The Differences Between Teachers and Tutors

Teaching and tutoring may be used loosely and interchangeably used in everyday conversations but even as everyone seems to let that slide, it is important not to forget that they are fundamentally different.


Yes, you’ve probably never given it much thought but being a teacher and a tutor are two similar but quite different things. Distinctions exist in many ways with one of the most common being that while teachers who provide services in schools are mandated to be holders of specific professional qualifications, tutors are not required by law to have specific degrees in the field they choose to teach.

Teachers lay the foundation by introducing entirely new concepts to students.


In any case, here’s a look at how to distinguish between teachers and tutors.


-          Teachers handle a large number of students. As a requirement, they are expected to adhere strictly to a set curriculum that targets specific academic standards. Their class lessons have set objectives that must be achieved within specific time frames. On the other hand, tutors deal with very few students; sometimes as few as one, tailoring their lessons to suit the learning pace of the individual.

-          Teachers are expected to come up with a method of teaching that will cater to the needs of the majority of students while tutors are at liberty to dish out information in many different ways or methods to help the student come to terms with concepts.

-          Teachers dictate the pace and path of learning for the students, providing different learning materials that suit different learning styles. With the tutor, the students are often the ones leading the way, requesting specific tasks or assignments. Tutors, more or less, help students find their way when in areas identified by the students as their weakest spots.

-          Teachers lay the foundation by introducing entirely new concepts to students. Tutors build on this foundation, reinforcing what has been taught in the classroom and seeing to it that points that may have been missed by the student in the classroom are addressed.

-          Teachers do their job by adjusting to the pace of the classroom as a whole. If it looks like the majority of students in the class get the gist, that’s the teacher’s cue to forge ahead. Whereas tutors channel all their attention to an individual or just a few students. They tailor their lessons to the needs of all the individuals and only move on to the next lesson when it appears the student(s) being tutored have fully grasped the concept.

-          Teachers are mostly concerned with delivering class lessons while tutors build on those lessons, as well as help the students imbibe good study skills and learning techniques. If one method proves ineffective, tutors have a responsibility to find another that does work for the student. Teachers do not have that kind of flexibility because there is a curriculum and a time frame to keep up with.

 Amongst other differences, there’s also some truth in the claim that many teachers beef up their earnings by combining their regular teaching jobs with private tutorials, implying that they are both teachers and tutors.