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What kind of tutor should I opt for?

A market of tutors: how to choose wisely?

If you go to any tuition agency website, you will find a whole range of different

What kind of tutor should I opt for?

What kind of tutor should I opt for?

types of tutors available. They charge different rates according to their backgrounds, credentials and the levels they are teaching. If you read through a typical tuition rate table, you will realize that the qualifications of tutors range from polytechnics graduates all the way to full time teachers. Some charge a fee that is multiple times higher than others. Does it mean that the more expensive a tutor is, the better will be the tuition service? What are the ways in selecting a suitable tutor for your child?


Familiarity is the key

First, it is advisable to hire a tutor who is familiar with the field in which your child is having problems. High qualification or reputation doesn’t necessarily associate with familiarity. For example, if your child is facing challenges with JC chemistry, it would benefit your child more if you could hire an A-level graduate who just left junior college or a teacher who is teaching JC chemistry. A university student pursuing chemistry degree may not be the most ideal option, as the student may have lost touch with the specific knowledge taught in JC curriculum or answering techniques used in exams. Such a problem should especially be taken into account when your child is facing difficulties in subjects where substantial exams skills are involved, which require a tutor to be familiar and constantly updated with the specific skills needed to translate knowledge into good answers. For example, economics in JC is very different from economics in university, while mathematics in these two levels of education can be very similar in terms of exam skills. Hiring a tutor who ‘knows the stuff’ can greatly benefit your child in his/her learning process.


Specialist or GP?

The second area of consideration lies with the fact whether your child needs a ‘specialist’ or a ‘GP’. If your child faces problems in a particular subject, it may

What kind of tutor should I opt for?

What kind of tutor should I opt for?

lead parents to spend more money to hire a tutor who is very good in that area. Since your child’s problems are very focused, it is considered money well spent to have an expert to help your child overcome the challenges. However, if your child faces problems in a range of subjects, it’s time to call in a ‘general practitioner’, a tutor who is well versed in multiple related subjects. We often observe that a child who is weak in mathematics may also be weak in physics; a child who struggles with English may also be struggling with Social Studies or Economics. These are the symptoms of deeper problems. In the case of English and Social Studies, the deeper problem may be insufficient ability to read quickly, comprehend thoroughly and write clearly. Hence a tutor who has expertise in related subjects can tackle your child’s problems at one go. The tutor will discover the underlying problems by guiding your child through the study of multiple subjects. After knowing the problem, the tutor will be at a good position to prescribe cures. It is also more efficient to hire one tutor for related subjects, as the familiarity of the tutor with the situation of your child, as well as the bonding developed between the two persons, may go a long way to creating a fruitful tuition experience.


Reputation of tutors: necessary or not?

Lastly, we talk about reputation. Some private tutors have created a name for themselves. They produce good results and are therefore constantly referred to by other parents. They can charge as highly as 90 dollars per hour, which may be beyond the budget of many families. If you find it rather difficult to hire such an expensive tutor, it is advisable that you do not spend beyond your means: after all, more money spent doesn’t always lead to better results, and other areas of the family also pose financial demand. If you can afford their service easily, then money may not be an issue in deciding whom to hire, and you may refer to the previous two methods in selecting a tutor. If you are in the situation where you can afford an expensive tutor but find it uncomfortable spending too much, it’s an appropriate time for you to be clear about your aim of tuition. If your child just needs some extra help to have private consultation opportunities, an ordinary tutor will do the job perfectly. However, if your child faces chronic difficulties in certain subjects, doesn’t know where the problems are and is losing interest in the subject, a more expensive tutor with a strong reputation for delivering results can be considered.


Tuition has grown to be an industry in Singapore. While you may be confused about different types of tutor, be always clear about what your child’s problems are and what kind of assistance he/she may benefit from. Talk to your child to find out more. Finding a private tuition should always be a collective decision made by both the student and the parents.


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