Teaching and tutoring involve a lot more differences than you might think. While teachers have to manage large class sizes of up to 30 students, a tutor’s job is to support student’s learning in a more personalised and flexible way.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between a teacher and a tutor to find out if tutoring could help your child reach their full potential!

Roles and responsibilities of teachers and tutors

While both teachers and private tutors aim to facilitate, encourage and aid learning, there are some clear differences in their roles and responsibilities.

What is a teacher's role?

It’s a teacher’s job to…

  • Lead a large class of students (sometimes 30+!)

  • Deliver the national curriculum

  • Use teaching methods and strategies that work for most students

  • Work within school hours

  • Manage behaviour in the classroom

  • Deliver learning at a pace suitable for the majority of students

What is a tutor's role?

So, what is a tutor? In comparison, it’s a tutor’s job to…

  • Tutor one-to-one or in smaller groups

  • Build on what’s taught in the classroom in line with the national curriculum

  • Tailor sessions, teaching techniques and materials to individual learners

  • Fill in gaps in knowledge or learning techniques

  • Help with specific subjects, projects or skills

  • Offer more flexible learning schedules

  • Encourage independent thinking and learning 

What is the difference between a tutor and a teacher?

The main differences between the duties and responsibilities of a private tutor and a teacher are:

  • The number of students taught in a session – tutors work one-to-one or with small groups for tutoring sessions

  • Qualifications– tutors are not required to have formal teaching qualifications, however, lots of tutors have qualifications in the subjects they assist students with

  • Individual learning– tutors are focused on individual goals rather than the needs of an entire class

  • Flexibility– tutors are able to offer more flexible learning hours and materials

  • Feedback and attention– tutors are more able to provide detailed, immediate feedback and give more attention to individual students.

 “Tutoring children weekly is a highly rewarding experience. I can meet the individual needs of each student as they progress through our highly comprehensive programme, whilst using my curriculum knowledge and experience to enhance the lessons. I love to support fearless learning, help children to learn from their mistakes and celebrate successes with them.”

-Bryony, Explore Learning Tutor 

Are tutors better than teachers?

Now let’s get this clear. We’re not saying that one is better than the other! Both teachers and tutors play important roles in our children’s learning and the best results often come when they work together.

Classroom teachers have more constraints in terms of class sizes and time pressures, so understandably, they can’t always give as much attention to some students as they might like. That’s why tutoring can help students who are either struggling to keep up or whizzing ahead to fulfil their potential.

Tutors simply have more time and resources on their hands to prepare lessons and cater to different learning styles and goals.

When you might need a tutor

Every child is different. That’s why it’s important to remember that different teaching styles and situations can be key to successful learning.

Whether it’s problem-solving or improving their communication skills – private tutors work with students on a wide array of topics and techniques.

Here are some instances where it could pay to find the right tutoring for your child.

Supporting children with special educational needs

Children with SEND may have very different needs to the rest of their classmates. Whether it’s adapted lesson plans or finding the right learning style for reading and writing skills – an expert tutor can help them improve their concentration, progress, confidence and passion for learning.

Find out from Sam and his mum how we support learning with autism.

Nurturing gifted learners

If your child is gifted, some extra English and maths tutoring may be just what they need to expand their horizons and inspire them to excel in their learning journey.

This could include giving them the confidence to succeed in their 11 Plus exam or encouraging them to take part in national competitions!

Boosting their confidence

Sometimes, children need a little extra attention and encouragement to learn at their best. Confidence is key when it comes to mastering English and maths skills in the classroom.

Working in smaller groups or one-to-one can make some children feel safer to stretch themselves and get curious about new things. At Explore Learning, our expert tutors are passionate about tutoring students to inspire fearless learners!

Is your child nervous about the transition to secondary school? Our Succeed in Secondary tuition course could give them the tools to thrive.

Could you become a tutor?

If you're ready to inspire the next generation of fearless learner, perhaps your could become a tutor. We're here to help train you and provide all the support you'll need on your journey as a tutor.

If you're already a tutor and would like to take the next step in your career, why not become a tuition centre manager? Use your experience to help other tutors with Explore Learning inspire the next generation of learners!

A tailored approach to learning

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for every learner. That is why we offer flexible tuition memberships to suit students, parents and the whole family. Choose between in-centre group tuition or online tutoring to suit your time and your child's needs.

Book a free tuition trial to find out which would work best for you and your family.

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The differences between a teacher and a tutor FAQ

What is the main difference between a teacher and a tutor?

A teacher is a qualified professional who provides education and instruction to a group of students in a structured classroom setting. They typically follow a specific curriculum and are responsible for teaching a wide range of subjects. On the other hand, a tutor is an individual who provides personalized instruction to an individual or a small group of students. Tutors often focus on specific subjects or areas of difficulty, tailoring their teaching methods to the unique needs of each student.

How does the role of a teacher in a traditional classroom setting differ from that of a tutor in a one-on-one setting?

In a traditional classroom, a teacher is responsible for managing a larger group of students, maintaining discipline, delivering lessons to a diverse group of learners, and assessing their progress through various evaluations. They follow a set curriculum and must ensure that all students grasp the material within a specific timeframe. Conversely, a tutor works closely with individual students or small groups, providing personalized attention and guidance. Tutors can adapt their teaching methods to suit the learning style and pace of each student, focusing on areas where they need extra support or clarification.

Can you explain the specific responsibilities and duties of a teacher versus a tutor?

The responsibilities of a teacher include planning and delivering lessons, creating assessments, maintaining classroom discipline, managing student behavior, tracking student progress, and providing feedback. They are also responsible for fostering a positive learning environment and addressing the needs of a diverse group of students. In contrast, a tutor's duties primarily involve assessing a student's strengths and weaknesses, developing personalized learning plans, providing one-on-one instruction, offering additional practice and resources, and monitoring progress over time. Tutors often work closely with students to address specific challenges or goals they may have.

What are the benefits of hiring a tutor instead of relying solely on classroom instruction from a teacher?

Hiring a tutor offers several advantages over relying solely on classroom instruction. Tutors provide individualized attention, allowing students to receive targeted support in areas where they may struggle or need additional clarification. Tutors can adapt their teaching methods to suit the unique learning style of each student, which can result in improved understanding and retention of the material. Additionally, tutors can provide extra practice, specialized resources, and valuable feedback that may not be feasible in a classroom setting. The personalized nature of tutoring can boost confidence, motivation, and academic performance.

Are there any situations where it would be more beneficial to seek a tutor's assistance rather than relying on a teacher?

Yes, there are situations where seeking a tutor's assistance can be highly beneficial. For instance, if a student is struggling with a specific subject or concept, a tutor can provide focused and intensive support to help the student overcome difficulties. Tutors can also be advantageous when preparing for standardized tests, such as college entrance exams, where targeted guidance and practice can significantly improve scores. Additionally, students who need to catch up on missed lessons or want to explore advanced topics beyond the scope of their classroom curriculum can benefit from a tutor's expertise and flexibility. Overall, seeking a tutor's assistance can be a valuable supplement to classroom instruction, helping students achieve their full potential.

Is tutoring worth it for students who are already performing well academically?

Yes, tutoring can still be worth it for students who are already performing well academically. While these students may have a solid grasp of the material, tutoring can provide additional benefits. It can offer opportunities for enrichment, allowing students to explore advanced topics or delve deeper into subjects of interest. Tutors can also challenge high-achieving students with more complex problems and higher-level thinking tasks. Moreover, tutors can help maintain motivation, provide valuable feedback, and refine study techniques, enhancing overall academic performance and ensuring continued growth and success.

Is tutoring worth it for students who are struggling in multiple subjects?

Yes, tutoring is often highly beneficial for students who are struggling in multiple subjects. When students face challenges in various areas, it can be overwhelming and difficult to catch up solely through classroom instruction. Tutors can provide personalized attention and support, breaking down complex concepts, filling knowledge gaps, and offering targeted strategies to improve understanding and performance. Tutoring can help build a solid foundation, boost confidence, and develop effective study habits, resulting in better overall academic outcomes. It offers struggling students the opportunity to receive focused assistance tailored to their specific needs, increasing their chances of success.

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