Teacher vs Tutor: What’s Best for Your Learning Pod?

How to choose the right education facilitator for your school-from-home learning pod.

There are so many decisions to make when forming a micro-school or learning pod, but the key to the “learning” part of it is choosing the right instructor for your kids. Hiring someone who doesn’t have the right skillset for your needs could become a source of frustration for all involved, and even sour the children on the entire concept of learning at home.

When it comes to helping your kids learn, there are two main options that pod parents have to choose from: a teacher and a tutor. Each has their pros and cons that should be considered.

What is the difference between a teacher and a tutor for learning pods?

The first point of confusion might be about the difference between the two roles. The terms are often used interchangeably, as teachers often tutor and tutors sometimes teach, but there is a major distinction.

  • A teacher is an individual who has studied education, has had on the job training, and is eligible for state credentials or teaching permits. They’re trained to support a wide range of a child’s educational needs, use different approaches to different topics and different children based on aptitude and learning styles and, if needed, design a lesson plan or even an entire curriculum.
  • A tutor is usually someone who does not have a degree or strong background in education, and has not been credentialed as a teacher. They would not be able to work in a public school, for example. They are, however, skilled at supporting a child’s learning in a particular subject (or more than one), when there is an established curriculum.

We recommend assessing your teacher vs. tutor needs by looking at both the age range of your pod, and the kids’ abilities to take on new material, complete assignments and stay on task without step-by-step guidance.

Generally speaking, younger children are more likely to need a teacher to guide them through their learning day, whereas an older group may find equal success with a tutor. Keep in mind that you’ll want to vet potential tutors to ensure that they’re adept at all of the subjects that you need them to cover.

Your Pod Teacher Tutor

Teacher vs. Tutor

Ages 2-6  
Ages 6-9  
Ages 9-12 (depending on capability) ☑️
Ages 13+ ☑️
Independent Learners ☑️
Learners Who Need Guidance  
School-Provided Curriculum ☑️
No Established Curriculum  
Remote-Hybrid Learning
(Assisting school-provided Zoom remote learning)
Complete “Home School”
(Fully independent schooling with a home-school curriculum)
Neurotypical Learners ☑️
Learners With Cognitive/Learning Disabilities *

* There are ABA specialists who can also act as tutors for learners with disabilities

Why Hire a Tutor for Your Learning Pod?

As you can see in the table above, a teacher can do just about anything that a tutor can, and a lot more. So why might you consider a tutor instead?

If a tutor checks all your boxes in the table above, your decision comes down to two factors:

  1. Cost — Because their experience and level of education is often lower, on average, a tutor charges a lower hourly rate than a teacher.
  2. Specialization — If you’re looking for advanced knowledge of a particular subject, especially niche ones like music, AP Physics or standardized test prep. Of course, those highly-specialized tutors often charge much more than a teacher for their time.

Why Hire a Teacher for Your Learning Pod?

Likewise, in addition to the points outlined in the table, teachers have two additional advantages over tutors that might make them the clear choice for your micro-school.

  1. Learning Philosophies — Whether it’s play-based, Montessori, Project-Based, or any of the popular educational systems today, teachers are more likely to have training and experience teaching in that manner.
  2. CPR and First Aid certification — Most accredited teachers also have CPR and first aid certification (including all PodSkool teachers). Tutors, on the other hand, are less likely to have undergone the training and maintain their certification.

We’re Here to Help

We help families like yours find a great educator for their pod, matching you based on your educational and pandemic safety needs, and providing insurance and payroll to take the stress out of school-from-home.

Whether you want a tutor or a teacher, you can get your estimate in a few seconds by filling out the form below.

Take the Stress out of School-from-Home