Monday, May 5, 2008

Agreement With Your Tutor?

There have been many horror stories to do with tutors and tuition coordinators. One example is that the tutor stopped tutoring a child immediately when he got another student who is paying him a higher fee. Since there is no contract to legally bind him to continue tutoring, the tutor just left the student stranded.

What can the parents do for such irresponsible tutors then? You can strike up an agreement (preferably with other people as witnesses), or even do a written agreement with the tutor. You have got to protect yourself in this instance. Some tutors will drop your child off his list just because someone else offered him a higher pay.

Why don't you draft up a typed agreement and let the both of you sign in complete with the full name and IC numbers of the both of you? In the agreement, or contact, you can specify that he or she be allowed to stop tutoring, but he or she needs to give you at least a month's notice in advance. There are many ways you can change that sentence.

You can do this alternatively: The tutor is allowed to stop tutoring your child, however he or she must continue working till you, the parent, have found a new tutor to replace him or her. This is very important. It prevents you from having a situation where you can't find a tutor to replace the outgoing tutor immediately.

To attract your tutor and make him stay on till your child's examinations, you can dangle an incentive carrot in front of him. The agreement can be as follows:

If the tutor manages to finish his duration of his job, defined as the start of his work at insert date here till the end of his work after my child's examinations in insert month here, he will be given a monetary incentive of $insert amount here.

Of course, you should not put a 2 dollar incentive because it isn't really very attractive. What you can put is a 100 dollar incentive or a 150 dollar incentive. Alternatively, you can add a 100 dollar incentive plus bonuses based on your child's end of year results. Motivation is the key and this will attract your tutor to work hard and continue teaching your child till the end of the year after your child's end of year examinations.

Alternatively, you can write that the tutor has to complete a certain amount of work (please do define the work as accurately as possible) before he or she is allowed to decide to quit. However this is not an attractive option and may alienate the tutor.

You are allowed to decide whatever things to add in your agreement, and your tutor is allowed not to sign them if he feels that it is to his disadvantage. Before setting up an agreement, think of the tutor's feelings. The tutor would not want to be trapped in a situation where he has to teach your child for the whole year without any option to quit. Some tutors quit because of family commitments, and such tutors are normally agreeable to a one month notice in advance. Of course, you should not be an irritant and write plenty of demands in your agreement form. Treat the tutor just like how you wish to be treated if you are a tutor.

Kenneth Tang
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