Tutor Side Hustle

In my free time I enjoy tutoring. So far I have only tutored math, but have made myself available to do chemistry.  I enjoy teaching, I love math, and the combination is an excellent hobby of mine. Let’s talk about a tutor side hustle.

Mr. Living In Longmont / Wallet Engineer

I got my start in tutoring back in Minnesota. A constant theme in early retirement is to increase free cash flow. There are two ways to do this: Frugality (spend less), and Income (make more). I take a two-fold approach and do both although spending less is the optimal method.

As my primary side hustle, I enjoy tutoring part-time. Usually I never have more than one student at a time, but I teach technical subjects so I command a higher rate.

It’s absolutely free to sign-up with WyzAnt (which I use) – so give it a try!

Why I Tutor

I primarily tutor math, and I love it. It being both math and tutoring. I love teaching, especially teaching students who are willing to learn. I avoid teaching students who are only there because their parents are forcing them to be.

Secondly, I tutor to add money to my early retirement account. Your approach may be different if your primary goal is to make money.

Credentials

My degree in Chemical Engineering alone is usually enough to satisfy curiosity regarding qualifications. If further questions arise, I have a minor in Mathematics and my Chemical Engineering specialization is mathematics. This comprises seven college level mathematics courses. I like math.

References help, if requested.

Some sites keep track of reviews and rankings, hours logged, etc.

Taxes

If you earn more than a set amount during a calendar year as an independent contractor you must report those earnings on your tax return. Some websites will send you a 1099 to aid this process. (The amount is ~$600).

Etiquette

You are the expert. Ensure you know the material you are teaching. If you can’t recall a topic, look at notes ahead of time. Rent or buy the relevant textbook. Make reference sheets for yourself.

I work out all problems ahead of time to look for tricks and ensure I’m following the method being taught. There are multiple ways to solve many problems, ensure you are using the method being taught.

Put your phone away. You are being paid to teach.

If your student makes a mistake, try to engage them in a way that builds confidence rather than destroys it. Many students come to you for tutoring because they are already accustomed to hearing, “This is wrong”.  Have them plug the answer back into the equation to check their work, make a graph, have them think about if the answer “makes sense”. Or simply point to the problem and ask them if it’s right rather than saying it is wrong. You can also ask if a problem is right when it is right and see if they defend their answer – they’re in a good place when they check it over and tell you, the tutor, that the answer is right!

Arrive early. Engage the student. Ask if he/she is uncomfortable with specific topics, what they had trouble with on the last homework or test. You are teaching as well as building confidence. Math is a language, if your student is comfortable communicating to you in Math, they will be comfortable on the test.

How To Excel

Conveying any tips or tricks, hints, or helpful tools really sets tutors apart. Being able to truly covey a difficult topic into pieces of understanding is your real job.

Helping the student solve their work, not solving it for them. It’s easy to help a student solve a math problem. It’s hard to teach them the tools and knowledge to get an A on a math test.

Are there mnemonics?

How about FOIL – First, Outer, Inner, Last?

M.D.A.S (My Dear Aunt Sally or Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract) for order of operations? OR PEMDAS (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally a.k.a Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract).

SOH- CAH- TOA for Trigonometry. No one will laugh at you if you say “SO CAW TOE-AH” during Trig homework.

What about the quotient rule in Calculus? If you want to take the derivative of f(x) = g(x)/h(x) you need to use the quotient rule. The result is f'(x) = [h(x)*g'(x) – g(x)*h'(x) ] /  [h(x)^2.]

What I remember — way back in high school — is (DN’ – ND’) / D^2 where D = Denominator and N = Numerator. The phrase goes “Down to North Dakota Twice as Dumb…” DN’.. ND’ .. D^2. Crappy mnemonic, but I still remember it 10 years later.

Are there tricks? How about identifying graphs. A simple example is y = |x| looks like a V. The two bars of |x| make up the legs of the V. Simple enough, but very helpful to students who have to memorize a half-dozen graphs.

Getting Work

Currently I use WyzAnt for tutoring. It’s a good site if you’re a part-time worker and you don’t want to deal with all the non-teaching aspects. I permanently have my tutor info posted there, they track my hours, have their own in-site mail, calendar apps, and they take care of payment  for me. The drawback is they take a huge cut (~30%) which is fairly absurd.

Alternately,

  1. Craigslist
  2. Paper Flyers at a high school
  3. Paper Flyers at a university
  4. Referral program for current students.

 

Tutoring Not For You?

Maybe you’re not lucky enough to have a trifecta hobby, how about:

  1. Bartending
  2. Blogging (create a very specific niche)
  3. Dog Walker
  4. Lyft/Uber Driver
  5. Day Laborer
  6. House Sitter
  7. Photographer
  8. AirBNB rental
  9. Lots more. Just Google it.

 It’s absolutely free to sign-up with WyzAnt (which I use) – so give it a try!

Want to be a tutor – here is the direct link to sign up!

 

 

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