Private Tutor

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, security or behavior, 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, post-pubescent and of compatible sexual orientations, 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 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.

Video Games
  • 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 in company of a suitor, which leads to tragic results.

Web Original
  • Conservapedia was originally conceived by Andrew Schlafly for homeschooled children.

Western Animation
  • 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.

Real Life

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.

Comic Books
  • 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.



Live-Action Television

Newspaper Comics
  • 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.


Video Game

Western Animation
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has established in that Twilight Sparkle now is tutoring the CMC once a week.
  • The Simpsons. In an episode Superintendent Chalmers takes Bart under his wing, giving him private lessons outside of school. Eventually all the bully characters start taking these lessons