If you are reading this article, you probably are searching for an answer to the question in the title. You are likely starting to feel the necessity of getting a tutor for yourself – whether it’s because of your need to improve your grades, or the pressure you feel from your peers who are mostly attending some kind of tuition class. Perhaps you are already among the top 5 students in your cohort, but that doesn’t stop you from believing you probably need a tutor too. Because everyone else is going for tuition, including parents!
Now, the search for a tutor today is not easy at all. We are swarmed by all kinds of tuition advertisements – that small piece of paper sticking around at the lift lobby with a mobile number to call, online advertisements from major tuition agencies, or even recommendations from your classmates who need to form a group to hire a private tutor. Tutor-offers are almost everywhere! This begs the question – how do we go about getting the most suitable tutor for ourselves? Is there a way to find a tutor that best fits my needs? Here are some tips.
Understand Your Learning Needs
1. The Practice Makes Perfect Learner
Do you learn through more practice, and just need someone to help you get more disciplined to practice more? Get the cheapest tutor available in the market, and then get this tutor to meet you more often per week, so that you know you have that 2 hours of disciplined time to just practice on those days you see your tutor. It’s a bonus if this tutor comes with exam papers for you to do. If not, go get your own and do with the tutor watching and marking for you. Exam papers are sold almost everywhere these days!
2. The New Concept Learner
Are you struggling to understand the way your teacher in school is teaching? You just don’t get it, and need a tutor to try a more time-saving method for you to learn? Don’t get a MOE-trained tutor. Likely, most will end up teaching the same method as your teacher in school! It’s a better bet to get an experienced student. A fellow student who has scored well enough to be confident to teach will likely have innovative ways to learn. You definitely need to hire a private tutor in this case, too. Only a private tutor can customize a learning method to your preference. However if you prefer a classroom setting, there are quite a few tuition schools that offer to teach new concepts. These are also worth a try just that they are not customized to your needs.
3. The Genius Learner
Are you already a genius in school and aiming to be Singapore’s top student? Get a MOE-trained tutor. This MOE-trained tutor will be very familiar with the current curriculum, and very efficiently ensure you can do well in the exams. This MOE-trained tutor will also be a better predictor of the possible challenging questions that can appear in your exams.
4. The Social Learner
Are you unsure of what you need? You are searching for tuition classes because most of your peers are doing it? Just go for classroom based tuition. You get to make more friends there, get exposed to how other teachers teach and hopefully feel more motivated to study and do well, with the encouragement of other peers in your class. Another alternative for you would be group-based private tuition formed with your classmates. This helps you bond better with your group and makes it easier for you and your group to discuss questions even when you meet in school.
Respect Your Personal Preference
In choosing a tutor, you cannot ignore your personal preference. This is because our emotions affect how well we study. This is why we often score better in subjects that our favorite teachers are in. If you are an introvert and find it stressful to learn in a new classroom environment with unfamiliar peers, you will need to hire a private tutor. For some, the gender of the tutor matters. For others, the age, scent, look, etc. If any aspect of your tutor is distracting you from your studies, it is time to change a new tutor.
You don’t have to feel bad about changing a tutor because you feel personally uncomfortable. By the end of the day it is about finding the optimal solution to help you learn better and score well in your exams. Sometimes, you may feel that your reason to change the tutor sounds discriminatory. However if it is affecting you in a way you cannot explain nor overcome, just go ahead and make the change. For example, you may feel that your tutor’s age is causing a generation gap and making you hard to connect with him. You may be very sensitive to the strong smelling perfume that your tutor wears. It could also be your tutor’s dressing that is distracting you. Whatever the reason is, as long as you feel distracted from your studies this is valid enough reason to make the change. You don’t have to be too explicit about the reason and end up putting the tutor down. You may just say that you need a change to help you learn better – which is true.
If you are using a tuition agency to hire a private tutor, it helps if you are already aware of what aspects of a tutor makes you most comfortable, and be clear in your communications with the agency. Too many changes in tutors can be disruptive for your studies. Remember, your time is limited.
A Word of Caution
When using a private tutor, make sure you take enough precautions against sexual assault. Try not to be alone with the tutor. If you are in your room, keep the door open with the rest of your family members in the house. Or else, try using a public location. Sexual assault during a private tuition setting is not unheard of. Understand the legal definitions of sexual assault and do not hesitate to report to the police if you feel that your tutor has committed a wrong towards you.
Related Link: Request for a Tutor