Homeschool, Kids in School

Teachers, Tutors and Facilitators: Know the difference

Teachers, Tutors and Facilitators: Know the difference

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Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between a teacher, tutor, and facilitator and what their best role for you and your family may be.

What is the difference between a teacher, facilitator, and tutor?

The field of education has seen many changes in 2020. Many parents have tilted away from traditional schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning pods and private tutors are increasingly becoming the norm for imparting education to children. It’s easy to be confused by the many technical terminologies used in the field of education. It can be frustrating to decide whether your child needs a teacher, tutor, or facilitator. Although all of them are engaged in education, their functioning differs a lot. Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between a teacher, tutor, and facilitator and what their best role for you and your family may be.


Teaching is an intensive process of sharing knowledge. It aims to increase the psychological and intellectual growth of the student. We often think of teachers as the wonderful classroom educators we grew up to know. Traditionally, teachers have knowledge and expertise in a particular field ranging from Elementary education to physics. Furthermore, they have a specialized understanding of how students learn and have been trained in methodology to engage students in the learning process. They impart knowledge through a variety of means to their students. A teacher leads a formal learning session. They are a professional who creates or follows a curriculum in a structured learning environment.

A teacher helps students or pupils, often in a school and in a family or community setting. A teacher is an acknowledged guide or helper in the processes of learning. Licensed teachers need to have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree, and those that work in public schools must also have a state teaching license. Some teachers may opt to work in private or religious schools. More and more, some teachers are opting to become private teachers in the student’s home. Their goal is to ensure that all students in their care acquire the appropriate skills to pass their classes and excel in their studies.

While elementary school teachers may teach several different subjects, middle and high school teachers typically focus on specialization. Some teachers may decide to pursue a graduate degree and become instructional coordinators or school administrators. Job responsibilities of a teacher include:

●      designing lesson plans to guide students’ learning

●      answering students’ questions

●      grading assignments

●      updating students’ records with their grades

●      meeting with parents or other educational professionals

●      supervising students


A tutor is someone who helps a student in understanding the material he is learning. A tutor may be more informal and gives additional, special, or remedial instruction. Although many professionally accomplished tutors have a degree in education or the subjects they teach, this is not required. Some tutors enter the field after completing some post-secondary studies. Tutors may focus on a specific subject they excel in or several subjects. You might consider hiring a tutor if you plan to provide private supplemental lessons to your child on a particular topic or two instead of needing a full in-home teacher.

As part of their duties, they may review their students’ work to determine skills or concepts they are struggling with and then develop a strategy to enhance those skills or improve their understanding of the concept. Tutors may also work with students to help them improve their studying skills. Job responsibilities of a tutor include:

  • meeting with students and parents to discuss students’ goals and needs
  • talking to students about their study habits
  • assigning and evaluating student work
  • Supplementing teaching in the subject
  • tracking and sharing students’ progress with teachers and parents


Facilitators had begun to pop up in 2020 when there was a growing need for students doing remote learning at home and kids needing help keeping pace in schools. Parents often find that these children need a bit of oversight and answer quick questions even though a primary teacher is available remotely. That teacher may be tied up working with 20 or more other students in the classroom and have limited time or capacity to answer your students’ questions. Handling those questions when you are a parent working at home or managing other children can be challenging.

Enter the facilitator! This is an individual either in your home or available remotely who can answer your student’s questions. They help make sure work is turned in and keep tabs on your child’s progress. They can answer simple questions or find information to assist if it is a more complex concept. Instead of paying for a full-time tutor, facilitators can vary from full-time in the home to an “on-demand” type service where your child calls or zooms in with their questions.

Facilitators might not be subject area experts like a teacher or tutor. They can vary from a fully licensed and experienced teacher to a college or high school student assisting a fellow student. A facilitator is more like a ‘guide on the side’ who helps your child in their tasks and needs.

Teachers, tutors, and facilitators aim to enhance your child’s learning ability, but their approach is very diverse. Essentially, all tutors are facilitators, but not all facilitators are tutors. You should hire the services of a teacher, tutor, or facilitator, depending on the needs of your child.

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