Concerns About Listing Criteria And Displaying List of Permanently Excluded Tutors
An applicant who made a submission to list with us felt unsettled by the manner in which our tutors were chosen, which led her to inform us about her opinions (her identity has been kept anonymous to protect her privacy):
I explored your site in greater detail yesterday after submitting my application as per your invitation and realised that, going by the stringent criteria you have set for the subject experts to be listed in your site, my qualifications (as you would see in my A level and University Certificates; I have included my transcripts as well) seem to fall short of the bar set. May I know how you came across my profile to extend the invite to me?
I do not really concur with all the criteria/components you set in being a expert tutor, though i must admit it is a good move into regulating the tutoring industry in Singapore.Anyway since I have submitted the application, I guess this is a form of 'appraisal' for my work as well. I have also benefited much from the resources you have shared on your site. So thank you, and the other subject experts for being generous with their resources which will push me to the next level should I not be listed."
The Initial Response:
"Thank you for your thoughtful feedback. We are never a passive organization simply sitting around twiddling our thumbs whilst waiting for applicants to come forward; we dispatch representatives to actively seek out potential candidates who have advertised their services through various newspapers and online platforms, as such this is very likely how we came to know about you.
Somehow I feel your disagreement lies largely with our mandatory requirement of a good personal academic track record as far as the applicant is concerned, however we do not feel such demands are all that unreasonable. Excellent grades alone do not definitely a good tutor maketh, but poor grades definitely a mediocre tutor maketh. A person who cannot even get his own house in proper order (grades-wise) is in no position to instruct others. Besides, imagine if a student suddenly learns that his tutor was previously a straight Cs graduate from a third tier junior college, do you really think a lump will not form in his throat? Do you really think he will not contemplate hiring a replacement?
In addition, if you will allow me to quote something I wrote a long while ago:
"We will not accept any Tom, Dick, Harry, Mary or Jane just because you are a university undergrad who graduated from RI or HCI with straight As. Read: Green and inexperienced. While personal academic achievements are important, they do not form the entire core of our consideration process.
Unless you have something to show for in your tutoring record for which sets you apart from the rest, you belong to the thousands of ordinary chaps who pop up all over the island year after year trying to earn some pocket money through teaching. You should just go register with a tuition agency."
When I first created Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts nearly two years ago, I am unafraid to admit I faced a significant backlash from the public. Alone all by myself back then, if I may add. Many felt this was an elitist farce staged by an insolent stuck-up. As time passes and I worked hard to shape my vision of things, a greater number came to appreciate and support what this tutoring portal truly stood for. We are not a mere collection of pretty faces on display; we are serious workhorses dedicated to the consistent delivering of quality offerings within the education industry to the masses, confused or discerning regardless.
Our editors have begun processing your application to list within Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts, should a positive outcome arise eventually, rest assured it will be communicated to you. In any case, we wish you all the best in your tutoring endeavors. :) "
Her Follow-Up E-Mail:
"Thank you for your detailed reply in addressing my concerns raised.
I have had visited the profiles of some of the subject experts on your list and did note a couple were not from your aforementioned list of top JCs and had made it to the list based on their other outstanding merits. So I do acknowledge that your team does not just judge based on a stellar academic record throughout but also on the individual's contributions to the tutoring industry.
I do agree to a large extent the academic record is an important and not entirely unreasonable criteria. Having come from a secondary school with a good track record, I also had the chance to compare some of the offerings my school equipped me with to some of my primary friends who went to neighborhood, or more lacklustre secondary schools. Also, from my personal experience, mentioning the names of any of my alma maters does command a certain level of trust and increase of confidence from the parents/students. So yes, in answer to your questions, I have experienced the benefits of having graduated from some of the best schools. Of course, that is also where the real work begins, to be able to carry out my work in accordance to my track record. And again from personal experience, putting aside this track record, what boils down at the end of the day, besides possessing the skills to help the child, is still the dedication to my work and communication with the parents.
My main concern actually lies with the list you have chosen to put up ie the List of Permanent Tutor Exclusions. Although I understood that the intention of having such a list is aligned with your vision in sieving out the best, I felt that the call to attention to the names listed (whether or not they are just individuals in it for the money or tuition centres reputable or otherwise) may in some way, or another, have certain adverse influence. Although I have not come across your site until I received your invite, I do note that your team has also built a rather large following in the number of visitors to your site. And with all good intentions in mind, I did wonder if having such a list may affect the select few who do have the heart and soul in teaching, but their inexperience or lack of other qualifications otherwise, makes them fall short of the list.
After all, as you did also mention in your site, "However strict our selection/filtering process be (which include conducting interviews for certain potential listings), things can still fall through the cracks", there is a possibility that the scenario of a tutor-student misfit may occur even in the case of a listed expert tutor. I have also read forum feedback of parents who have signed up for the class of a "Super Tutor" as reported by Straits Times only to find that the tutor was not what the report had painted him/her to be. Hence on the flip side of the coin, would not having an exclusion list be drawing undesirable and unnecessary attention to the tutors who were unable to make it to the list by your stipulated criteria, but may not possess any less the passion to teach. Now, I am not speaking for all of the tutors you have chosen to place on that list, but the possible dedicated and potential few. Yes, your team has emphasized that this list does not equate to a black list, but the calling of attention to such a list, I would like to ask, the rationale and necessity of it.
I am also unafraid to admit that this also arises from my own personal concern as well, especially when I realized my academic record has definitely fallen short of the stipulated criteria, and my contributions to the tutoring industry are not as extensive as your list of experts. I make no excuse for my lacks, but I do hope to receive your reply with regards to having a list in place calling to attention to tutors your team has permanently excluded, which I feel with your site's growing influence, may in turn, turn off the potential and dedicated tutors having no less the amount of commitment to be put in. After all, I'm sure that's what we are hoping and looking towards, a pool of qualified AND dedicated tutors in our education industry.
To note, I am in no way, against your vision. After all, as I have mentioned, I feel this is a good move into tutor regulation in Singapore, which is a necessary move given its growth. Some have mentioned the necessity of such a move, but it takes more than a few brave souls to be able to take steps in this direction, so your efforts as a team are to be applauded. I will still continue to follow your site closely regardless of the result of my application."
Our Response To This:
"The exclusion list has been instituted on orders of the management, as such I am not in a position to share with you the set of reasons behind such an action. That said, I believe at the very least it will give a clear indication (to the public) of the tutors whom we endorse, and those whom we don't. While heart and soul are qualities strongly valued, they unfortunately cannot take the place of actual ability. Wishing you a good week ahead :)"
The Czar (Site Founder)
Dated 17 March 2014
Special Note: This tutor's application to list with us has been rejected.
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