The Singaporean education system is considered to be one of the most successful in the world as it is both rigorous and extensive and churns out many skilled graduates yearly. This is because most teachers in Singapore treat their teaching jobs as careers or callings. However, over the recent years, a significant number of teachers have been opting to give private tuition rather than working for formal school systems. Why is this so?
There are three main reasons for this.
Relevance to The Education Sector
In the past, as long as teachers in Singapore taught well and their students maintained good grades, their parents were satisfied. However, ever since private tutoring became a common practice, traditional teaching does not seem like enough to parents nowadays. In an effort to remain relevant in the education sector, more and more teachers are opting to provide private tutoring for students. Sometimes students go for tutoring that is more than two levels higher than their current class. This is evidence enough that parents do not believe that traditional teaching alone is enough for their children.
[Read: When should I start to sign my child up for tuition]
Most teachers love teaching. It is the calling- their life choice and career. It is what they derive a sense of satisfaction from as they know that they are working hard to improve their society and that their work is appreciated. Because their work is no longer seen as enough, teachers are seeking more relevance to the industry by becoming private tutors.
In Singapore, the average teacher’s day is rigid and packed with activities. A typical day starts at 6:30 am with lessons which had to be prepared beforehand using workbooks, props, worksheets and many other resources. The school day ends late in the afternoon, but most teachers have to do more activities during recess time. They usually counsel some students or take disciplinary action against those who may have broken school rules or failed to submit their assignments on time.
Some teachers who are in charge of some sports activities may find more of their after-school time taken up. Furthermore, due to the significant amount of coursework that the pupils cover at school, most teachers have to continually keep on marking their students’ assignments. At times, they have to take their work home with them!
Evidently, a regular teaching job is quite taxing on teachers. This constant flow of too much work sometimes leads to depression and monotony. Very little satisfaction is derived from being overworked.
On the other hand, being a private tutor offers much more flexibility as teachers are their own bosses. This is evident because most teachers are leaving their jobs in favor of private tutoring A great example is Ms. Chuah who quit teaching in 2008 after being a teacher for almost a decade. She said that she quit in order to spend more time with her sons.
When it comes to private tutoring, a teacher can organize their day according to how much time they have in relevance to other activities such as spending time with their family or running their businesses. It is this flexibility of work hours in private tutoring that appeals to many teachers.
Money is always a major factor when it comes to deciding whether or not a job is suitable for you. On average, a primary school teacher earns $51,705 per year in Singapore. In comparison, the same Ms. Chuah who quit her normal teaching job in order to spend more time with her sons earns much more per year. It is true that she represents a tiny percentage of tutors and that her earnings cannot be used as an average for the whole industry. However, her earnings serve the purpose of showing you how profitable private tutoring can be.
A more realistic figure of how much money private tutors earn on average per year is $120,000. This is more than double what normal teachers get. According to an article on the Straitstimes website, Singapore households spent about $820 million on private tuition in 2008. This shows that the private tutoring industry is a very profitable one as it has a very willing and ready market. Parents whose children already score highly still pay for private tuition for their children so that they can maintain their grades.
With Singapore’s vibrant education sector, many teachers are realizing that private tutoring is a very profitable niche with ready and willing clients.
It is because of the above reasons that many teachers are opting to make the move from traditional teaching jobs to private tutoring. With the current state of Singapore’s education trends and the country’s Ministry of Education’s leniency towards private tutoring, this niche will remain profitable for decades to come.