A good number of Singaporeans have taken part in the billion-dollar teaching industry in one way or another. This may have been by attending tuition classes when they were kids and they may currently be sending their young ones for tuition. Or they maybe are moonlighting as private tutors to make a living from this profession. But while experienced full-time tutors are able to bring in over million bucks per year, there are a lot of part-time and rookie tutors who are struggling to make it.
Below-listed is 4 pitfalls that you need to stay away from when beginning your tutoring career.
Not Being Strict With Your Time
In many occasions, new tutors tend not to be strict with their time. This means they often end up giving too many overtime sessions each time they are with their students. Every now and then, you may need some extra 20 minutes to work on an assignment with your students. However, the problem is, you are being paid for only 1.5-2 hours that you were hired for as a private teacher. When you do extra 30 minutes overtime towards the end of a 1.5-hour session can be quite different compared to when you are doing 30 minutes overtime after an 8 hour days worth of work.
Given that you have several students, all this overtime will really add up leaving you completely worn out. Regardless of how much you are concerned about your students, it is advisable that you be strict with your hours. Except for when you are completely certain that you can put in some extra time without you getting paid for them. When you need to, you can break down the lessons into much smaller parts. This way you can assign different tasks time of its own. For example, 15 minutes can be for going through homework, 30 minutes can be for teaching new material and so forth.
When you repeatedly find that you aren’t able to finish a session within the fixed time, it may be the time you discussed with the parents regarding adding an extra session or even extending the lesson period.
Taking Assignments That Are Far Away
Rookie tutors have a tendency to take on any assignments that earn them a decent rate. But be very careful when your student lives far away from your workplace or home. While the commute time is more than 1hour going and another hour going back, for you to give a 1.5-hour session and for which you get paid $45 using a $30/hour rate.
This actually means you spend 3.5 hours every time you travel to that student’s house and back. This means as a private tutor you are well earning merely $12.86 an hour. Therefore when you are teaching several students in a one day, taking long commutes for every one of the students means the number of students you can take on is very limited.
For the tutors who do not have their own transport means, and one of your student lives very far and they really want you to tutor them -for example since you were recommended by one of his friends- you may try negotiating transport surcharge of about $10-$20 for each lesson.
Working With Non-Paying Clients
It is very unfortunate that very many private tutors end up getting burnt by their non-paying students. Normally students generally pay after every four lessons that are a single class per week or maybe after eight lessons when you are giving two classes each week. Many times, during the very last session before students are to graduate, sit for their final exams or maybe leave on vacation, the student or parent tend to “forget” to prepare their fees. It can be difficult for you trying to collect the fee from the students now that they don’t need you.
To prevent this from happening, some private tutors insist they be paid in cash after every lesson. Better yet, you can have the parents pay the whole month tuition sessions up front on the first session of every month. When you get paid in advance, you will also be protected in case a student all of a sudden cancels a session.
Tuition Sessions Being Cancelled At The Last Minute
Last minute cancellation of tuition sessions is a problem for in all tutors’ life. This on many occasions means the tutor does not get paid for the session. This, for most tutors, means that a slot gets wasted of which they might have booked in another student. In order for you to get around such a situation, it is advisable that you draw up an agreement every time you start teaching a new student. Always ensure that their parents have signed it. You can also work on getting your students to make payments a monthly basis for the entire month’s sessions.
Once you have put a tutoring agreement in place it will make it possible for you to impose penalties for all lessons cancelled within less than a day in advance. Whether you put this into effect or not mostly depend on you. But you need to be able at least to do so especial if a student constantly keeps cancelling sessions at the last minute simply because they would rather spend the evening playing on the Xbox. Often, when a student knows that they will be charged every time they do a last minute cancellation is reason enough to make students show more respect for your time.
There are many Singaporeans who are moonlighting as a private tutor. While many experienced full-time tutors are very successful, there are part-time and rookie tutors are struggling to make it. To be successful, there are plenty of ways to go about getting new students, promoting your reputation and keeping mindful of the pitfalls mentioned above.
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