Are You Hiring A Competent Tutor?

Just to share my experience so that parents can take note also.

I currently have a few P6 students whom I’m giving private tuition to and this incident is about another tutor whom the parents of one student hired as additional help to the child.

From what the parents and student tell me, this tutor is a young tutor who is doing her diploma currently. She claims that she is very good in Maths and can teach the student ‘shortcuts’ to answering questions. She goes to their place on weekends to help the child with work that he does not understand.

I was very happy for this student as I know they have limited budget and the parents managed to get more help as I personally feel that the student really need alot of help. I did offer free lessons at my home for him (my place is a few bus stops away from theirs) but the parents refused as they do not want him to travel just for tuition (I can understand because travelling can cause the child to be quite tired).

I really thought that this tutor is a blessing to the student until I marked this student’s assignments (worksheets that were given by me), and I got a shock! The questions were all answered using simultaneous equations (not suitable for primary school and definitely a longer way to answer the questions I gave). And when I asked my student if he understood the method she taught him, he said that the tutor told him the questions I gave are for secondary school, not primary school!

The maths syllabus has changed and now they use calculators at P5 and P6 and they also learn more topics in depth (area of circle, algebra). I was shocked that the teacher said that to him as the questions I gave are definitely P6 maths questions which my ex-colleagues (current P6 teachers in top schools) told me that such questions may come out at PSLE.

And due to her comments, this student now thinks that all questions are too difficult for him and he is not able to understand. Those are basic speed and distance questions which I have taught him before. He managed to solve the question correctly the first time with the method I taught him but the tutor told him it’s wrong and taught him simultaneous equations (but the final answer is the same). Using simultaneous equation can be accepted but based on this student’s level of understanding, he cannot comprehend how simultaneous equations work!

And this tutor also taught him a few other questions on area of hexagons in which she even got the method wrong. The worst part was her teaching him percentage and she simply deducted the percentages although they were percentages of different items!

I was quite upset that the tutor taught the student the wrong methods as it now means that he is very confused. I did feedback to the parents and they were not aware that the other tutor taught him differently and even told him that those were secondary school questions and he should not be doing them.

As a tutor, I will advise all parents to screen your tutors carefully. Check on your child’s progress and work done during tuition. Do not leave it 100% to the tutor. If there are questions that the tutor claims cannot be done using techniques which are taught to P6 students, get your child to bring the question to school to ask the school teachers.

Do check carefully and hire a competent tutor for your child. Else, it’ll be a waste of money, time and effort for your child to learn the wrong techniques.

Tuition Agency


You can try calling 67864588. They are a tuition agency and they recently did advertise on TV.

Seeking Help

Most parents in SG now do not have time to coach their kids as they’re usually busy working.

Of course tutor will be a good choice, but parent have to play a part as well, in supervising and monitoring.

As a parent, it will be easier to seek professional advice from tuition agency as they will do the screening for you and save you the hassle. Even if the tutor is not suitable, you can change anytime. But I think what matters most is whatever the child feels. Kids are smart nowadays, if they like the tutor, they will behave and learn easily, but if they dislike the tutor, they might misbehave consistently during lesson times or even reject having tuition.

It might be hard to find a right tutor easily but it’s worth it if your kid likes the tutor and strives to get better result!



I had the same prb looking for a good tutor. You can try or call 9858 5021. They helped me found a very good teacher.

Hi Proud Daddy, Thanks for

Hi Proud Daddy,

Thanks for you info. by the way do you have any recommend tuition centres or tutor that we can try?


Tutor for P1 in Aljunied

hi Mtatrt
why not seek the tutor you need in the forums. There are several tuition centres \ agencies and private tutors that frequent the forums.
Good Luck !

Proud Daddy of P1 Boy at Tao Nan School …



Do you have any good tutor for P1 to teach English, Math & Chinese near Aljunied area?

science tutor


Do you have any good Science tutor for PSLE? I couldn’t find a good one…I am willing to pay:)


Tutors without A1 does not mean that are not good tutors.

I do agree that we should screen tutors to ensure that tutor guiding the child well and helps to improve their grades. There are many tutors out there are just interested in money, they are not concern about whether the child are doing well or not, worst still they might be teaching the wrong method.

However, I cannot agree with the statement that tutors should be getting nothing less than an A1 for Maths at secondary level and an A for Maths at JC level. I believe that some tutor might not have so good grade might do a better job that those As. They are the ones who are "not so bright student",is able to understand the way and how the student of poorer grades feels, and some of them do have their simpler ways for the student to understand the subject better. Having As in school does not means that good. I believe the statement is a bit bias.

Parents undrstand syllabus is very important

My personal opinion is parents should try to study/revise with their children if time permits,

so that they know the type of presure their children are going thru.

The way they teach Maths is different from our time.

Hence parents might want to study their text books and assessments to understand their difficulties.

Would definitely encourage the students since mummies & daddies studying together.


As a parent, I'll

As a parent, I’ll definitely want to sit nearby during the lesson to be able to observe how the tutor coaches my child.

As a tutor, I’m open to parents sitting in for the first few lessons or all the lessons if they wish to. For lower primary students who come to my place, I usually encourage the parent to sit in during the first few lessons while the child is getting familiar with me & the new environment.

I understand that parents have budget (I’m a budget mummy too!). But you can still ensure that the tutor has good grades when in school & is able to commit time & effort to your child.  

The key is to check the tutor’s grades for the subject he/she is going to tutor your child. & I agree with Winth, choose tutors who do not ‘cover all subjects’. Every individual has their strengths. Many parents ask me to teach chinese since I’m giving tuition for english, maths & science. But I always reject them nicely as my strength is not chinese.

& don’t be hesitant to give the tutor feedback as every child is different & the tutor only sees the child once or twice a week. I enjoy it when parents give me feedback (be it positive or negative) as it means that we can work together to help the child.


Individual or Small Group Tuition by Current School Teacher @ Punggol Coralinus (Near MRT)

SMS 81832426 or Email


I agree totally with yr

I agree totally with yr comment.  I am one such parent that will sit not directly on the same table, but at the very least, able to know what the tutor is teaching and how my son responds to her.  I think tuition is a 2 way traffic not just the tutor because the child must also be able to perceive and accept the way the tutor teaches.

I remember when I was

I remember when I was young, we do not have tuition. And my mum does not have to worry about my school work. Maybe I’m a good girl . Now as a mother, I’m so worried about my son academic progress. Lots of friends have load their children with tuitions or enrichment. Guess times are really different now.

Some tips

I was a full time tutor for many years before venturing into something else, so I’ll try to answer to your question, based on personal experiences. 

To know if a tutor is competent or not, we are assuming that the parent is able to afford a competent tutor. I know this statement is not politically correct, esp unfair if parents come with a budget, but this is the reality. We have to take away this variant first. (Disclaimer: good-hearted tutors out there who sincerely want to see their students improve are not included in this assumption)

I think the tutor should at least be able to provide good grades for the subject that he/she is teaching. If person A teaches Maths to primary level, he/she should be getting nothing less than an A1 for Maths at secondary level and an A for Maths at JC level.

Basically parents tend to hire tutors who are at least 2 levels above the student’s current education level (i.e. JC/Dip to teach primary and a graduate to teach secondary school students).

Tuition is not finding the best value-for-money, if you want to pay peanuts, you know what you get. I know alot of private tutors do say that can cover all subjects, and if you calculate base on value per subject, it is really more worth it. Maybe this works for lower primary, but for upper primary and secondary school students, I think parents should zoom into specific subject, and not go for all-in-one tutors. More often than not, you get a not-really-good tutor to help your child. There is a trade off.

Once, I had a parent who requested that she sits in during my first lesson with her boy which she terms it as a trial lesson. After reviewing my qualifications, she sits through the entire 1.5 hour with us. She sits not on the same table as us, but a shoulder length away merely to listen to how I teach. It did feel like going for a job interview.

The parents who hired me only believed in letting me teach only my strengths – Maths and Chinese. I reject parents who ask me to do all 3 or 4 subjects, bec I know I can’t.

Just my 2c worth. Hope it is value-adding.

No offence to anyone.

Well, how to tell if the

Well, how to tell if the tutor is competent or not in the first place?

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