How to choose a tuition centre for your child (and how NOT to run a tuition centre)

When all tuition centres claim to have “committed” teachers, how is a parent to know who is really telling the truth? Thankfully, there’s a way to get under all the fancy marketing and advertising: win a teacher’s trust, and ask if they are happy working at the centre.

I have heard too many horror stories of tutors in tuition centres being paid peanuts, and contracts with draconian measures built into them. For example, I heard about a particular centre in Singapore that pays its full-time employees a monthly pay just slightly above a part-time employee’s salary — and this is a centre with massively impressive marketing and advertising.

The problem for tutors is obvious — if you are worrying about money too much, you will not be able to put your whole being into your teaching. If you are unhappy with your employer, it makes your job harder.

If you have a motivated employee who is taken care of well, that employee will always tend to be more productive than an unhappy, underpaid and overworked employee. In a tuition centre, this doesn’t just affect the bottom line, it affects students as well.

Of course, parents, you have to be careful how you ask tutors about their pay and working conditions, because these can be sensitive things to talk about. But you can try to win a tutor’s trust by asking a few questions about the way they teach, and if you’re impressed with the answer, you can try saying, “Ah, you really know your stuff, you must be getting paid a lot!”

Watch for the answer. If your child has an unhappy, underpaid, and overworked tutor, chances are that your money is just going towards paying for somebody else’s two-month long holiday.

How to choose a tuition centre for your child (and how NOT to run a tuition centre)

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