“Parents perceive tuition as a form of safety net and something that is necessary because everyone else is doing it,” – Nexus Link chief methodologist Jack Loo ( 7 in 10 parents send their children for tuition: ST poll July 4 2015 Straits Times)

You know the tuition scene in Singapore is really crazy when overseas universities take it as a case study for tutorial. We know the there are 4 main types of tutors in Singapore: i) Student Tutors, ii) Part Time, iii) Full Time and iv) Current/ Ex Teachers.  Let’s use this photo from SGAG as a guide (click picture for their FB) for their possible ‘patterns’: 1240315_700298069985184_672982466_n

Polytechnic/JC/Undergraduate student Tutor

Charging one of the lowest fees, these students would have the memories of most topics fresh in their mind. As they are still pursuing their education, they can relate to your children as they understand the stress  and conditions your child is facing. While the students may be able to use them as role models, these tutors may lack the know-how in teaching a topic properly.  Furthermore, some tutors may be in as they are fully aware of how much one can make giving tuition. Thus, they may give or fully commit their best.

Now, with social media, it is also very possible to form closer relationships especially if the relatively young tutors do not draw a clear line…. and some of these relationships may not be very appropriate.

Possible ‘Pattern’: The Gamer, The Wayang King, The Slacker, The Spoilt Clock, The Joker

Freelance Part-time Tutor

Many of these tutors are usually working and only provide tuition on evenings and weekends. Depending on how committed and passionate they are, your child may learn some valuable life-lessons or …witness  tired individuals who are too tired to commit their full attention after a day’s work. By then, some may be too tired to teach but press on anyway.

Their charges tend to vary with references to the type of qualifications and years of experience. Many of them either do it for the passion or to increase experience until they find/ think their market value is high enough to command higher fees. That is when they may switch to full-time instead.

Possible ‘Pattern’:  The Spoilt Clock, The Wayang King, The KPKB, The Sulk Face


Full-time Tutor

The next step for part-time tutors; many would usually make the switch if they find/think they can command higher fees and earn more than their basic jobs. These tutors will usually specialise in a subject and by then, they are usually very familiar with these topics. Thus, they are able to pinpoint specific weaknesses in their students. If they are travelling from home to home, you will find they will usually leave on the dot.

By then, many are very set in their ways of teaching. Those who are more established will either be very charismatic (‘Joker’) or believes in very firm methods which are usually favoured by desperate parents. Some will use their past schools as a possible

Possible ‘Pattern’:  The Joker, The KPKB, The Sulk Face, The Expensive


Current/ Ex-Teachers

This is the most popular and expensive category. They will be the ones with the first hand news of the latest educational changes in Singapore and those who are very experienced, may even be able to spot potential questions that are highly likely to come out in this year examinations. As they were trained in the subjects, they should be at a better position of teaching than the other tutors…

but not necessarily all of  them may do so.

It is interesting to take note that it’s not true that being a teacher automatically teaches one skills on how to teach. So for example, a teacher may know what is a possible issue for this student but he/she may not necessarily explain it in layman terms better than another who has not undergo NIE training. In short, NIE usually teaches the content, rather than how to explain in simpler terms. Furthermore, some of these teachers are quite set in their thinking and teaching methods that may not necessarily appeal to students.

Possible ‘Pattern’: The KPKB, The Sulk Face, The Expensive


What are your thoughts? Share them with me!



  1. “Tuition Ruined my Childhood”
  2. How to gauge if your child really needs a tutor
  3. 5 Types of tutoring available
  4. 6 Types of Tutoring Options and their pros/ cons
  5. Types of Tutors in Singapore
  6. Factors to evaluate your Potential Tutor and Questions to Assess Them
  7. What Your Tutor needs to Know From You
  8. Types of Teaching Methods