Before jumping on to the topic of whether or not school teachers can take private tuition, let us first understand the need and origin of private tuitions.
‘Private tuition’ is a very recent concept probably a couple of decades old. Originally when there were no school systems in place, very few elite ones were given the privilege of learning from the private tutors also known as `preceptors`. The children of the rich and elite were the ones who benefited by learning from private tutors at home. These private tutors were mostly renowned or highly knowledgeable sages, who had the worldly knowledge and could teach the child the basic way of life. Children were not taught about theoretical things but the teachings were mostly practical, somethings that could be used in day-to-day life. Teachings were mostly about culture, behaviour and basic manners. Slowly and steadily this concept became obsolete as education systems came into picture where everyone could go to an institution to learn. Its only in recent decades that private tuitions is an add on to regular school.
To reiterate, private tuition had started as a way of boosting children who were not able to cope as well as other students did in the classroom. These children who were academically weak would consider going for private classes to pass the competitive exams. In recent years, the value of private tuition has not only increased, but it has almost become compulsory for every student to join a private class or tuition and the school system has just become a mandatory formality that needs to be maintained.
There is a small percentage of students who still completely rely on school education and school teachers/professors. These are the students who consider the teachers to be dependable and their only way to get into the subject without any additional help from outside the school system.
School teachers/professors are expected to deliver 100% when they are teaching in school. Should these school teachers be taking private tuition as well?
Certainly, there are different schools of thought when it comes to this slightly controversial subject. The first one being, why and what is the need?
Let’s consider a simple example; a Lawyer working at the Firm. The Lawyer who consults at a firm and also has his own private practice. This in itself sounds a bit ambiguous , however if the same lawyer consults with the same client from two places of business does that convey a positive message? If we look at it plainly and simply it sure seems like it does not give a good impression. It maybe conveys that I am not able to give you full attention here and if you consult me in private, I will be able to treat you better.
The same is applicable for teachers as well. It’s not a question of ethics, although this question immediately poses an ethical dilemma. Unless the teacher is bound by a contract with school and isn’t allowed to take private tuition, it’s a completely different argument. However, if the teacher of his or her free will decides to teach the same subject privately by charging fees for the same subject, it does give out an impression that maybe he/she did not cover the subject at school in a non-diligent manner. This certainly creates a grey area for both school and the teacher, but for those students who are 100% dependent on school education, it shakes their morale a little bit.
Although the teacher may have good intentions of helping the students who need this extra hour of the same subject, the students who do not attend this private class may end up feeling left out and begin to doubt their knowledge on the subject. Here is the ethical dilemma. So what is the solution to this? Should the teacher completely stop teaching out of school? Should the target audience (students) be different? Should the teacher take up another subject that she’s not teaching at school? Should this practice be entirely stopped and the private tuition should be limited to private classes?
I firmly believe that school is a primary place of education and that is the kind of importance the teachers and the students’ needs to impart to it. This is possible when the teachers constantly strive to pay equal attention to all the students present in the class at school. With that being said, it’s a very common phenomenon that some students do better than the others and some students certainly need private attention. Now the students who definitely need additional classes can be best identified by the teacher who is interacting with them. For these students, it makes logical sense to suggest extra classes to them after consulting with their parents. The same teacher can definitely teach these students and all of the students will feel included.
Yes, in today’s competitive world, private tuition play a very crucial role, but this should not take away from the school. A teacher can take-up private tuition, but on need basis just to maintain the ethical decorum in school, after ensuring the lesson has been well taught in the regular class itself. The same teacher can also take private tuition for students who are not from the same school and that becomes a personal choice for the teacher too. A teacher can also take-up tuition for a subject totally different from what she is teaching at the school, however this again imposes a message that maybe the other teachers are not doing their job, so it should be avoided. However, if it’s absolutely essential, the teachers can consult amongst each other and with the school and decide to tutor privately on a need basis only.
The end result of this discussion should only be for the betterment of the student. Whatever helps each and every student progress is the right thing to do.
We leave it open for you to discuss and comment on what do you think is the best way to go!