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Teaching is a tough job. We haven’t had a decent pay rise in ages, government cuts are draining resources and exam pressure is pushing us to the limit. I know this because I teach. I also know that I can’t teach until I’m 68, so I am constantly looking ways to use my teaching skills to generate additional income and retire early.
Many teachers I know are making money outside of the classroom. There are very few teachers I know that teach and only teach which is surprising given the amount of time that the job actually takes up.
This is a list of my favourite side hustles for teachers.
This is an age old classic. As a maths teacher this is one I find that I get almost headhunted for. My own students have asked if I will tutor them (obviously say no to these ones). But a lot of my colleages both past and present have done some tutoring work.
Tutoring pays a good rate. Depending on the age/level of the child and your experience you can make an excellent hourly rate and it usually comes with repeat business. I once did some tutoring for a family where I tutored their two children back to back and they provided an excellent array of snacks. Great way to spend my Saturday morning while my husband was at work.
The downside to this type of tutoring is that you usually have to travel to them. And it eats into your free time. When you are working Monday to Friday (and your tutees are usually at school too) then the only time that you can fit in a session is either in the evenings and at the weekends. Not always ideal!
This is a recent discovery for me and a great side hustle for teachers. Compared to face-to-face tutoring this is a dream. Yes, your take-home pay might be less than tutoring face-to-face but so are your overheads. No driving to someone else’s house. No printing out worksheets because you can just send them over. No real scope for doing fancy activities because, well, it is online.
There are lots of students about there that might require online tutoring for different reasons. Perhaps they are travelling. They might be home educated. Or perhaps school refusers. Or maybe finding a tutor in your subject area is hard so you might not live in the same county/country.
All of these reasons mean that you might get a bit more flexibility as to when you can tutor. The holidays might be better for them. Or first thing in the morning or late at night after you’ve put your kids to bed. Or even the middle of the day.
All you need is a computer with a decent internet connection, a webcam, a microphone/headset and a subject/area of expertise that someone is willing to pay for. I have had great success using the website Tutorhub.com. Sign up yourself and see if you get any interest.
Another classic. As exam season comes round many of my colleagues start busying themselves with exam marking. This is where exam boards recruit you to do the marking of SATs/GCSE/A-level papers amongst others.
Now, this isn’t a way to make a consistent income, as in a certain amount each month. But you can make good money at certain points in the year. And there are probably more exams going on throughout the year than you think.
It is also a great way to familiarise yourself with the examinations. Those teachers that do exam marking have “behind-the-scenes” knowledge of what the examiners are looking for and they are able to implement this into their teaching.
Even though it can be quite time consuming, it does have the added advantage of flexibility. Many teachers fit this in around their usual working day. If you are a secondary school teacher you will find that exam marking coincides with exam classes leaving so you might have some gained time (if you are lucky).
I rarely make resources for my classes. I tweak and modify old resources but I am almost never making a resource from scratch. Maybe I am lucky in this sense because, as a subject, the maths curriculum does not endure many radical changes. But it is also because there are hundreds of other teachers out there making resources too.
TES (The Times Educational Supplement) has had a section on their website for years where you can find resources. More recently they have added the option to sell your resources. This means that you can upload your resources and people will pay you to use them. Teachers Pay Teachers is another site that offers a similar service.
Be warned however that people aren’t going to pay you for five quick starter questions that you’ve shoved on to a PowerPoint. To make money you need a product that is worth selling. But if you are putting lots of time and effort into these resources for your own students then who is saying that they won’t be good enough for some other teacher too? Pinterest can help you here. There are lots of great tips for creating saleable resources.
DaDaABC is one website where you can work online teaching English to students in China. They pay you by the hour and provide you with training and lesson plans. You can earn £20 per hour doing this and typically it’s a 15 hours a week gig. You can start straight away by applying on their website.
The hours can be a little restrictive as they mostly have lessons early afternoon. (This is when it is the afternoon in Shanghai.) But if you are part-time or get a free afternoon then it is something you could consider.
There are many companies around the UK that offer study camps for students who want to improve their English. Therefore if you have a spare room in your house this could be the side hustle for you.
Being a host family requires you to have a young person, whose first language is not English, stay with you for a period of time. You will get paid for this and I have seen hosting jobs pay between £100-£150 per week per student. You normally have to provide meals and packed lunches and some entertainment at weekends. It may be more suitable if you have similarly aged children already so you can just slot them into your family for a bit.
Naturally, you will have to complete an application process and the necessary checks, which makes this a home from home for teachers. The added bonus is that you and your family might learn a bit of a new language and make some friends from other countries. It’s not all one-sided.
Companies like those looking for host families are also looking for activity leaders to work during the holidays. Therefore if you’re inclined to get a bit bored over the breaks (I’m funny, right?) then this could be for you. You can work with a different team of people on things that you wouldn’t normally work on.
And there are lots of places that offer these kinds of services too from museums to universities. Therefore start asking around and keeping your eyes peeled for any word of these sorts of jobs. Anything you learn or any connections you make can be taken back into the classroom to support your main teaching practice. Double winner!
Maybe you don’t want to spend your free time doing something teacher-y. Why not turn your hobby into money? If you like arts and crafts you could try opening an Etsy shop to sell your wares? Or make video tutorials on Youtube?
If you are a musician you could offer lessons (OK, this one is still a bit teacher-y). Or perhaps you have a degree in a non-education field that means you have lots of knowledge about something that you haven’t used in a while. Could you use those skills in some way? Start an online business perhaps?
We should all be striving for multiple income streams. Over-reliance of any one of them means that we put ourselves at risk. As teachers, there are many ways that we can use our knowledge and skills to make money. We are creative and assertive by nature so it’s time we used that to help ourselves. All that additional money can be invested and added to the retirement fund. Bigger the fund; the closer you get to being able to retire early.
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.
Looking After Your Pennies is an eco-friendly personal finance blog written and managed by Charlotte Jessop.
I write on a variety of topics including frugal lifestyle, eco-friendly living, money making ideas and generally how to make your money go further.
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