Tutor vs Teacher: What is the Role of a Tutor?

Posted on May, 2022

Have you ever wondered what the role of a tutor is?

There can be a lot of confusion around the differences between a tutor and a teacher, with many people assuming they perform the same job role.

However, they each have a different purpose and help children fulfil their educational goals through a variety of methods.

Any child who attends school will have access to a teacher, in fact, numerous teachers for that matter. The number of teachers can be dependent on the subject being taught. Teachers have to follow legal guidelines that are set by the government and filtered through the school management team.

In fact, it is a legal requirement for children to receive education and the majority of classes are taken or supervised by teachers.

However, not all of these children will have access to a tutor. Tutors provide additional support to the subjects taught in school. They bridge the gap in the subject or skill knowledge between different topics and the way a child understands them, which makes tuition optional.

More and more, some professional teachers supplement their day time job by providing private tuition, making them both a teacher and a tutor.

In this blog post we’re going to address some of the confusion surrounding the role of a tutor vs the role of teacher by identifying some of the key differences.

For any parent, this can help you decide whether your child could benefit from private tuition in order to reach their child’s full potential.

A teacher giving a high-5 to a student

What is a Teacher?

Teachers are often specialists in education and in the subjects that they teach. ​However, this is not always the case as some teachers have a degree in Media but go on to teach English.

There are two types of teachers; qualified and unqualified. A qualified teacher will have gone through a government specified teacher training course, whilst an unqualified teachers will have all the same attributes as a qualified teacher without the government certificate.

They use their expertise and experience as well as evidence to make informed decisions about their teaching practice. Any teacher that works in a school must have specified professional qualifications to enable them to teach children.

Depending on where they work, a teacher might be responsible for a group of students as large as 30. They are also responsible for delivering the National Curriculum to ensure students are taught the essential knowledge and skills in key subject areas.

In terms of work patterns, teachers will generally work within school hours which fall between the hours of 8am and 5pm.

They will also be paid a set wage, unless they are a supply teacher and only required for short periods of time.

With that said, let’s take a closer look at the role of a teacher.

What is the Role of a Teacher?

  • Teachers are responsible for a large number of students and they are required to follow a standardised national curriculum focused on specific academic standards.
  • Teachers must ensure that children in their care reach specific targets in a certain time frame.
  • A teacher must try and devise a method of teaching that fits most students in their class, and adapt their strategy to suit the majority.
  • Teachers will have to provide a range of learning materials that help children with different learning preferences.
  • Teachers will adjust the pace to the classroom, if the majority of students have understood the information the teacher can move ahead.
  • Teachers manage behaviour in the classroom to ensure students are working collaboratively.
  • Teachers have to follow a set curriculum and there is little flexibility in lesson plans.
  • Teachers must grade and mark assignments, then update a child’s records with their grades.

A tutor helping a child on a laptop

What is a Tutor?

In contrast to a teacher, private tutors are not required by law to have qualifications in the subjects they teach. Any one who has knowledge in a specific area can become a tutor.

They provide additional support to students who might be struggling with certain subjects in school, and help bridge the gap between their knowledge and skill set.

They work with smaller groups of students (although you may coem across tutors who work in large groups of 15 or more), or on a one-to-one basis to provide dedicated mentoring that enables students to better understand subject areas. For example, if a student is preparing for an exam such as 11 plus, they might hire a private tutor to help them with their preparation for this. This can also help them feel more confident as they can spend more time focussing on topics they find most challenging.

As opposed to teaching, private tutoring is additional to school and usually takes place outside of school hours. This extends to the evenings or at the weekends, meaning it is a lot more flexible.

Private tutors can also charge an hourly fee, rather than being paid a set wage. They are either self employed or can be hired by an online tutoring company, such as Redbridge Tuition.

What is the Role of a Tutor?

  • Tuition takes place in smaller groups or on a one-to-one basis.
  • Tutors can tailor their lessons to suit the needs of the individual learner as they are not teaching as many children in the same group.
  • Tutors can present information in multiple ways to help different students understand key ideas and concepts.
  • Students can often have more input during private tuition lessons. Tutors are there to bridge the gaps in their learning, meaning students can steer the lessons more when it comes to requesting help with specific tasks or assignments.
  • Tutors reinforce what has been taught in the classroom, by spending more time exploring and explaining different concepts.
  • The role of a teacher is to teach a certain subject according to the school syllabus, whereas tutors respond to a child’s individual needs by filling in gaps (also using the National Curriculum).
  • Tutors can help students find study skills and techniques that work for them. If one method doesn’t work, they are free to experiment with another method.
  • Tutoring can take place in a range of settings including online, at home, in a library, or in any other public place.

Teacher vs Tutor: The Key Differences

When it comes to better understanding the role of a tutor vs the role of a teacher, it can be helpful to summarise their key differences.

We have outlined these below to give you an overview of how these two professions differ:

  • The number of students they teach – Tutors work with small groups or on a one-to-one basis whereas teachers are responsible for large groups of students.
  • Required qualifications – By law, teachers must have a pedagogical qualification whereas tutors are not required to have formal teaching qualifications. Despite this, lots of tutors have qualifications in the subjects they teach to enable them to better assist different students. Very often, as in the case of Redbridge Tuition, the tutors are subject specialists. For example, a Biology tutor may be a trainee medic, or a maths tutors may have a maths degree.
  • Teaching approach – Teachers must follow a set curriculum and little flexibility when it comes to lesson planning. In contrast, tutors are focused on the individual needs of the child and can tailor their approach to suit.
  • Flexibility – Teachers work within school hours across set days, whereas tutors are able to offer more flexible learning hours including evenings and weekends.
  • Feedback and attention – Due to the smaller class sizes, tutors are able to provide more detailed, immediate feedback and give more attention to individual students. Teachers on the other hand, need to focus on the entire class so have less time to provide one-to-one support.

It is helpful to think of teachers as those who usher students, whereas tutors make sure no one is left behind.

Teachers are responsible for covering a broad range of topics within a given subject in the classroom, whereas tutors have more flexibility to focus on key topics within that broad spectrum to ensure children fully grasp what they are being taught.

Teachers and tutors should complement one another, as both professionals are vital to ensure children reach their academic goals.

A teacher drawing on a whiteboard

When is the Role of a Tutor Beneficial?

It’s important to remember that every child is different, and the way they learn is different. What works well for one student may not work for another, as children absorb information in multiple ways.

For example, some children can easily digest large amounts of text and will read books and other educational materials to solidify their understanding.

In contrast, other children might find reading difficult and might therefore prefer visual resources when it comes to understanding different concepts.

Whichever way children learn best, it’s important their needs are responded to.

This is where private tutoring can be very beneficial as tutors listen to what children need then build their lesson around that. Instead of being restricted by a standardised curriculum, they can delve deep into challenging subject areas to ensure children understand what is being taught.

By using an array of teaching methods and techniques, tutors are very helpful.

Take a look at the below instances when private tuition might be right for your child:

Supporting Children With Special Educational Needs

Children with SEND might have different learning needs from the rest of their classmates, which can make it more difficult for them to understand certain concepts.

Especially if they are in a large group, as it means they are not receiving the dedicated support they need. If a teacher is responsible for looking after 30 children, it’s very difficult to focus on individual children and to recognise where they need help.

However, with private tutoring, it’s a much more personalised approach due to the fact it can be carried out on a small group and one-to-one basis. This allows the tutor to identify which areas your child needs support with so that they adapt their teaching methods.

Whether that’s finding the right learning style for reading and writing skills, or helping them to express themselves emotionally, tutors can help them improve their concentration, confidence, and passion for learning.

At Redbridge Tuition, we provide dedicated support for children with a whole range of learning needs. Our expert tutors will work with your child to build their skills and confidence so that they can achieve their full potential. To find out more about how we can help, simply get in touch with our team.

Nurturing Gifted Learners

If your child is a naturally gifted learner, then private tuition could be just what they need. Some children have a genuine passion for learning from a young age, and may excel in certain subjects. Often, in schools, teachers struggle to find the time to truly push a gifted child.

Perhaps they’re exceeding expectations and achieving high grades across the board? Private tuition could therefore boost their learning journey even further and help them achieve even bigger aspirations.

This might include giving them more confidence to succeed in their 11 plus exam or encouraging them to take part in national competitions.

Furthermore, this can help your child expand their horizons when it comes to choosing a career path in the future. By focussing on their key strengths and abilities now, it sets them in good stead for university and beyond.

Increasing Confidence

Sometimes children need a little piece of extra encouragement for them to learn at their best. It might be that they lack confidence in their own ability, and are therefore very quiet and reserved in class.

If they are surrounded by louder students with more confidence, this can make them even more nervous to share their worries and doubts.

However, when they engage in a private tuition session, they will be more willing to open up and discuss any challenges they are facing. Being in a small group environment, can make children more comfortable to stretch themselves and extend their learning further. They will feel more confident when it comes to asking questions which is a key skill for their future education and beyond.

At Redbridge Tuition, we have helped numerous students improve their confidence to progress and achieve their academic goals.

Take a look at some of our testimonials from parents who have seen a significant improvement in their child:

“You are an excellent bunch of people. You guide each child perfectly according to their strength & weakness.The tutors are highly qualified & are very passionate about their work.The lessons are well simplified making it easy to understand. Sedra gained a lot of confidence and learned so well in a short period of time while with Redbridge, which was amazing! I could never forget the dedication of Suhridh, Jon, Zainab & Taniya in helping Sedra & of course the guidance from Rupa. Keep up the good work team.” – Vijay Mahendra

“Very helpful and friendly staff. My daughter has excelled. Her confidence has grown and she enjoys the challenge. The prices were affordable too, never felt over stretched.
Thanks Redbridge Tuition.” – Kanika Thakur

“Thanks to you and your tutors for the confidence you instilled in my daughter to believe in herself. Her maths has improved so much that I attribute her success in her 11+ exams to the help she received at the Saturday tutor groups. She received just the right amount of work to challenge her and build her confidence.” – Silo Endeley

Redbridge Tuition's Loughton tuition centre

Why Choose Redbridge Tuition?

At Redbridge Tuition we offer a tailored approach to learning.

We know that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, and understand the key differences between each childs.

That’s why our team of expert tutors work directly with children to respond to their individual needs to ensure they receive the very best tuition service.

Our goal is to be a constant positive presence in the educational lives of our students as we understand the importance of education in enabling people to lead more fulfilled lives.

Therefore, we encourage our students to not only pass exams but also to master the material with a deep understanding of different subject areas.

You can be confident that your child is being taken care of at Redbridge Tuition as all of our tutors are subject specialists, and have been carefully selected via a rigorous selection process. All tutors are also DBS checked.

To provide you with more flexibility, we have two tuition centres – one in Seven Kings which serves students between Ilford, Newbury Park, Dagenham, Barking Goodmayes and Romford, and one in Loughton which mainly serves students between South Woodford, Woodford Green, Epping, Buckhurst Hill, Chingford and Chigwell.

Tutor vs Teacher: What Is the Role of a Tutor?

Hopefully after reading this blog post, you have a deeper understanding of the role of a tutor and what that entails.

Both a tutor and a teacher play an important role in a childs educational development, and they should work together to ensure your child reaches their full potential.

Whilst classroom teaching is sufficient for some children, others might require a bit of a boost when it comes to understanding key ideas and concepts. Every child is different and it’s important these differences are recognised so that children can lead successful, academic lives.

Tutors play a vital role in this journey, as they help to bridge any knowledge gaps that your child may have, that is stopping them from progressing.

Whether that’s educational or emotional support, tutors help set your child up for success which extends beyond the classroom environment. Improving our students’ chances creates a better world for everyone in the long-term.

At Redbridge Tuition, we’re committed to supporting children throughout their academic journey. Whether your child has fallen behind, is struggling to get the attention they need in class, or needs help preparing for their exams, our team of experienced tutors are here to help.

Simply get in touch to find out more or book a free consultation.

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