It is great that parents are working more closely with our coordinators in the tutor recruitment process. However from time to time, mistakes may be made in the selection process due to errors of our attitude. We draw from the knowledge bank of Human Resource literature and from our experience to highlight the pertinent issues to you.
Finding the superman or superwoman
If you are looking for perfection, you will not find it. As concerned parents, some get carried away drawing up the tutor profile beyond the needs of the tuition and the tuition fee that is offered. Parents should be clear about the ‘must-haves’ and the ‘nice-to-haves’, and some element of compromise is normally needed; the tutor may have more experience and better track record than you expected, but are you willing to invest in the higher fees charged?
Furthermore, if you are expecting a super-tutor for the tuition, you may be looking for someone who is overqualified for the job. By appointing them, there is a risk of them becoming bored, do shoddy work, or leave your child quickly at the most crucial examination time.
Pre-occupation with qualifications and experience, ignoring attitudes and behaviours
It is common for us to focus too much on the qualifications and experience, at the expense of the attitudes and behaviours of tutors. Research shows that it is attitudes and behaviour that have the main impact of career success. The same is true if we consider the outstanding teachers of MOE. It is the passion to teach and desire to see the student improve that may really matter. Remember to explore the attitudes and behaviours of the tutors through their profiles and from how they answer your questions in selection interviews.
Engaging tutors in your own image
It’s an extremely human mistake for us to hire a tutor solely for their likeness to us. You think you understand how they tick and feel extremely comfortable in their presence. However, you need to spare a thought for your child. Does your child appreciate being tutored by someone so much in your likeness? Many home-makers we have spoken to outsource the tutoring job for the very reason that their children are not very receptive to having their parents as tutors. Hiring a tutor in your likeness is perfectly fine, but make sure that he/she is the most appropriate candidate in terms of knowledge, skills and aptitude.
Recruiting your tutor in the image of the previous incumbent
By recruiting a new tutor similar to the previous one, you are assuming that the job has not changed since the last tutor took it on. Your child grows up fast, and the school syllabus is constantly changing. It may benefit you more by sitting down with your child and discussing his/her tuition needs before embarking on your tutor search.
Not addressing the tutor’s needs
Just as the tutor will try his/her best to address the education needs of your child, you need to reciprocate by addressing the needs of the tutor. This is to help cultivate a long-term student-tutor relationship in which there is stability, so that the tutor can deliver the best for your child. It is common misconception for parents to think that as long as they have the money to offer, the tutor should give their blood and sweat to them. The respect and giving has to be mutual, and parents can start by assuring that lessons will not be cancelled unnecessarily, that enough notice will be given should there be a cancellation, and that the student will be present and ready at all tuition sessions. In exchange, it is easier to have the tutor commit likewise.
Great tutors are getting harder to come by, and parents need to do their part in securing the commitment of the tutor from recruitment stage to the time that your children graduate with sterling results.
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