To know the difference between a teacher and an educator, we must first understand what these two words mean. To put in simple words, a teacher is a person who teaches students. An educator is a person who educates students.
An example can give a clear picture of what these two roles are and how they differ from each other.
Sophie is a primary school teacher. The school management hired her. She prepares her lesson plans based on the syllabus and curriculum and conducts assessments from time to time. She makes sure the children in her class pass the exams and plans her lessons according to the term timetable.
Linda is Sophie’s colleague in the same school. She does teach but also mainly manages the primary school classes. After teaching every lesson, Linda checks if the students really understood the lesson taught. She goes the extra mile to help those who need more attention. Linda spends time with her students even during the recess to understand every student in her class personally. Whenever possible, she teaches them life skills, morals, values and tells them real-life stories to give them a glimpse of the real world and how they should lead their lives. She encourages them to know and practice their talents, gifts and how they should work hard and grow in their lives. She leaves a lasting impact on her students as they learn so much more than academics from her.
Both Sophie and Linda are teachers. But they there every day tasks are not exactly the same. Sophie is a ‘Teacher,’ and Linda is an ‘Educator.’ We say this because:
Sophie is a teacher. In addition, she focuses mainly on getting the syllabus completed on time. After that, teaching according to the set timetable, conducting exams or assessments, giving grades and helping children move to the next grade at the end of the academic year.
Whereas Linda on the other hand, does teach but also does things beyond just teaching the children. She takes up things that may not be part of her job description. She takes interest in the growth of every single student. She looks out for their weaknesses and motivates them to grow in areas where they are not strong enough. She extends support through counselling if needed. And that is what makes Linda an ‘Educator.’
Another difference is that, sometimes an Educator may not be a trained to be a professional teacher but they are natural educators like e.g., parents. But teachers are formally trained to become a teacher.
Schools pay teachers when they work. But educators do what they do out of genuine love, care and concern towards the growth of children around them.
And these are some of the major differences between a teacher and an educator. Above all, they are definitely not the same and therefore these two words cannot be used to refer the same meaning.