Everyone who has read my blogs on schooling, knows that education and being the best student in class is very important to Hong Kong parents. Not surprisingly many kids have a tutor to help them throughout their school career. I found out that it is quite a big business in Hong Kong. So let me give you some insights.
Tutors can be found anywhere in Hong Kong. There are many learning centres, tutoring schools, online tutors and private home tutors to just name a few. Tutoring starts for kids as young 2 years old, but especially by the time the child is at secondary school, many students have a tutor for one or more subjects in preparation of exams. Also many parents use a tutor to prepare their children for an interview to get admitted to a certain school or to teach them how to play a musical instrument. The rate per hour depends on the quality of the tutor and the subject, however it starts somewhere at 350 HKD/hour and upward. It’s not awkward to have a tutor at all, actually it seems to become a must-have in the eyes of many parents and students.
Having a big tutor scene is good news when you are about to move to Hong Kong as it might be extremely helpful:
- For newly arrived kids from non-English speaking countries struggling with their English in international schools. Or for new kids who are a bit behind in some of the subjects.
- For expat parents who are unable to help their kids with the Cantonese or Mandarin homework.
- For expat parents who want their kids to keep up their mother tongue.
- For expats interested in becoming a tutor!
However, the big question is: how to select a good tutor? As everyone knows, anyone who can speak English is not automatically a good English tutor or teacher. The better tutors will know their topic well, but more importantly be able to connect with your child and inspire curiosity to learn and grow. Most people start to look online, but be careful as quality of tutors varies greatly. It is advisable to look for organisations like Taskpins who will only connect you to tutors that they have interviewed in person, checked, and are qualified to do the task. By interacting with an intermediator, both you and the tutor have some extra safeguards. There are several horror stories of tutors being paid directly in advance, but then not showing up. A reputable organisation will typically pay tutors only after delivery of the lesson hence you have additional protection that your money will not disappear. Another way is to use the power of social media and ask in groups for recommendations. But again, be weary on social media as in many instances people will recommend their friends, without actually knowing if the person is any good at tutoring.
But keep in mind, that although tutoring seems to be part of the deal in Hong Kong, don’t overdo it! Kids have very busy schedules and are in a competitive schooling environment, so unless they need it, don’t enforce tutoring upon them! Sometimes we should just let kids be kids and allow them to explore the world around them.
If you would like to know more about my experiences with tutoring, please contact me.