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

Jan 13, 2024

When it comes to helping students with math, the terms "math tutor" and "math teacher" are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different roles. Understanding the difference between the two can help you make an informed decision about the type of support that would best benefit your child's learning needs.

Qualifications and Training

A math teacher typically holds a degree in education with a specialization in mathematics. They are trained to teach math concepts to a classroom of students, following a structured curriculum and adhering to state educational standards. On the other hand, a math tutor may or may not have a teaching degree, but they are usually experts in math and have a strong understanding of the subject matter.

Teaching Setting

Math teachers work in schools, where they are responsible for instructing a large group of students. They create lesson plans, grade assignments, and assess student progress. Math tutors, on the other hand, often work one-on-one with students or in small group settings. This allows them to provide personalized attention and tailor their teaching approach to the specific needs of each student.

math teacher classroom

Focus and Approach

Math teachers are focused on covering a broad range of math topics and ensuring that students meet the requirements of the curriculum. They may not always have the flexibility to spend extra time on individual student challenges. Math tutors, however, can concentrate on specific areas where a student may be struggling, providing targeted support and reinforcement of key concepts.

Flexibility and Customization

While math teachers follow a set curriculum and timetable, math tutors have the flexibility to adapt their teaching style and pace to suit the student's learning needs. This customization can be particularly beneficial for students who require additional support or those who want to advance their math skills at a faster pace.

math tutor teaching

Supplementing Classroom Learning

Math teachers play a crucial role in delivering foundational math knowledge to students, while math tutors can complement this by offering additional support and guidance. Tutors can reinforce classroom lessons, provide extra practice, and help students develop a deeper understanding of math concepts.


Both math teachers and math tutors play essential roles in helping students succeed in math. While teachers provide structured instruction to a larger group, tutors offer personalized support to address individual learning needs. Understanding the differences between the two can help parents and students make informed decisions about the type of math support that will best serve their educational goals.