Mistakes Tutors Should Avoid

Home tuition has proved to be a beneficial means for students to gain supplementary lessons from experts and help them overcome their struggles in school. However, it isn’t only limited just for struggling students. Many students who are doing well in their studies also hire home tutors to further their understanding on a topic or get advance lessons for certain subjects. Getting a home tutor for huge examinations is also common.

As parents only want the best for their children, including education, they hire tutors in order to help them in their studies any way they can. Aside from the benefits of tuition academically, tutors also help students who are struggling with self-esteem and self-confidence. During the process of helping them improve, there will also be improvement in their confidence in the subject as well as with themselves and motivation to work harder. They also provide access to many supplementary resource materials that students wouldn’t normally get their hands on. They can share their compilations of notes to the student as well as practice papers from other schools or large universities.

For many, tutoring can be an enticing career option. Especially with the rise of the demand for home tutors in Singapore, there are also many who are looking to try their hand at tutoring. However, if you are looking to make tutoring your career, it’s also important to note that there are some mistakes that tutors and aspiring tutors should be careful not to make. Remember that in tutoring, feedback and recommendations from previous students can impact a tutor’s credibility and thus, one small bad feedback can also affect the tutor’s career.

Mistakes all tutors should avoid

As these mistakes may just go over a new home tutors head, we’ve compiled some of them. By eliminating these mistakes when you are starting out or even when you are already a home tutor can help the home tutor lead to a fulfilling and successful career as a home tutor.

1. Not setting ground rules

When starting a new job, it’s only normal to want to adjust the best possible way to a new workplace and want people to like you. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way also during a tutor’s first tuition session. However, there are also measures that shouldn’t be put at the back seat because of this.

Set ground rules at the very beginning of the tuition session. Even during the hiring process, tutors can also talk with the parents about the rules they also wish to impose on the student and the parents as well. Because tutors want to be liked and they want to be seen as flexible, they might think twice when setting up rules. However, rules make tuition more manageable for both the student and the tutor.

Take for example in setting up a schedule for the tuition session. If the tutor just agrees to whatever the parent or child wants, they might cancel on the tutor whenever they please. There should be set rules for how cancellation or lateness should be approached. This protects both the student and the tutor from wasting time and effort. The same way, tutors can also set rules for the schedule or time they are open for inquiries outside tuition sessions. Again, this ensures that the tutor can have a healthy work and social life balance.

However, in setting the rules and objectives of the tuition, make sure to properly explain the rule to the child and their parents in order to prevent misunderstandings on either side. It will also give the student a chance to get to know the home tutor and vice-versa. If the tutor is not too comfortable setting rules up by yourself, you can also ask the student for rules they want to add in. This is also a good ice breaker for the student and the tutor.

With that being said, the tutor should be consistent with the rule and follow it throughout the tuition. This is so the student will also follow the tutor’s lead and for the smooth proceedings of the tuition.

2. Setting unrealistic goals

With the rise in demand for home tuitions in Singapore, there is also a rise in competition to get hired. To attract more clients, there are many home tutors that make promises they can’t keep. They promise parents and students to help reach goals that are unrealistic and unachievable for the set time frame.

Promising a good result is acceptable, but overpromising is a big mistake. Parents want the best for their children and sometimes, they want results instantly. As tutors, you know that overcoming struggles and improving on a subject are both processes that couldn’t be done overnight. Being a home tutor doesn’t give you the power to magically produce an A when the student is close to a D.

It will be tempting to let the parents hear what they want to hear. But this is never a good strategy. However, this and with the prospect of under-delivering during the set time will only cause disappointment. As such, this can also cause the tutor to receive negative feedback from the client which could also spread to other clientele or potential clients.

3. Doesn’t prepare lesson plans

Home tuition boasts personalized plans for every student. This means that the lesson plan is customized according to the student’s learning needs and style. In tuition, while it continues to follow the MOE syllabus, there are also instances that the educational goals and desired outcome is set by the tutor. This is the very reason also why having a lesson plan is very important for home tutors.

Where there is a lesson plan, there will also be clear objectives for the lesson. The tuition session will also be more organized as the tutor has a guide to follow for the flow of the lesson. They will also be able to set the proper allotted time for all activities for that tuition session. With this, the tutor can make sure that all the topics and lessons for that session is covered as well as the activities.

Remember that there is only so much a tutor can do during the average hour and a half of tuition. Tutors should learn how to maximize the amount of time they have. Without any lesson plans, they can come off as disorganized to their students and waste time as well. Additionally, when following a lesson plan, a tutor can also set a time during the tuition for breaks. This is especially helpful for pre-school and primary school students who have shorter attention spans and need time to recharge themselves before continuing with the lesson.

This isn’t only for the tutor’s benefit. With a concrete lesson plan, it enables the student to expect the lessons to follow or the flow of the lesson. They will be more cooperative when they know what to expect next.

4. Lecture, lecture, lecture

Lectures and discussions are vital parts in teaching students. However, endless talking about topics to explain them detail by detail will only bore students. While talking and explaining a topic are some features of tuition that can’t be helped, there are also instances wherein the tutor forgets that the student may not be listening. In some cases, the student may look like they are listening only to be daydreaming about online games or the TV shows they want to watch.

Being a home tutor doesn’t necessarily mean that the tutor should have the ability to talk about the topic. Instead, it goes as to how much the student can retain the knowledge the tutor has imparted. After a while, endless talking and discussion turns the tuition stale and dull thus, the child wouldn’t see this as a fun experience anymore.

Tutors can incorporate activities to tuition, not just discussions. There are many games that tutors can use to teach students, as well as showing videos or reading books. If it can’t be helped, the tutor can include the student in the lecture. Help them become part of the discussion rather than just a figure taking all the information. Ask them questions or their opinions whenever the tutor can when talking about a topic. This will help lessen boredom and will also help the child become more participative in lessons.

5. Boring lessons

As stated in the previous point, lessons can become boring and dull for students. This is a problem for the younger generation of learners. In some cases, they are put under stress in school by the school and their parents. Many students are pressured to reach a certain goal and maintain that. They are already having a hard time in school and with their extra-curricular activities and issues growing children have. Tutors shouldn’t make tuition difficult for them as well.

By giving them meaningful and effective tuition, it will lessen the strain and pressure put on to them. When they actually enjoy learning, they will be more inclined to accept the challenges their studies may give them. The last thing tutors want is to give these students the same difficult experience they already are under in their schools.

Incorporate games and exercises to the tuition. Tutors can also help the student gain more understanding of lessons by giving them real-world experiences such as trips to museums or zoos. These activities are entertaining while still helping the students retain their lessons. Additionally, these activities will also help the students gain the motivation to continue learning and work harder in their studies.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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