Math is a subject that puzzles many students in Singapore and all around. For every struggling child out there, there is probably the same number of parents who are also scratching their heads about this. For many students, math is not the most intuitive subject and they struggle to understand it conceptually — possibly a result of the lack of active engagement. Struggling with math is common around the world, and Singaporean children experienced this too, especially with the pressure to perform well in tests and examinations. Also, the PSLE that is perceived by students and parents to be challenging, PSLE math questions continue to challenge many of those who are of age, as seen from the difficulties many adults face when they attempt to solve these questions when they make their way onto social media. As a parent looking at your kid struggling with his math homework, you might be wondering what to do, or even feeling hopeless as you too, spent much time working out these math questions from his homework.
Why You Need A Math Tutor for Your Child
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For all you parents out there, helping your child along with his math homework might not be an option— math might not be your strong point, or the way Math was taught today might simply be too different from what you were taught in the past (eg bar models that kids are using these days to solve their math problems?). Even if you have a degree in Math, having all that knowledge does not automatically translate to you being able to effectively teach your child and guide him along in his homework. Teaching is a whole new skill that many go through years of training to pick up, and kids learn best when they are taught through a method that speaks to them. Especially in Singapore, where double income families form the typical household unit, many parents like you are caught up with a job that takes up most of their time, leaving little time for their own. Even if you try to make time to self-tutor your child after heading home from work, it might be too late for your child to focus. Besides, after a long day of work, you really do want some time to rest and relax or spend quality time bonding with your child, instead of sitting him down to work on the sums in his homework. Even if you are a stay at home parent with a lot more time to spend with your child, you might not have the expertise required to help your child along with his schoolwork.
All these problems that come with taking things in your own hands to teach your child really makes it a poor option for parents out there. Instead, hiring a math tutor seems to be the better way to go, as you would be able to leave your child with someone who is experienced and trained in teaching math. With so many tutors out in the market, parents today are really spoilt for choice. While this can be a good thing, given the wide choice and option, it is also a challenge in itself to choose the best tutor for your child. If you are wondering how to find the best math tutor in Singapore, and have been struggling with this problem, read on as we will be sharing more about it with you!
The Ways of Finding Math Tutor for Your Child
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Before jumping into the process of finding a tutor for your child, let’s learn a little more about what you should look out for in a tutor!
There are generally three different types of tutors in the Singapore market— part time tutors, full time tutors and ex or current MOE tutors. Tutors from each category offer their services at different price ranges, with part time tutors typically asking for the least, and ex or current MOE tutors asking for the most. Generally, part time tutors could be poly or uni students who are still studying and taking this as a part-time job, or working adults who are looking for a side gig to earn some extra cash. These tutors usually do not have as much experience as they are not fully committed to tutoring as a job, and are typically younger too. Former or current MOE-trained tutors usually command a higher rate as they have gone through the required training by MOE to be an educator, and also typically have more educational resources that can be shared with your child. Besides that, they are also the ones who know the current education system best as well as what the examiners are looking for, ensuring that your child is taught right to enable them to achieve the best they can in their examinations.
Besides looking at these categories of tutors, some things that you can also consider when searching for a tutor include the flexibility of the schedule of the tutor, the teaching style, the educational resources they have, as well as their specific experiences in teaching students with a similar profile to your child. These are just a few things for you to think about. Everyone’s needs are different, so do think through what exactly is important for you and your child before committing to a specific tutor!
Here is a quick guide to help you to start looking! After all, we all want the very best for our children, and will not want to settle for any less.
1. Tuition agencies
With tuition agencies, there are those that offer group classes that you can sign up for, as well as tuition agencies for private tutors.
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While group tuition classes usually come at a more affordable price tag, the sheer number of students in the class also means that your child will not get much individual attention and time with the tutor. Without one on one time with the tutor, your child might not be able to zoom into the specific areas he is struggling with, or spend as much time revising these weaker areas that are keeping him back in achieving his potential in his math exams. More popular and well acclaimed group tuition agencies with a teaching method that has been known to work might also ask for higher fees, which might add up to something more than you are willing to part with.
Besides tuition agencies for group tuition classes, there are also tuition agencies for private tutors. Private tuition comes with many benefits when contrasted with group tuition. For instance, a private tutor would be able to focus directly on the specific problems that your child is facing with his homework, and spend more time on the areas that your child is weaker in, making sure that his time is being maximised. Besides that, private tuition also comes with greater flexibility that is great for busy parents, as you can arrange for these tuition sessions to be held at your convenience, and even request for the private tutor to conduct the tuition session at the comfort of your home. This will cut down on much travelling time for both you and your child, allowing you to have more time for the important things in your life. Private tuition also allows a more personalised curriculum to be designed for your child, making sure that you are getting the most out of what you are paying for your child.
Private tuition agencies work by getting private tutors to sign up with them. They offer a platform for the tutors, helping them to match with interested parents who are searching for tuition services for their child. Tutors usually input their qualifications and experience on the platform, allowing parents to search through them to find the right one for their child. The benefits with using such an agency to find for a tutor is that there is already a database compiled for you and ready for you to choose your perfect tutor from. Instead of searching from the ground, this will put you off to a good start in filtering and narrowing down potential tutors for your child. If you are interested in hiring any of them as a private tutor, you can then reach out to the tuition agency for more details about them, such as proof of their qualifications or their past teaching records. Some tuition agencies also do checks on the tutors who sign up on their platform to make sure that they meet the minimum requirements set out, allowing you to have a better peace of mind that you are searching through tutors who have already attained a certain level of qualifications in the field. However, since the agency is doing all of these, the downside to finding a tutor through a tuition agency is that you might end up paying a higher fee for the services of the tutor. Since most agencies collect a certain amount from the tutors who use their platform to reach out to parents, these tutors would also be likely to ask for higher compensation for their tutoring services, as a portion of what they earn from you will be given to the agency helping them to reach out to you. Private tuition is already not the cheapest option, and these higher fees that you eventually have to pay for these tuition services might mean that you might have to exchange that cup of daily Starbucks with instant coffee at the office instead.
If you are interested in a couple of tuition agencies to start your search, here are a few popular ones in Singapore:
-Elite Tutor (https://www.elitetutor.sg)
-Temasek Tutors (http://www.temasektutors.com)
-Smile Tutor (https://smiletutor.sg)
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Another common way that people get to know of tutors for their child is through referrals from their family and friends. Uncle Ben’s son might also be struggling with his math homework, and is having luck with the tutor he hired for his child— if it works for his son, there is a pretty good chance that the same tutor would work for your child too, right? Many people indeed think that a good recommendation for a tutor from someone you know is a reliable indication that the same tutor would also work wonders for their child, but unfortunately, this is not always true. Kids learn in so many different ways, and every kid is uniquely their own. This is also true for their learning styles, and how your kid learn best might not be the same as Uncle Ben’s son. Different tutors have their different teaching styles too, and the important thing is usually finding a tutor whose teaching style matches up with what best speaks to your child. Besides that, you might not know anyone who knows of a good math tutor to recommend, leaving you stuck on your own again.
Of course, referrals can be a great way to lead you to finding a great tutor for your child, as at least these tutors have been ‘tried and tested’ by someone who you trust. However, finding the best tutor for your child simply through relying on referrals might be leaving too much to chance. Another reason why people prefer finding a tutor through referrals is that it is often cheaper than going to a private tuition agency to find your tutor. Since you are not going through an agency to find a tutor for your child, an additional layer of fees is taken off, and the tutor might be more willing to take home a lower amount from you for each class as they will be getting the entirety of it instead of having to give some of it to the agency. Besides that, you might also be able to get a special “referral rate” if you ask for it, making this a more affordable option for you.
3. Searching online
If you do not want to pay the higher fees that you might face when searching for a tutor through a tuition agency, but also have no one to turn to for a good referral, searching for a math tutor online might also be a good place to start. With the advent of technology, it is a lot easier for private tutors to advertise and reach out to potential clients online. This can be done through multiple avenues, such as Facebook pages, Google ads, or even their own personalised website. Many parent forums are also peppered with advertisements posted by private tutors advertising their services, so do check them out too! Besides the apparent benefit of being an extremely convenient way to reach out to a new tutor, you might also be able to access online reviews on the tutor’s teaching style and the effectiveness of his teaching methods. This method of finding a tutor for your child will allow you to avoid the higher fees that come with a tuition agency, but also allow you to reach a greater base of tutors at the same time.
Of course this is not the perfect method too, and it too comes with its own downsides. Firstly, the information online is not organised in an orderly manner, and you will often find yourself being plunged into a whole new world with so many options simply floating out there for you to choose from. Researching and filtering through all these options that are online can be incredibly time consuming, and you might come out of all of it with little reward in the end. For all you busy parents out there, this might not be the best option for you. Besides that, the best tutors might also find no need to get additional business by advertising online, as they already have a steady stream of new tutees through the referrals that they get.
The Searching for Best Math Tutor
Essentially, there is no single tutor out there that is the “best” tutor. Every child is different and unique, and different tutors will work for them differently. If you bear the mentality of only settling for the “best” tutor, you will probably find yourself constantly unsatisfied, as someone better is always likely to come along. Since there is no best tutor out there, what is most important is to find a tutor that will work for your child, and to do so in the easiest way possible so that the entire process can also be a stress free one for you.
If you are searching for a great platform of tutors, iMath is a great option for all parents out there who are scratching their heads and worrying for their child. iMath is an online community comprising of math enthusiasts, parents, and tutors, who are available to offer your child the help that he needs with his math homework. On demand help is offered on the platform allowing your child to go online to seek help anytime he is stuck with a math problem instead of waiting for the next tuition session to get the help he needs. This allows your child to make effective progress continuously instead of waiting around before getting the help he needs. iMath is also committed to making sure that their services are convenient and provided at a low cost, making sure that it remains an affordable option despite all the additional perks it brings.
iMath also has a number of interesting features that can help your child to learn better. The community wall on the app allows your child to take a picture of the questions he is stuck with and post it. Users can then answer the questions on the wall, providing a great option for your child to get his questions answered at any time of the day and from the comforts of his room. Besides that, all sessions with the tutor are recorded, and you can review these video recordings anytime, including the writing on the Whiteboard. Signing up with iMath also gives your child access with a wide base of answered and unanswered math questions that he can use for his practice. Specifically, if there are any types of questions that your child is weaker in, he will be able to zoom into specific types of questions to practice on in the huge library available.
Keeping track of all of your child’s appointments on top of your own is a difficult task. If you are looking for something that will help you along with that, the iMath app is also a dream come true for busy parents all around, as the most recent upcoming tuition sessions that you have booked for your child are featured as a reminder. You will be able to track your confirmed sessions all at the same place, and make sure that your child is ready for his next lesson.
Keeping your child on top of the game and doing his best in school is a tough job, especially for all the parents out there who have to juggle a job and taking care of their kids. We all want the best for our child, and would give anything to make sure that they thrive and achieve their dreams. Navigating school is getting increasingly tough for our kids, as the curriculum gets tougher each year and greater expectations are piled on them. As parents, we definitely want to do all we can to give our children the help they need in order to make their learning as stress free and fun as possible. We hope that this article has helped you in making the best decision for your child, and we wish you all the best in finding the best math tuition to suit both your needs and those of your child!