The tuition industry is extremely extensive in Singapore with the competitive academic pursuit.
Parents scramble to look for tuition for their children to make sure that they are keeping up with their academic expectations, and sometimes, students look for tuition to help themselves. Tutoring has now become a high demand job.
But there are two types of tuition: group tuition and private tuition.
It is widely known that private tutors solicit higher rates as compared to group tuition, because of the one-to-one attention that the student will be getting. However, is giving private tuition really worth it?
Which one is more suitable for you?
As a group tutor, the tuition centre will handle the administrative matters which includes the registration of the students. You just need to show up for your classes.
However, this would mean that you will have no say in the number of students that are allocated to you. You might have extremely big classes, and some tuition centres might even combine students of different levels in order to scrimp on their resources, which can give you a headache in ensuring a smooth lesson.
There would be a lot of students that you have to divide your attention amongst, and that also means more homework to mark.
As a private tutor, you will have to source your own students. Some private tutors recruit their students through personal relations, but otherwise, you can find your private students through an agency.
Of course, this means that you have control over the number of students you want to take up, and you can choose to handle only one student at a time.
Having one-to-one student(s) can mean an unstable income as your existing student might also cancel on you at any time, and you might need to find another student.
This is why it is important that you keep up a good impression and relationship with the student and their parents, and enforce regular schedules to avoid frequent cancellation of classes.
As a group tutor at a tuition centre, teaching materials are usually provided. Those include past-year papers, practice papers, notes, and even a whiteboard, markers and pens.
Although this may sound convenient, it also means that you have little control over the lesson plans and materials that you may have prepared for the lesson.
On the other hand, if you choose to be a private tutor, you will have to source the materials yourself. Many tutors head to bookstores to get textbooks or assessment books, which can be very costly, especially if they are teaching a student of a higher level.
You need to discuss with the parent or student beforehand if they will be paying an extra fee for you to obtain the materials. Some parents and students expect the cost of the materials to be included in your existing rate.
Communication with parents
As a private tutor, you are in direct contact with the students’ parents, which means you could have to deal with the expectations, complaints and questions from the parents, on your own.
Some parents will even request to sit in during class to observe your teaching. Hence, there is that added level of stress on you as a private tutor.
As a group tutor, the parents will mostly communicate with the receptionists at the tuition centre and any of the parents’ complaints are mostly born by the company.
Ultimately, what matters to the parents is how much their child learns and the results that they achieve, so choose the environment in which you think would work best for your teaching style.
Flexibility in timings
As a private tutor, you can enjoy much more flexibility in your classes. You can communicate with your student or their parents if you are unable to make it to class, and ask for a make-up lesson.
However, as a group tutor with multiple students, it is difficult to rearrange the lesson timing and the tuition centre will probably have to find a replacement tutor for that class. You will also have to answer to the centre by applying for leave.
In both circumstances, you will still need to be responsible as a tutor by informing either your student, their parents or the tuition centre in advance if you are not able to make it.
Managing the class
Of course, managing a group of students is definitely going to be more difficult as compared to just managing one. It might be more stressful as a group tutor, having to ensure that the noise level is down and your students are behaving.
It is also difficult to handle students with different learning paces and standards at once, making sure that they are catching up with the class.
Since the parents are usually at home observing the lesson for private tuition, the children are more likely to behave as well.
As a tutor, you have to make sure that the student is paying attention and catching on with the lesson.
Group tuition and private tuition are both still equally popular due to the pros and cons that each of them offers. Decide on what you prioritise in your job as a tutor and make a choice that is suitable for you.
If you are a parent also considering whether group or private tuition is better for your child, read our article for parents here!