What is a Private Teacher?

Parents are looking into alternatives to the more traditional school settings including private teachers and learning pods.

What is a Private Teacher?

As we prepare to hit the books this fall, educators are deep in the process of planning what school might look like for students. We’ve heard the possibility of an in-person, in-school return, of school remaining virtual for the time being, and of numerous hybrid models — everything from one week on, one week off, to every other day rotations, to half day structures, and so much more. And with all this uncertainty still circulating, many parents are quickly looking into alternatives to school settings altogether.

Which brings us to one of the newest trends popping up across the country: hiring a private teacher. But, what is a private teacher, exactly? To be clear, it’s not a tutor. It’s not a nanny. And it certainly isn’t a “catch-all” role in regards to childcare. Which also means it may not meet the needs of every family or learning pod.

As you consider whether it’s the right fit for you and yours, it’s important to understand the difference between a tutor and a teacher in the more traditional contexts. Then, as you plan for the year ahead, consider the ways in which a private teacher may actually provide the best of both worlds.


  • Typically outside of the school setting
  • Usually part-time, after school, and sometimes evenings and/or weekends
  • Typically hired to assist or enrich a student’s current coursework
  • Most often hired to help where a student is academically struggling
  • Typically one-on-one, focusing on the student’s individual academic needs in a specific subject area
    - Their scope of responsibilities are usually narrowed


  • Typically employed by a school, to work in a classroom with a number of same-age students
  • Typically follow predetermined guidelines and pacing guides, evaluating students by those expectations
  • Their scope of responsibilities are usually vast: they introduce new subjects, they create and map out curriculum, establish learning goals, grade and assess student learning, and so much more.

What to Expect of a Private Teacher

With the demands so many parents are now juggling between working from home, ensuring their children are completing school assignments, meeting their familial obligations, and sustaining any amount of sanity amidst it all — it’s no wonder so many are asking, “Isn’t there a better way?”

Perhaps. And perhaps the concept isn’t as foreign an idea as it may sound at first. Hired by a family for an individual student, or for what is known as a “learning pod” — as many as 10 students from multiple families — private teachers can be hired to ensure the students’ school-based assignments are completed virtually, as well as hired to design a home-based curriculum differentiated for each child's unique needs.

Like school-based teachers, private teachers are generally certified educators with years of teaching experience. They hold degrees in education and a love for the subject area(s) they teach. They are considered experts in their content area(s) and have usually completed hours of professional development on effective teaching strategies, classroom management, and even more specialized instructional and behavioral based methodologies.

Private Teachers

  • Are highly trained and qualified in their subject area(s)
  • Their scope of responsibilities are usually vast but do not, and should not, include those typically assigned to nannies
  • They may be hired part-time to manage or supplement school-based assignments
  • They may be hired to do the above on a full-time basis, or to replace the need of school-based instruction altogether

As you decide which route is best for you and your family this fall, note that there are many things to consider when hiring a private teacher. And though hiring one will not solve all of the challenges we’re experiencing in 2020, knowing someone else is committed to ensuring your child(ren) are completing their assignments — and on track for the next grade level, is enough to make most at least imagine the possibility of an in-home solution.

For help with finding a right-fit teacher for your family or learning pod, let us know your preferences.