Teaching is a very fulfilling job. Most people who go into teaching do it because of the passion they have for teaching young children new things. Watching them learn is a joy. Seeing them grow in the knowledge you have imparted is a life achievement.
However, teaching isn’t just about being passionate. Teaching also involves patience. Children are very precocious beings. At the age they are, they have many stages of attention. They can be very curious, or highly inattentive. Some can be brilliant, while others are slow to learn. A teacher has to be very patient when dealing with children. Teaching isn’t just about preparing lessons and grading tests. It is also about getting to know your pupils. It is about caring for them and encouraging them. It is about becoming their friend.
In Singapore, you are sure to meet two groups of teachers. These are private tutors and MOE teachers. MOE teachers are those hired by the Ministry of Education. To be a MOE teacher, you need to have the proper educational training and the relevant degrees. A music teacher has to have an educational degree and proper training in music. This equips them to teach their students better. MOE teachers earn a good salary when they start at their jobs, and they enjoy salary increases regularly. Tutors are also fully-trained teachers with the necessary qualifications. However, they are hired by parents based on the strength of their resume and recommendations.
The choice between becoming a government MOE teacher and a tutor can be a difficult one. On the one hand, MOE teachers may have their complaints, but their work is more stable than tutoring. Tutors, on the other hand, may not have steady jobs, but their work may be more fulfilling than MOE teachers’. Making this decision isn’t easy, but there are factors to consider before you have to do so.
MOE teachers constantly complain about the work-life balance. They spend about 40% of their time teaching. The rest is on administrative work. MOE teachers have to grade and record papers. They still have to prepare lessons and carry out other duties in their schools that have nothing to do with teaching. Teachers have to go to work early and usually close late. They even have to take their work home with them.
Tutors have a better work-life balance. Since they work directly with parents and children at home, they can work out a schedule that benefits them. Tutors are in a better position to make their work more of teaching and less of paperwork. This is actually more to the child’s benefit. There are more time and attention for the child to learn well. The tutor also has enough time to prepare lessons and have their personal time.
Nevertheless, MOE teachers may prefer their work times to that of tutors. Tutors work mainly in the evenings and on weekends. These are the times when children are out of school. This is also the time that most people have to spend with their families. Though tutors may have more flexible hours, they may spend less time with their loved ones.
While MOE teachers earn good salaries, the salaries are not enough. This is because the salaries are not commensurate with the work that they put in. MOE teachers who become tutors can earn up to S$90 an hour. Some even earn up to S$10,000 a month conducting group tuition sessions for students. This shows that tutors can earn more for doing a lot less than MOE teachers. Also, what tutors earn is commensurate with their work.
Medical Insurance Or CPF Coverage
Apart from good salaries, MOE teachers get medical insurance and dental benefits. They also get CPF coverage, for when they retire. Even though MOE teachers do not get paid leave for childbirth, they enjoy a lot of perks.
Tutors do not get these perks. Their salaries may be high, but they are not steady. Students can cancel lessons at will, leaving you with free time you hadn’t planned for. Tutors cannot bank on CPF coverage unless they get it themselves. Also, unless they have savings and an emergency fund set up, they may not have financial settlements for when they retire. Medical insurance is not guaranteed unless they take care of it themselves. The parents who hire them don’t have to get health insurance for tutors.
As such, MOE teachers can enjoy their earnings more than tutors. They know that they are covered medically and during retirement as well.
Regular Stable Income
Tutors do not get a stable income. Their income depends on if they get a tutoring job. When they don’t get any students to tutor, they don’t have a salary. Their salaries are not fixed amounts. What determines how much you are paid is your qualifications and your final deal with the parents. MOE teachers have good salaries from when they start, and their income is fixed on a monthly basis. Tutors may earn high salaries per hour, but they can’t be sure of their income over a long period of time.
MOE teachers may have a more stable income, but their workload is hectic. Many of them feel they are not getting to spend as much time as they should with their students. Some of them have retired from being government teachers to become tutors. Their reason is that they get to earn what they deserve while spending time with their pupils. Moreover, there is no ceiling cap for tutor’s earnings. How much you earn, depends on how much effort or time you put in.
MOE teachers and tutors both have certain job descriptions that make them unacceptable for people. However, the choice of which career to choose lies with you. You can become a MOE teacher if you have the relevant qualifications. You will enjoy a fixed income with insurance for health and your retirement. Or you could become a tutor. You will have a well-balanced work-life culture, a good income, and more time to tutor students. The choice is yours.
For more tips to become a better tutor, we have more articles like Simple Tips to Ensure the First Home Tuition Lesson Goes Smoothly and How to Use the ‘Flipped Classroom’ Technique to Tutor More Effectively.