4 Things Our Teachers Learned after Leaving MOE Schools


Being a tuition teacher is rather different from being a school teacher. They have access to different resources, work in different classroom environments and possess differing sets of duties.

In order to develop a better understanding of the differences between school teachers and tuition teachers, we asked a number of our tuition teachers who had experience teaching in a school to share their experiences and to share the main differences they found between teaching in a school and teaching as a tutor. Therefore, here are the four key differences between teaching in a school and teaching privately, revealed to us by our tutors in a series of interviews:

All interviewees are teachers currently working with us, who have previously had experience teaching in schools. Their names have been omitted in the interest of privacy

1) “Individual & Customised Teaching Attention for Each Student in the Class that Reaps Higher Rewards in Students Results.”

Since school teachers are responsible for the entire class, they have to divide their attention among every member of the class. As a result, they are unable to give each student the full extent of the attention they need. Furthermore, each teacher is generally in charge of multiple classes, and with such a large number of students under them, it becomes extremely difficult to be able to devote their full attention to any one student which may require more assistance.

As a tuition teacher, however, their area of responsibility is smaller, with a smaller number of students and a smaller class size. Therefore, they will be in a better position to pay closer attention to each individual student, to ensure that they get the assistance that they require. With more space to work with each student individually, the teacher is able to effectively pinpoint and address the needs and weaknesses of each student, which allows them to facilitate a higher rate of improvement.

2) “Higher Pressure to Ensure Students Excel Academically.”

While any teacher will feel responsible for their students’ grades and academic achievement, tutors feel a higher degree of pressure to ensure the success of each child, due to a tacit understanding that the child’s parent is sacrificing an additional portion of their income for the sake of improving their child’s grades. Therefore, tutors feel the weight of the expectations upon them more heavily, and are hence under more pressure to ensure the academic improvement of the child, to meet the expectations of the parent.

This results in higher levels of stress on the part of the teacher, which may affect their teaching capabilities unless they have the aptitude to remain consistent in teaching to the best of their ability, even under heavy stress.

3) “Less Non-academic Work.”

Teachers in schools do not only serve as educators for their students. They are also expected to be chaperones, managers and administrators for their charges. In addition to their teaching duties, teachers often are required to undertake other tasks, such as supervising various Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs), handling and organising administrative paperwork, providing counselling services and chaperoning students on educational trips or to school events.

While these duties and the activities they administrate are certainly important to a student’s development, it is an irrefutable fact that they draw a teacher’s attention and time away from purely educational activities, such as lesson planning or supplementary lessons. This therefore dilutes the educational focus of the teachers’ jobs.

Tutors, however, are not required to take on this myriad of co-curricular responsibilities, allowing them to devote their full attention and time to academics. This results in more comprehensive lesson plans, more attention paid to students’ academic improvement, and more time that can be spent on identifying and creating corrective measures for individual students’ academic necessities.

4) “No Stability when Teaching Private Tuition.”

Unlike teachers who work in schools, private tutors have no means to enforce students’ continued attendance. Students might miss lessons due to co-curricular activities, or examination schedules, or a plethora of other interruptions. Such disruptions will disturb the student’s learning pace as well as the teacher’s teaching pace, forcing the teacher to constantly readjust and re-organise their lesson plan to accommodate the student’s lapses in lessons, which lowers the overall efficiency of teaching.

Hopefully, these four differences have given you an insight into the different challenges and privileges experienced by tutors and school teachers. All educators are dedicated to the development of their students, but their working environment and the scope of their duties have a substantial impact on the aspect of development which they are able to influence.

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