It is estimated that at least 95% of Singapore students have had a tutor before. Singaporeans spend twice as much as the global average for their children’s education, and the tuition industry in Singapore is worth over 1 billion, based on the Household Expenditure Survey 20
17/2018 conducted by the Department of Statistics.
It is clear that tutors are in high demand, and a career as a full-time tutor can be lucrative. If you are considering joining the education industry as a tutor in Singapore, here are a few things you
1. Choosing What Subject and Level to Teach
You should teach subjects that you both enjoy and excel at. You need to be enthusiastic teaching the subject to be able to get your students to be interested in learning.
Concurrently, you also need to be practical. Core subjects such as mathematics, science, and English language are high in demand, while other subjects such as history or geography may have less demand.
You may also consider how many subjects you would like to teach. While you may achieve expertise faster if you focus only on teaching a particular subject, it is also possible that different age groups of students may have different demands. For instance, for younger students such as those in the primary level, it may be more reasonable to be able to teach multiple subjects because parents may prefer having only one private tutor for many of their children's classes rather than hiring multiple tutors.
2. Education and Qualification
There are JC and polytechnic students that have started giving private home tuition during their free time. However, typically to become a full-time tutor, you would need to at least graduate from JC or Polytechnic. Such qualifications are necessary considerations for parents, and often they turn out to be the deciding factor in hiring one tutor over another.
Moreover, the higher your educational qualifications the better, especially if your major is related to the subjects you are teaching. Obtaining your Bachelor's degree or pursuing even higher education may set you apart from other aspiring tutors in the parents' eyes, and give you the necessary expertise to teach your chosen subjects well.
3. Tuition is a Service
Ultimately, tuition is a service. It is not merely about whether or not you are good at a particular subject/level. You need to be able to make your tutees comfortable. They need to be able to trust you, so they may follow your guidance well. Every student is different and you need to be able to understand their individual needs. Adapt your teaching approach depending on the student, and they will be able to get comfortable around you faster.
4. Preparing for Lessons
You should always prepare for each tuition lesson in advance. When you are new to tutoring, it may take some time to get a hang of it. Here are some tips that will help:
Do your research on the latest syllabus, as there are constant changes to the curriculum (and probably a lot of changes from when you were a student yourself).
Do the research and get a few materials you can rely on, selectively choose assessment books that are in line with the latest syllabus, as well as past year papers that you can use to compile the practice questions for your tutees.
When preparing each lesson plan, do have extra materials ready in case you finish through the planned lesson materials faster than you expected.
5. Getting your First Students
As a private tutor, your job is not only limited to being able to teach well. You also need to be able to find students for yourself. Finding your first students may be the most difficult period as a tutor. You may also consider gaining experience by starting with volunteering less-privileged students as a start. Here are some suggestions you may want to consider when starting your tutoring journey:
a. Consider giving free trial lessons to potential students
Parents tend to be more sceptical when they see a tutor that does not have much tutoring experience yet. Offering them a chance to see your tutoring skills and how you interact with the students can be a good way to increase their confidence in engaging you as their children’s tutor.
b. Start by offering a lower rate than you’d like
You may also want to start with a lower rate for your tuition service. As you do a good job with your first students and gain experience, you can slowly increase your rate accordingly.
c. Join home tuition agencies
There are a lot of private tuition agencies in Singapore. Most tuition agencies would charge 50% of the first month of tuition fee for each student introduced by them. Typically they would arrange for the student/parent to pay the first 2 weeks' lesson fee directly to the agency, and afterwards, direct to you. Build a good relationship with the tuition coordinators you are in contact with so they would remember you when they find potentially suitable students!
If you're looking to join a tuition agency, register as a tutor here at MindWorks!
d. Use social media to market yourself
You may want to consider creating an Instagram or Facebook page as a way to market yourself. You may start with sharing tips and resources online for students that need it, and eventually, when some students need a tutor they may approach you for your service. As the number of your student grows, you could also share testimonials to convince potential students/parents to engage you.
Nearing the examination period, you need to prepare more than usual. Students will look to you to deliver mock exam papers or past year papers to them. You should also make sure to stay updated of any changes to that year’s exam (if any).
7. Online lessons
With the world changing to a more digital one and with the current COVID-19 situation in Singapore, more and more parents/students opt for the online alternative. In Singapore, during the Circuit Breaker from 7th April to 1st June 2020 as well as Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from 19th May to 13th June 2021, no face-to-face tuition is allowed. During this period, the only option to continue with tuition is to do online lessons.
Even after this period, being flexible to conduct online tuition could be advantageous. Not only can you reach out to students that stay further away, but some students may also find online tuition to be more effective in their learning.
Being a tutor in Singapore is definitely not easy. The industry is competitive, but if you put in the time and effort to help your students improve and thrive, you can succeed at being a good tutor. It is incredibly rewarding when you see your students succeed after months of hard work!
Considering becoming a tutor? Register now!