Questions to prepare for in a phone interview

The reason behind this trend is evident: tuition agencies have rich database, comprising profiles of tens of thousands of tutors from diverse background. With more options, comes a better chance of a perfect match.

However, while tuition coordinators are great in bridging communication and facilitating the exchange of information between tutors and tutees, they can also become a barrier for clients who want to gain a more personal understanding of the tutors. The solution to this is to request for the coordinator to conduct a 3-way phone interview.

3 most commonly asked questions during a phone interview are on the following areas:

1.Teaching Strategy/Method of Teaching

Is it more explanatory or allowing the student to foster independent thinking? Interactive or more rigid? How about the type of teaching materials being used?

2.Teaching Experience

How many years of teaching experience? How many students of similar background being taught previously? How many students improved by certain grades?

3.Tuition Commitment

How long can the tutor teach the child for, provided that the tuition goes smoothly?

On top, some parents may have special requirements as follows:

1. Experience in handling students with learning difficulties(e.g. dyslexia, hyperactivity etc)

2. Flexible lesson schedule to accommodate the child’s changing school activities schedule

3. Extra lessons/special teaching arrangement during public holidays/school holidays


Choosing the right home-tutor for your child

Every day we get requests from parents to find the “perfect” tutor for their children but the pursuit is never quite that easy. While the majority has their eyes set on specific grade jumps and is seeking for tutors who can deliver results, parents will need to dig a little deeper to understand their children needs.

Apart from the below items of information you need when filling in a Tutor Request Form:

1.Student Level
2.Name of School
4.Tuition Subject/Frequency/Duration
5.Tutor Requirements: Gender/Category/Racial Preference
6.Preferred Timeslots

3 key items you should share with your coordinator in details are as follow:

1. Specific Grade Jumps Sought
There are 2 types of parents who use specific grades goals as the sole objective of recruiting tutors. The first type wants to see grade improvements while the second type wants grade “maintenance”. With grade maintenance, the implication here is that the student is typically a tier 1 student already.

So how do these 2 types of parents differ in the kind of tutor they need? If you are looking for a tutor to help your child go from say B2 to A level, you want a tutor who is a “Motivator”; someone who not only has clear, strong knowledge about the topic but someone who knows who to spark your child’s interest to learn and improve in the subject. The best tutor in this case is someone who can re-organize the lecture in digestible content sizes and lay out the content in an organized structure so that your child can progress accordingly. To make sure that the tutor you selected meet this criteria, it would help if you ask for the tutor’s teaching style and experience in helping their former students attain grade jumps.

As for the second type, parents can afford to have a relatively lax requirements for a tutor. What you really need is a “Supporter” type of tutor – mainly someone to tie the loose ends and whom your child can go to for the more difficult topics. Your child most likely already has his/her “best way of learning” and he/she would most probably prefer to take the lead in these tuition lessons by deciding on the topics he/she will need the tutor to go through with per lesson. So all you need is to make sure that the tutor you selected for the subject has top notch grades on the subject.

2. School’s Teaching Culture
This is particularly important and helpful if you are the type of parent who is looking for ex/current MOE teachers. By sharing your child’s school information such as name, ranking, category and teaching culture, your tutor coordinator can help you look for the tutor that has worked/is working in a school that shares the same description. This way, you can maximize the gains from this tuition and make sure your child progresses within the confines of his/her school.

3. Learning Attitude/Habits and Performance
What parents have to understand is that tutors cannot promise to deliver results regardless of their previous experiences in helping students improve because each tuition is a unique case on its own. Results rely on the cooperation from BOTH parties.

For the tuition to be a successful long-term relationship (at least until the child feel comfortable learning independently), the tutor needs to make sure that the student is receptive to his/her teaching style. This highly depends on the student’s current learning performance and habits. It would be helpful if the parent can observe how their child learns and understands if it is pressure or positive reinforcements that effectively motivates him/her. Does he or she need frequent breaks to recollect themselves or would breaks be too distracting? Does the child need to revise lecture content and strengthen his/her foundation or does he/she need practice with the help of external assessment and materials? Is it explanation or training that the child needs?

Many parents see the first lesson between the tutor and the tutee to be the hit-or-miss/make-or-break trial lesson where they use this lesson to evaluate and decide whether or not to proceed with the tutor. However, if the parent cannot share his/her vision of how they want the lesson to be structured as and what the child needs, the tutor will not be able to adapt and cater to all the child’s learning needs as early on as the first class. This is why parents should have a talk with their child and get as much information as possible about his/her learning needs, relay the information to the coordinator and exchange information with the tutor. This will definitely enhance the likeliness of a successful and long-term partnership.


Do you really need a home-tutor?

Parents want what’s best for their children and in a competitive and fast moving country like Singapore, supplementary tuition to achieve the best results at school may be the only and “best” answer.

But what is it about tuition that is so crucial in helping students attain that extra boost they need in their grades? Is it the undivided attention from the tutors? Or the technical skills and insider syllabus knowledge being transferred by the tutor to the tutee?

It is definitely both and more.

To understand the motivations of a parent seeking for specialized tutors to assist their children in specific subjects, we have to take a look into the common circumstances of a typical parent and student.

Parents who look for tutors are those with:

1.Limited time
There is simply no time to closely monitor the children’s school performance. This is a common situation in Singapore, a country where the majority of married couples are dual-income couples.

2.Outdated information about the education system
The education system and assessment formats are constantly being updated. The ones most informative and in-tune with the changes are those who are actually practicing in the industry - such are the current teachers and tutors. As such, parents will need to rely on these parties to structure more personalised lessons for their children to perform at pace or even ahead of their peers.

3.Specific goals
The Asian culture has always been one to be more goal-oriented and Singapore is no different. Typical goals include, and range from achieving all passes, specific grade jumps to, of course, securing A-level grades and be qualified a place in all of the renowned education establishments.

Well, what about the students? Who are the ones who need, truly need, a tutor outside of school? Wouldn’t it be a dream come true to be able to perform at school without investing the already limited time on additional curriculums and extra tuitions?

While it is true that the majority of students seek for private tuition, we would like to help parents establish a fine line between having a tutor that is “good to have” and “must need to have”.

The types of students who definitely need a tutor are those who:

1.Have short attention span
2.Are demotivated
3.Are uninterested/frightened of/unconfident in an important subject

If you have noticed, these reasons are associated with a child’s conditions and state of mind as opposed to their actual performance. Attention, motivation and confidence are important criteria to ensure that a child/student grows and performs in a positive manner. A good knowledgeable tutor will be able to spark the interest and confidence the student need to improve. Knowing that there is a person the student can turn to in times of educational struggle can be very comforting and reassuring. Positive reinforcements should be enforced throughout these lessons to ensure that students can move towards the goals.

This moves us to how should a parent select a suitable tutor that can deliver the desirable results? Kindly find the answer in our next article.


How to get the most suitable tutor?

1. Know what you need
Usually different students have different weaknesses and strengths, learning patterns, it is critical to know what the students needs before selecting a good tutor. Some students are very weak in their foundations and could not follow up with the lessons in the classroom. It would be great if they can find a tutor who are patient and teach the students from the basics. Some students are very strong in their concepts and they just need the tutor to clarify their doubts on some of the tough concepts. Usually, this group of students need someone who is very strong in both their teaching as well as their knowledge and skills in the subject, Mindworks Tuition will recommend them get the best tutors in the respective category. As Mindworks Tuition Agency, as a practise, we will always clarify on your needs before shortlisting the relevant tutors for you to consider.

2. Know what your budget is
Mindworks has a put up a table with the current tuition market rate “Link” which you can refer to. It is just a reference, some tutors could charge lower or higher depending on their experience and back ground. Usually you should follow the rate closely. Depends on your budget, chose the relevant tutors in each category. The rate is affected by market supply and demand. If you quote a rate that is below the market rate, there is still a chance that you will find a tutor through Mindworks, however the quality of the tuition might by compromised in one way or another. If your budget falls in between two categories of tutors and are not true which category of tutors are suitable for you, feel free to send in your form “Link” and Mindworks Tuition Agency will help you from there.

3. Good chemistry between tutor and you
Many parents want the perfect tutor when they just started their search for tutors. Not long after, they may find out that there is no “perfect” tutor, just like there is no perfect couples in the world. Usually, a tutor that may be suitable for one student may not be suitable for another student. During the first few lessons with any new tutor, always take it as trial lessons and see if that is a good fit and the students are comfortable with tutors. At Mindworks, by default, we will always allow the parents to try the tutors out and see if there is a good chemistry between tutors and the students.

4. Constantly converse with the tutor
Selecting a good tutor is only 50% of the success, parents should constantly talk to the tutors and get to know how the students are doing in the tuition and how the students can perform better in the tuitions and if they are progressing well. One of the mistake the some parents make is to talk to the tutor only after their son or daughter finished their exam. Usually it is already late and nothing can be done except for changing another tutor. The same story could repeat the next year. Therefore it is important for the parents to get to know the progress regularly too.

5. Treat the tutor well
As tutors are normal people like us, the same laws of making relationships great applies too. “Respect yourself and others will respect you. What you want others to do on yourself, do unto others” – Confucius. Treating the tutors well in small ways will make their day, they will serve even more with their heart and mind. The relationship between you and the tutor will may turn into valuable friendship in the long run.

There is no magics in getting the most suitable tutors. All you need to do is to follow the 5 simple tips. Or just give Mindworks a call at 85000358 and we will help you take care of the rest.