An outline of the advantages and disadvantages of one-to-one teaching for teachers.

Thinking about teaching one-to-one classes? This list of advantages and disadvantages from the perspective of the teacher might be useful to think about, when making the decision. It's also useful to be aware of the disadvantages, so you can think about how to tackle them, for better lessons for both yourself and your student.


  • Teaching is only one level – this means no mixed abilities or fast finishers to deal with.
  • Material can be supplied by the student. 
  • We as teachers can learn something too. Students can teach us about their interests, work and experiences.
  • We can select material we are sure will interest and motivate the student.
  • There are fewer time constraints. This means we can spend as long as necessary to address our student’s needs and explore areas of personal interest.


  • The teacher is always 'on'. One common comment is: 'When else would we spend ninety minutes talking constantly to one person?'
  • Teachers may find it difficult to take notes for correction without distracting the student.
  • There are a limited range of activities, which can be a bit monotonous for the teacher and student. In particular, there is no pair or group work.
  • We might feel bad about doing reading and writing. Teachers worry that students will see it as a 'waste of time'. 
  • There is an astonishing lack of materials, and teacher’s notes hardly ever take this situation into account.
  • Playing the role of counsellor can be stressful. Teachers might feel uncomfortable listening to the personal problems of their students.
  • The same window or wall to look at each day can be boring.
  • Student/teacher personality differences or opposing opinions can make life difficult, as teachers are afraid to respond to comments they strongly disagree with. 
  • Often schools don’t give a syllabus for one-to-one classes so it is more difficult to record and show progress to the student.