Do you have certain perceptions of tutoring that are stopping you from becoming a tutor? Or are you considering signing up as a tutor?
You’ll need to first read this article!
Being a tutor is a special job like no other, which can be commonly misunderstood due to the specific nature of the tuition industry.
I will address some of the most common misconceptions about tutoring in this article.
Myth #1: Tutoring is easy money
Many see tutoring as a job that draws a pretty decent pay for shorter working hours as compared to other usual corporate jobs. If you’ve read our other article, you’ll know that private part-time tutors can earn $480 a month while full-time tutors can earn $5000 a month.
But you shouldn’t jump into tutoring solely as a money-making opportunity, because being a tutor entails much more than that.
Tutoring is a special job that does not just focus on clocking in hours. It requires a lot of compassion, patience and passion to teach and help, and not everyone is suited to be a tutor.
It is part of the ethical responsibility of a tutor to give it your fullest to help your student improve in their academics through your own unique methods.
You will also need to maintain a certain standard when you’re tutoring because the student or parent can choose to replace you at any time if you’re not meeting their expectations.
You are compensated fairly for what you need to give, so it is not really that “easy” to be a tutor.
Myth #2: Spending a bulk of your earnings on lesson materials
When thinking about the good pay that comes from private tutoring, many would also think about the expenses. Since tutoring is a self-directed job, you would often have to source for your own materials to teach with.
But you don’t have to spend a bomb on assessment books and past-year papers for your students.
Alternatively, you could also create your own resources by setting your own questions. In fact, you don’t have to restrict yourself to just questions.
Many tutors have now moved towards hands-on learning for their students and you can create fun activities that will help their students to learn in an engaging manner.
You can make use of simple materials like flashcards and sticky notes that you can find at home.
Tuition materials do not have to be expensive for them to be effective.
Myth #3: Have to spend a lot of time outside of your lessons working
Planning your lessons will definitely help your teaching be smoother and marking your students’ work is essential, but you don’t necessarily have to leave all the work after your class.
Gauge whether you are spending an appropriate and necessary amount of time for the rate that you’re soliciting.
Say, if you’re charging a high rate for your quality lesson plans, it would be worth it for you to invest good time in it.
Managing your personal time as a tutor is also important. You can squeeze in some time during your lessons to mark your students’ work, like when your student is working on their questions.
This can save you a lot of time and help you to achieve a better work-life balance so that you’re not spending too much unnecessary time on tutoring.
But of course, you should prioritise your students during the lesson and not neglect them.
Myth #4: Work-life balance is not possible as a tutor
This is another point on work-life balance — as you can tell, work-life balance is one of the biggest challenges for tutors.
It is common for students to encounter many problems when they’re doing their homework and they have not much choice but to turn to their teachers and tutors.
But they may have many questions especially nearing their exam periods, and you may have multiple students, which might become too much for you to handle.
This is why it is important for you to set boundaries as a tutor.
You’re not obligated to tutor outside of your lesson time. You can help them when you have free time, but you shouldn’t spend all of your personal time continuing to tutor.
Caring for your students is important but you also should not do it 24/7 as you also have other preparations such as marking their work and preparing for lessons.
Take the time off that you need and just ensure that you are very present with them during your lesson time.
Myth #5: It’s just going through your student’s work
This has been an age-old practice of tuition. But many tutors nowadays have discovered that they can actually do a lot more with the precious time that they have with their students.
Since you are in charge, you can choose to conduct the lesson in any way that you think can benefit the student.
You can bring them on a learning journey (with their parents’ consent, of course), play educational games with them, get them to move around and be active etc. The possibilities are endless.
Myth #6: You can only be a tutor if you have certain qualifications
While it is true that some parents are actively seeking tutors with higher qualifications and are willing to pay more for them because they might be more experienced, it is not guaranteed that qualifications will secure you students and high pay.
Vice versa, it doesn’t mean that you are not able to get students or earn a high amount if you don’t have as many qualifications.
Even if some tutors may be very qualified to teach, they may not know how to adapt to each individual student and utilise suitable teaching methods for them. The student isn’t able to learn effectively and their parents wouldn’t want to continue engaging the tutor either.
On the flip side, a part-time undergraduate tutor could also be very familiar with the recent syllabus and perhaps can relate to the students’ needs because of the smaller age gap.
Sometimes, an “unqualified” tutor is still able to help many students, and with their effective results, they might be able to request higher rates and have more students.
Ultimately, it still boils down to your teaching capabilities. If you are able to teach well, you will have your well-deserved referrals and can ask to be paid fairly.
Myth #7: Tuition is for weak students
This myth might ring true in the past, but nowadays, almost every student has had some form of tuition, regardless of their standards.
Students want to be the best and parents only want the best for their children. With the competitive education system especially in Singapore, the last thing that parents and students want is to fall behind. Even students who are already topping the class would want to secure their grades so that they don’t slip.
Many are willing to spend an arm and a leg on quality tuition so that their child is able to obtain excellent academic results which can open many doors for them in the future.
This means that tutors nowadays have to be prepared to coach students who are already academically strong but help them to go a step further and ensure their good progress.
Tutoring has changed tremendously over the years, be it its demand, the awareness of tutors’ rights and boundaries, the freedom of lesson activities.
I hope that this article has cleared some of the misconceptions that you may have had and perhaps it has propelled you to want to become a tutor.
But before doing so, be sure that you know what to expect in this unique profession.
Want more advice for tutors? Click here to read our other articles.