If you’ve read the article ‘Super tutors who earn at least $1m a year‘ published on May 23, 2016 by the Straits Times, you may be contemplating a career move to become a full-time tutor.
Hopefully, you realize that only the top 0.1% of tutors can make that kind of money. And if you’re the top 0.1% in any industry, you can be sure to make more than $1m per year!
If you’re more realistic, maybe you heard that full-time tutors can make over $10,000 per month and in your mind you’re thinking of all the perks of being a full-time tutor, such as having freedom of being a freelancer. (Bye-bye, boss!)
But before you take the plunge, is full-time tutoring as good as it sounds? Let’s find out in this article about the 7 ugly truths about full-time tutoring in Singapore, compiled by feedback from our many full-time home tutors over the years.
1. No Paid Holidays, Annual Leave, or Sick Leave Benefits
A lot of MOE teachers who are used to having long paid breaks during school holidays are unpleasantly surprised when they transition to become full-time tutors.
As a freelancer, you only get paid when you work. That means not getting paid when you’re sick, when you take leave, or when you go on holidays.
You earn higher as a private tutor but you need to work harder (day & night), your health might be at risk & family relations might be neglected. If you fall sick, you are at risk without income.
2. Goodbye to Weekends and Holidays
Other people can go on holiday during off-peak season but most of the time full-time tutors have to continue working over the school holidays to keep up with parents and students’ demands.
It is very tough to take holiday trips as a full-time tutor due to amount of rescheduling you have to work out amongst your 30-40 groups of students.
Furthermore, private tutors usually work Mondays to Sundays. Nowadays, students get back from their CCAs only in the evenings, so get ready to spend your nights working until about 9.30 to 10pm. Your weekends and weeknights will be burnt.
3. You’ll Miss out on Social life
As a home tutor, you won’t have colleagues in your age group, or even any colleagues at all. Your daily interactions will be limited to your students and their parents on the job.
You must be mentally prepared to face the fact that you will lose out heavily on your social life and it’ll be difficult to expand your social circle or mingle with adults, as your schedule dictates that you’re working whenever others get off work.
4. No Constant Income
This is another ugly fact. As a freelancer, your job is not only to teach but to find students. Filling your schedule will be more difficult than you imagine, as the demand for tuition can vary widely at different points in the year, depending on whether it is the beginning of the year or nearing exam periods.
Assuming you are quite successful in tutoring and have no problems filling your schedule, your income will still not be constant, simply due to cancellations and postponements made by students all the time. Often, parents also request for long breaks as they take their kids for holidays.
No, you can’t make them pay you even if no tuition is given. At least in most cases, you can’t.
5. It Can Get Boring
This may come as a surprise especially if you think you have a strong passion in teaching.
But do realize that if you are teaching on particular subject, you will have to explain the same concepts and teach the same things over and over again. It can definitely get boring.
You will have to find ways to spice up your lessons, not just to interest your students but more for yourself so that you can last longer in this profession.
6. You’ll Face Unreasonable Parents
If you have previous experiences, you’ll agree that Singaporean parents are no joke when it comes to matters concerning their kids’ education.
Our tutors tell us the worse-case scenario (which happens quite often) is when you tutor a kid who is lazy and unmotivated, and the parents expect you to be the cure for everything.
In this profession, you’ll have to be answerable to parents and often times no matter how hard you try, you’ll never meet their expectations.
7. It Might Take a Toll on Your Health
Last but not least, most people don’t realize how physically, emotionally, and psychologically taxing teaching can be. As you tutor 40, 50 hours each week, over time you’ll start to realize that toll its taking on your health, especially throat problems and fatigue.
Then you’ll ask yourself, is this all worth it?
Perhaps, but maybe not.