The Difference between Tutoring and Private Lessons

It is a common misnomer to label any kind of lesson tutoring outside the classroom. Most people only know of tutoring as additional help in order to make certain grades, fill in gaps, or to improve school grades in general.

Who needs a tutor?

For most German parents, getting tutoring means supporting the child because of failing grades. On average, German parents will only get a tutor when they see no other way out of having to pay extra money on education. Some might feel it is the public school’s job to provide all the knowledge.

Who needs a private teacher?

Business people, trailing spouses, ex-pats, career-oriented employees, etc.
There is no school/pressure on grades attached to it; therefore, it is a private lesson. The private teacher will choose his/her own book, customize the lesson to the student’s need –whether for business, travel, or shopping in the target language – as a private service.

As I private teacher, I do not tutor. Why not? Parents of local schools are demanding and expect miracles at times. I would have to follow a textbook issued by the German ministry of education, which I do not approve of. I would not be able not concentrate on the student’s needs, but would only have to work towards so-called “good grades”.

Additionally, tutoring is often seen as given at a certain age, such as school children. But my students are also adults. How would they need tutoring? They need help getting adjusted to the local culture, learn how to make appointments, learn English to be able to speak to their children’s teachers at conferences, etc.

Many Germans are not familiar with the term private teacher. As soon as I mention my job, it is converted to “Ah, Nachhilfelehrer (tutor)”.

Germans fear private education – read more here – because of its cost attached to it. Therefore, only tutoring is feasible; private teaching is a luxury.

It is a matter of priorities.

Germans go on a three-week holiday, whereas Asians take a one-week holiday every year.

What Germans spend on private lessons/tutoring in one year, Asians spend in one month or even less.

Many issues are left to the German government, such as taking responsibility for one’s future in regards to education.

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