Top-down view of a white desk with stationery, phone and computer keyboard visible.

Side Hustle: High school tutoring

I tutor two high school students in English and social sciences on a freelance basis.


I never really believed or intended I would become a tutor, I somewhat fell into it. Before arriving in Canberra, I applied online to almost 20 retail jobs in Civic. After receiving nothing back and venting my frustrations to a friend at my hall, he suggested I post an ad online offering high school tutoring. I figured “Why not?”, and within about an hour I had written a Gumtree ad, uploaded a photo and posted it. Within a few days I had received four or five calls, and so far (it’s been about a month) I’ve had close to 20 contacts ask for my help.


This quick and plentiful response meant I could really choose who my students are, what my hours are and what content I teach. I primarily teach high school English and social sciences, for usually around four hours a week, making $30 per hour. One of my students is regular – two hours a week on a schedule. My other student and I have more irregular sessions depending on workload – some weeks I won’t see her; some weeks I will see her for five or six hours.


I hope to maintain this workload, and possibly pick up some additional work in the summer or over the July holidays.


So far, the difficulties I’ve faced have been fairly minimal. Though it’s never fun to try and sell yourself, it comes with the territory of freelance work. I also found, after practice on the phone with tens of parents, it became a developed skill.


The reason I didn’t go through an agency is I wanted complete control of my pay, hours and students. I love the autonomy that my job brings – for example, recently I changed regular Thursday sessions to a Wednesday so I could go to Perth to visit my family. It’s mostly for this reason that I love freelance work. I also like the growth opportunities I get for working for myself; I have the freedom to ask for a pay rise or pick up additional students.  


If you had any subjects you were good at in high school and feel like you could teach, post an ad on Gumtree and give it a go. I included my ATAR, the high school subjects I was best at, age range and subjects I’m comfortable teaching, location, travel preferences, a general bio and my rates. You set your own workload, and there’s next to no barriers to entry to become a tutor. The only advice I can give is to post your own ad and get yourself out there, because just taking that leap was a game changer for me.


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