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Why I cannot get a tutor?

Some parents do wonder why they are not able to get a tutor soon. There are many possibilities that may have caused the problem.

1. Budget
2. Frequency and Duration Per Week
3. Subject
4. Combination of subjects
5. Length of Service
6. Requirements and constraints
7. Attitude and track record
8. Conclusion

1. Budget

Budget is definitely one of the most important factors in a tuition assignment. If the tuition fee that you are willing to pay to the tutor is under market rate, most tutors will not want to take up.

Even if you are lucky enough to find a tutor who can take up tuition assignment of low budget, the tutor is likely to give up on your child once he or she has found other better paying tuition assignments.

Note: if you are looking for a tutor towards the examination period, tutors are likely to demand for a higher tuition fee.

2. Frequency and Duration Per Week

Many parents have made very unrealistic planning of the tuition session by trying to squeeze many subjects into the tuition.

For example, a parent wants the tutor to coach the student on three subjects, but only expecting 1.5 hours and once per week. On average, each subject can only take up half an hour, which is definitely insufficient. One hour per week per subject is hardly enough.

Most serious tutors will want to maintain a "clean sheet". If there is insufficient time allocated for each subject, they are not able to help the students and many will choose not to take up the assignment.

If budget is a big issue, the parent should, perhaps, think over and focus on just one or two subjects. If necessary, discuss with the child's school teacher for extra remedial lesson instead.

3. Subject

Certain subject has fewer tutors who are capable and willing enough to take up. They are mostly foreign languages and higher level of learning, such as degree and diploma. Not many tutors are familiar with modules in ITE as well. For such tuition assignment, it may require more time to source for tutors.

4. Combination of subjects

If you are looking for a home tutor who can handle various subjects, the search will be more difficult. Although, it is easier to arrange tuition session with just one tutor instead of two, not many tutors can be very diversified.

Speaking from experience, it is definitely easier to teach the same subject over and over again. By the time the tutor has gone through the same level, subject and topic with different batches of students, he or she will be a master of it. He or she will also be able to point out the common mistakes made by the previous students and also provide more tips. Memory will eventually fade and thus, the tutor has to be consistent in taking the subject.

There are a number of tutors who are willing to take up a variety of subjects but we are not very sure if they can deliver all of them well.

Therefore, our coordinator may advise you to take up different tutors for different subjects, especially when it comes to higher level subjects, such as GCE 'A' level. For PSLE subjects, which are less challenging, it is reasonable for a tutor to be a master of all the subjects.

5. Length of Service

We are referring to the period of time you want the tutor to continue teaching your child. Long term tuition assignments usually starts in the beginning of the year and will last at least until the final examinations of the students. There is no clear definition of it but Smart Tuition terms it as a period of over four months. Most tutors are looking for long term tuition assignments for various reasons.

Firstly, they need to pay our agency commission (that's how we survive) for each successfully matched assignment and it is definitely not worthwhile to go for short term assignment. Imagine you are taking up a part time job for two months and you have to pay half month of salary as commission, you will be left with just 1.5 months of salary, which is 75% of the total. Comparing to a full year of tuition for 11 months (not including last month of the year), you can keep 10.5 months of salary, which is around 95% of total salary.

Secondly, it takes time and effort to build up the rapport with a tutee (student). Thirdly, most people do not like changes - they rather stick to the same people and place. For short term assignment, it is most likely towards the examination period, which the tutor has to try very hard to drill the student. It will definitely be more exhausting for the tutor, compared to him or her constantly covering all the topics from beginning of the year.

Short term tuition assignments are very tricky to handle and thus some tuition agencies choose not take them up at all. Some agencies even shut down their operation towards the third quarter of the year when PSLE, GCE 'O' level and 'A' level are approaching. The rest are just praying hard to find tutors who are more available and willing to take up these assignments.

Smart Tuition continues to try our best to help all the parents and students even during "bad times". We have always tried to be fair to all our tutors and this is why many tutors have referred their friends to sign up with us as well. We have set the policy of making the client (parent) split the commission with the tutor if the tuition assignment is a short term one. For more challenging tuition assignments, we may even request the parent to pay the full commission for the tutor. We are trying to make the tuition assignment more attractive for the tutor to take up. Of course, not every parent is understanding enough to cooperate with us. In any case, Smart Tuition takes only the same amount of commission - no less or more.

Note: for Nitec, Higher Nitec, Diploma and degree courses, the module (subject) you wish to engage a tutor for is very likely to be only for short term (less than four months).

6. Requirements and constraints

These include the gender, race, qualification, experience and occupation (such as school teacher or full-time tutor) of the tutors, your available timing and location, and any other special requirement you are looking at.

One of the toughest requirements is the demand for school teacher and full-time tutor due to the lower supply compared to part-time tutors. By right, every school teacher also has limited hours to do outside-school tutoring.

Although we would love to find a tutor who can match all your requirements for the sense of satisfication, we have to be more realistic most of the time that it is impossible. To help us and yourself, do eliminate those requirements that are less important.

7. Attitude and track record

Your attitude and track record play a big part too.

Our jobs are not high-paying; it is mostly for the sake of satisfaction that most of us are continuing to help the kind parents. Therefore, we are not going to deal with anyone who has attitude problem.

There are many tuition agencies in Singapore but only a handful are considered reputable. We do share records of black sheep. Therefore, if you have created a problem with another established tuition agency, you may find yourself being ignored by the rest, including us. You may of course try to approach those so-called agencies whose business is not even registered with the government.

For parents who stick to their unrealistic requirements, they are likely to be less prioritized by the more established tuition agencies.

8. Conclusion

In Smart Tuition, we try our best to help all nice parents regardless of financial status. If you have problems with your financial, we expect you to be frank with us. There is no shame to be in a less fortunate family; in fact, most of us come from low income families. However, please be realistic for your requirements of tutor.

You may also be interested in:
- Our Tuition Agency
- Tuition Agencies in Singapore
- Plan your Tuition Fees
- Tuition Assignments in Singapore
- What is Tuition?
- Home Tuition in Singapore
- Singapore Home Tuition Tips

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