A private tutor
is a teacher who is hired by a family to teach to only one pupil or to a reduced group of children.
There is mainly two types:
The private teacher
These teachers are charged to assure the entire education of their pupils.
The reasons why a family would want to hire such teacher are various: The story could take place when and/or where schools weren't so widespread or the pupil(s) is/are in need of supervision because of health
, or could be Child Prodigy/ies
The academic coach
Academic coaches supplement the education of struggling students or give courses on a subject such as music or art. They can be hired by an Education Mama
If tutor and tutee are sufficiently major characters, and post-pubescent, nine times out of ten this will end in a Teacher/Student Romance
. For some reason, music tutors are most susceptible to this.
This is a quite modern trope. Regular schools for children didn't start to appear until the medieval age, and then only in larger cities. Up through the entire 19th century, working as a governess was a quite common and respectable job for single women. As such, most examples before then would be a case of People Sit on Chairs since private tutors were the main source of education.
See also Homeschooled Kids
, who, if not taught by their parents, will probably have one or more private tutors, and the Magical Nanny
The Private Teacher
Anime and Manga
- In Disney's The Sword in the Stone, Merlin acts as a tutor to Arthur.
- In silent film The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, Karl Heinrich, the crown prince of a little Ruritania-style German principality, receives a Private Teacher type of tutor, Dr. Juttner. Dr. Juttner proceeds to become the little boy's only friend.
- The Prince and the Pauper introduces the prince receiving instruction on Trigonometry from the chamberlain, who seems to handle the prince's education as well, and bored out of his mind. The prince begins to amuse himself by tormenting Donald Duck.
- In A Brother's Price, the schoolteacher of Jerin's sisters occasionally came to the family's house to act as this for Jerin and his younger brother, who would be in danger of kidnapping outside the house.
- In The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Ralf hires a private tutor for his children to brainwash them with Nazi ideals.
- Jane Eyre is hired by Rochester to teach Adele.
- In Little Women Laurie's private tutor is John Brooke. He doesn't have a romance with his student, but rather with one of the Little Women who live next door.
- Having a private tutor instead of going to school and learning to be around other kids is given in the Malory Towers books as a partial explanation for why Gwen is such a Valley Girl.
- The Reynard Cycle: Young King Lionel is tutored (along with his sister) by a Mandrossian scholar named Alberich.
- In Viper In the Fist, the Rezeau family hire several of those to teach to their three sons in their familian home.
- In Pyramids, before he enrolled in the Assassins' Guild school, Teppic had a string of tutors, most of whom got freaked out by his father's occasional belief he was a seagull and fled, one of whom was actually a poacher who taught him how to use a puntbow and another of whom "tried to introduce him to certain athletic techniques favoured by the classical Pseudopolitans". The net result was that "Teppic hadn't been educated. Education had just settled on him, like dandruff."
- In The King and I, Anna is hired as a private tutor for the children of the King of Siam.
- Tom Stoppard's Arcadia features Thomasina, an exceptionally bright 19th-century teenager, and Septimus, her tutor.
- Jowan, from the Magi Origin of Dragon Age: Origins, serves as one to Connor Guerrin, whose mother won't let him be taken to the Circle and instead opts to have him learn just enough magic to conceal his talents. This backfires when Jowan poisons Connor's father on his employer's orders and leads to Connor being possessed by a demon and amassing an undead army.
- In Twilight Princess, Link was personally instructed in swordsmanship by Rusell, who even gives him his wooden practice sword near the beginning of the game.
- World of Warcraft. One questline in Duskwood involves unraveling the mystery about Stalvan Mistmantle, a former schoolmaster hired as a tutor by a wealthy family for their two children. As he instructs them, he becomes infatuated with Tilloa, the beautiful elder daughter, until she appears one day with a suitor, which leads to tragic results.
- In Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor, Ethel is employed to teach Jane such varied subjects as art, French, and science. And, of course, the Penvellyns' secret history. Apparently, Ethel's family have often served the Penvellyns in this capacity, just to ensure that their treasure will never be forgotten. It doesn't hurt that the Penvellyn manor is very isolated.
- Be My Princess: Alberto was Roberto's tutor before becoming his butler, and this is very much reflected in the tone of their relationship.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: Such people educated Emil, the resident Know-Nothing Know-It-All. Mikkel's comment about his educational records is that one is better off disregarding any wisdom he shares. Tuuri is also more knowledgeable than him, despite being publicly educated in the nation that is considered the least advanced of the world and filled with "not very bright" people.
- Conservapedia was originally conceived by Andrew Schlafly for homeschooled children.
- The Simpsons. In "The PTA Disbands", when the teachers of Springfield Elementary go on strike, all the kids treat it as an extra vacation from school - but Milhouse's parents get him a tutor in order to bridge the gap.
- The Baby Huey cartoon "Pest Pupil" has Huey getting kicked out of school, forcing his mother to hire a tutor.
The Academic Coach:
Anime and Manga
- Rouge Noir features a mutual attraction between a piano tutor and her pupil.
- In a filler episode of Dragon Ball Z, the tutor Mr. Shu is hired to teach Gohan all that he missed while he [Gohan] was away on Namek. Seems innocent enough at first, but then behind closed doors, Mr. Shue is a whip-cracking madman. He feigns innocence whenever Chi-Chi's near, but then she catches him blaming Gohan's "disobedience" on Goku being a worthless father. She kicks his ass immediately.
- In one Archie Comics story, Veronica develops a sudden passion for studying. Betty finds this confusing, until she meets Veronica's series of cute college-aged private tutors.
- Persona EG: Twilight helps get Flash caught up while he is in the hospital after his Persona awakening knocked him out for 3 days.
- Our Miss Brooks: Miss Brooks tutors Stretch Snodgrass to keep him eligible for athletics . . . not to mention, to keep him from flunking outright.
- One episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has Principal Snyder forcing Willow to tutor a Jerk Jock so he doesn't fail all his classes. And by "tutor him", Snyder of course means "do all his schoolwork for him so he can focus on sports".
- The Body of the Week in one episode of Castle was hired as a private tutor for the son of a Triad boss, and was killed by his older brother when student and tutor fell in love.
- Syrio Forel in Game of Thrones teaches the Braavosi style swordsmanship to Arya Stark.
- One series of FoxTrot strips has Denise's family trying to hire Peter to tutor Denise in history. Denise is actually doing well in the class and has no need for a tutor, but convinced her parents otherwise so she could spend more time with Peter.
- Coming Out On Top: Mark is hired as one for Brad, who is failing his literature class. He also teaches ESL kids, and can do so during the weekends for extra cash.