List of Key Considerations Before Hiring A Tutor Part 2

This is the second part of a list of considerations we strongly advise hiring parents to take note of prior to engaging a tutor. (Read Part 1 HERE )

5. Location

Are lessons to be conducted at your place, or theirs? Should the tutor be willing to coach your child in the comfort of your own home, such an arrangement would be godsent. (Assuming you don’t hold a mini bazaar sales in the living room area every fortnight, which is more the exception rather than the norm anyways.)

If the premise is a tuition centre, then this is pretty much a no-brainer as far as who goes to who is concerned. Then there are some tutors who insist students make a trip over to their residence, else the deal is off.

The question which would subsequently linger in the mind is that of proximity. Near your house? Great. Near your child’s school? Not too bad. On the other end of the island? Unless you can afford to have your precious one chauffeured around with relative ease, consider making a different hire. That’s right, look for someone else. The world won’t end just because your child couldn’t seek enlightenment from the Great Maths Sensei of Nee Soon South. There’s always the Maths Guru of Tampines North located a mere 5 minutes’ walk from your flat and who is capable of doing an equally terrific job.

6. Group Or 1-1 Tuition

The debate on which is better has been going on for the longest time. We say: to each his/her own. Group tuition typically involves markedly lower fees per student since education business owners usually strive for volume based profit-margins. Would benefit above-average students most since all they are looking for are outside school-classroom clarifications and the occasional push to grease their learning wheels. However good the tutor is, constantly walking around attempting to bring everyone up to speed in their work, don’t expect any particular individual to receive prolonged periods of undivided attention. Probably an extra couple minutes worth of personal guidance, that’s about it. The whiteboard eventually beckons, so does the rest of the class.

Which is why the academically poorer ones should definitely consider one on one assistance. Teaching methods can be tweaked much more flexibly to suit the single tutee’s needs and lesson tempo adjusted so he/she doesn’t have to play the exhausting game of catch-up. Not forgetting a shy rabbit would feel less inhibited to raise doubts during sessions in absence of a dozen other pair of eyes possibly focusing on him/her when speaking up.

7. Trial lesson

Some tutors offer a preliminary “test-run”, while others don’t. However, it won’t hurt to ask if such an option is available since at times this is construed as an implicit, special arrangement not obviously spelt out. Whether a tutor decides to give a trial lesson is something more of a personal preference and mindset, hardly an indication of lesser confidence and semi-competence. Still, if the request for a try-out session is granted, go for it. What’s the worst that could possibly happen? You walking away to call up someone else instead, and becoming a wee bit poorer in the pocket after paying for the trial lesson.

8. Generalist Or Specialist Tutor

It is not at all uncommon for tutors to be capable of coping with a wide range of subjects at the primary and lower secondary school levels since the knowledge imparted is rather broad-based. However, for upper secondary school and junior college levels, various subjects are taught in far much greater detail and the associated information mass becomes gargantuan, hence hiring a single person to handle everything in the name of “having your money’s worth” is plain unwise. In all likelihood, you have gotten yourself a jack of all trades who skims surfaces rather than visits depths. Settle only for subject specialists. We define them as being tremendously proficient in the tutoring of one (or at most two) subjects, nothing more.

And there you have it, the second part of our list of recommendations. What are some of the things/signs you should look out for in the initial stages after a tutor is hired? Should you stick to your hire on a long term basis or give him/her the sack? Read HERE to find out.


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