His career as a teacher included short periods at Aberystwyth and at James Gillespie's School, Edinburgh, followed by eleven years at George Heriot's School, Edinburgh; but his main work was done at the Academy, Ardrossan, of which he was Rector from 1899 to 1928. He gave valuable service to education through his membership of the Council of the Educational Institute of Scotland and of the Business Committee of the General Council of Edinburgh University.
His friend, Dr J B Clark, writes:-
Mr Butters was a man of exceptionally wide intellectual interests. His teaching was characterised by a most inspiring freshness and clarity. He was one of the most upright men I have known; I cannot imagine that he would ever lend himself to any mean or unworthy act, and he had a very passionate love of truth. Such qualities must have involved an influence on his pupils which was wholly for good. He was a keen nature-lover, and the fells of the Lake District, the peaks of Arran, and the bens of the Highlands had for him an irresistible attraction. He was, too, a most loyal friend, and all of us who were privileged to know him held him in the highest regard.He is survived by his widow, a sister of Dr A Crichton Mitchell, and by a son and two daughters.