many times you repeat the lesson, he or she does not understand. When in this situation, you will need to have extra dosage of patience.

As a tutor, be prepared for the unexpected, we should adapt our learning strategies to our client while maintaining the integrity of tutoring principles.

  1. The student is not interested.

Well, this is quite normal, because they are kids,  they’re still thinking about other things like playing with their friends, going out, etc. It’s totally understandable. The challenge here is to catch their attention and keep them interested. Unlike formal teaching for children, tuition is student centred. This means that the students have to motivate themselves too. The tutor can only do so much.  Even if the tutor is the smartest and creative tutor in the planet, without total participation from the student the lesson will end up in nought.

  1. Hatred of Tutors

Have you had a student who doesn’t cooperate with you because she dislikes you? As a tutor who teaches a small group of students over the long haul, it is important to establish relationship with them.

Establish good tutor and tutee relationship

Some tutors misunderstood the concept of tutoring and neglect the ‘inspiration and motivation’ part of the recipe.  As long as the child get As in PSLE, that’s it. I’m done. This results in a boot camp type of tutoring, “Answer this!”, “Answer that!”, “That’s wrong, what’s wrong with you?” This cause students to not only hate tutors, but also hate learning altogether.

What every tutor and “would-be-tutor” should know is that being a tutor is like being the supplemental vitamin for the child. Unlike food which targets all the main parts of the body, the vitamins focus on the specific parts, like Vitamin A focuses on our eyesight. Same goes with tutoring. We focus on where the child is weak, we help them, not torment them with additional assignments. Notice how vitamins are purposely made to taste delicious and sweet? All tutors should be like that- (well, not delicious) sweet, that every encounter is memorable and inspiring, not stiff such that the child feels like an educated slave.

  1. Creativity Blocked

Even writers suffer from this mental blockage. When your creative juices are all dried up and you can’t seem to come up with something that will help kill the monotony of your session. Well, don’t fret, this is normal.  In order to avoid this, the tutor must also be observant to his/her tutees likes and interest. Say, you noticed that your tutees sport is Archery. Find something that talks about Archery in your next reading material, this will help boost your tutees interest and motivation.

  1. High Expectation

high expectations

We are programmed to think that those who score well in exams are the only ones who will excel and be rich in the future. This heightens the importance of academic excellence and demands one to have a tutor. This way of thinking is a double edged sword, it is good that our society is aiming for excellence over mediocrity, but this also creates stress over the student and the tutor.

Because you are teaching at close range everyone thinks that you can make the child smart in an instant. Everyone expects that you can transform the child from average to first-honor-type of student in class.  It breaks my heart to admit, but NO, tutors cannot guarantee to make a child extra-smart in a small period of time, like everything else, it all takes time and effort.  But the one thing that tutors can guarantee is that they can make the child’s learning experiences more meaningful and less abstract.

By having a tutor, they can express the questions that they can’t express in class, this is an advantage for the student because both the tutor and the tutee can work on the heart of the problem immediately.

So there you go, the most common challenges that every tutor face and that all depends on how you deal with it. Like most jobs, it can be made easier through cooperation, collaboration and constant communication with the tutee, parents and community.






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