My sister is a high school teacher in South Boston.
For many years, before having children, she would spend a month or so teaching in England with a summer program. It was part vacation, part side hustle, but 100% trip to England. It's never bad to keep your skills sharp while getting a mini-vacation in the process!
When that program ended, she opted to go to Taiwan to teach English. We have family there so it was again a half-vacation and half-side hustle, albeit less structured. We have relatives to run a tutoring and summer school operation so my sister joined on as a teacher for the summer.
Now that she has young kids of her own, she no longer has the luxury to pursue those types of summer hustles.
For many educators, a side hustle is a must because many areas don't pay their teachers well enough (just look at the recent teacher protests in West Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, etc).
If you're a teacher and looking to make a little extra money, there are opportunities where you can continue to work with kids as well as those where you don't:
1. Teaching English as a Second Language
There's continues to be huge demand for teaching English as a second language online. It's so versatile that we decided to lead with this item and separate it from tutoring (even though it is still tutoring). The opportunity is that great because this is a high dollar side hustle you can do from home.
Rather than teach in a classroom, there are online services where you can tutor students as far away as China. There is one-on-one tutoring as well as group tutoring sessions, all done remotely with a computer and a webcam.
EF Education First
EF Education First is an online teaching platform where you can earn money tutoring students. They prefer experience in early childhood development, teaching, coaching, or mentoring but the only requirements are that you are a native English speaker, live in the United States, and have a bachelor's degree or higher in any field. You will also have to submit to a secure online background check but EF Education First pays for that. You'll also need a computer, headset, and internet connection since you'll be teaching using video on your computer.
You'll teach in half-hour blocks and you can earn $20 per hour to start, but there are opportunities to earn more including bonuses for time spent teaching.
QKids is a platform for online tutoring of Chinese students ages 5-12 but in a group setting. Rather than 1-on-1, you are in a 1-on-up-to-4 situation for 30 minute in-lesson time. There is an interview process that requires a video but the requirements to become a teacher are more relaxed (it includes those in the final year of college).
The most traditional of these options is VIPKid, which is always 1-on-1 teaching. After you pass a brief interview, you can make as much as $22 an hour when you hit various performance bonuses. We interviewed Whitney about her experience on the platform and she talks about what it's like.
2. Child Care, Babysitting & Caregiving
The summer months are often a boon for caregivers because school is out and parents may not have lined up options for their kids. If it's during the school year, parents may need a break at night or on weekends so they have a chance to be adults.
Either way, you can create a free profile on a site like SitterCity.com or Care.com that will connect with families that need extra help. You set your schedule and the average rates are around $12-15 an hour.
3. Create Online Courses
You can always do this through YouTube, but you also have to promote your courses in entrepreneur-like fashion. Another alternative is a website called Udemy. You choose your topic, create your course, and Udemy will even help you promote it for a percentage of your sales.
Udemy is both a source of online courses for visitors, as well as a platform for professionals to create those courses. You can create a series of courses based on your own teaching specialties, or even completely unrelated topics.
4. Drive & Ridesharing
All you need is a decent car, a smart phone, and some extra room in your schedule, and you can join the ridesharing revolution. Uber and Lyft are two of the more popular ridesharing platforms for drivers and they even have an earning guarantee. Sign up to be a driver, and you can earn between $15 an hour and $25 an hour, or even more in busy urban locations.
As a teacher, you can adjust your ridesharing availability. You can drive a few hours a week during the school year, and more during school breaks and summer vacation. It's an income source that can adjust easily to your own schedule.
If you want to shop and deliver groceries, Instacart may be a better option.
5. Fill out Online Surveys
A lot of market research companies will pay you to take surveys. You will not earn a ton from these survey companies but the surveys don't take a lot of time, you can do it at your own pace, and you might even enjoy answering a few questions. The best part is that you can often get paid in cash or turn it into Amazon gift cards, which are as good as cash!
Some are reputable, others are not, but the ones we really like are:
- Survey Junkie
- Pinecone Research
- Springboard America
- Swagbucks (get a $5 bonus and read our Swagbucks review!)
- Ipsos i-Say (read our Ipsos i-Say review)
- InboxDollars (get a $5 bonus and read our Inbox Dollars review!)
6. Participate in a Focus Group
A focus group is a great way to earn money because you just have to show up, answer a few questions for an hour or two, and get paid a significant sum of money. I did one many years ago and made $100 cash for 90 minutes.
If you want to find good focus groups, I recommend signing up for Respondent.io.
You will be able to search for focus groups, rather than get put on a list, and find the ones that you're likely to qualify for. The more general ones pay less, like a casual dining restaurant focus group pays $150 per 90 minutes but one for people in the shipbuilding industry pays $200 for 60 minutes (fewer people qualify for that).
It's completely free to join (any focus group should be free to join, if it isn't, then it's a scam!
7. Freelance Writing
Teachers usually have an above average ability to write, even if they don't teach writing related subjects, like English or literature. One of the big advantages here is that there are so many potential topics you can write on. For example, if you're a science teacher, you can write on science related topics.
You can do it through freelance job boards like Contena, which pulls together the listings from every job board to save you a ton of time. You can also offer your services on a direct basis, through Craigslist and by approaching websites and blogs directly. (Hint: many sources are looking for ghost writers, which is a growing niche.)
You can earn anywhere from $50 to several thousand dollars with freelance writing, it all depends on your writing ability, skills, and the gigs you're able to secure.
8. Freelance Editing
As a teacher, you're well accustomed to correcting papers. You can take that skill and use it to edit the writing work of others. Many companies and websites are looking for people to do editing work on a contract basis. You can approach these potential employers directly, or once again turn to Upwork to make your services available. You can charge over $30 an hour for editing work, which can rise with experience.
Proofread Anywhere is a fantastic course that will teach you in the ins and outs of proofreading as a freelance career. You can learn how to earn $17+ an hour as a freelance proofreader including step-by-step directions on how to break into the industry. You will be surprised how easy it is.
And if you do get into proofreading, sign up for Grammarly and its powerful grammar checking tool. It'll be like a cheat code.
9. Coaching or Refereeing
Is there a sport you're particularly interested in, or even participated in when you were in school? If so, it can provide a natural side hustle for you. You may be able to add a coaching gig at the school where you teach. But there may also be opportunities either at other schools in your district, or even in local recreational leagues.
Coaching and refereeing jobs often go begging in these areas. Professionals are usually looking at full-time situations, which leaves the local openings unfilled. For refereeing alone, you can typically earn anywhere from $25-$100 to cover games in recreation leagues. Coaching may offer a flat fee for the season.
One of the attractions of blogging is that you can start a blog based on just about any topic you want. We even have a 10-minute guide to starting your own blog!
As a teacher, the possibilities are limitless. You can start a blog on the subject you specialize in, or you can start a blog about teaching itself. You can even start a blog about the intricacies and nuances of being a teacher, with other teachers as the target market.
If you want to go bigger picture, you can even start a blog about how to improve the education system, or how parents can better educate their children within the system. As a teacher, you have that knowledge. And since you almost certainly have the technical writing capability, you'll be all set to go.
You can easily set up a website by selecting a low-cost web host, and using a free WordPress template to create your blog. It won't produce immediate income, but if you stick with it can be a perfect at-home cash flow.
Tutoring has become a booming business, especially with all the high-stakes testing going on. You can offer tutoring services specifically for testing, or for virtually any course you can teach. Tutors earn anywhere from $25-$50 per hour working on their own. You can offer your services through your school, or other schools in your district, or in a general space like Craigslist.
12. Public Speaking or Presenting
You're probably aware that one of the biggest fears people have is public speaking. But as a teacher, speaking before groups is what you do all the time. You can offer your services as a public speaker or a presenter in a number of different ways.
You can offer to speak for small businesses, trade groups, sales organizations, or even local political or charitable organizations. Set your fee and start asking around. All you need to do is find someone with an important message who’s too afraid to deliver it himself.
As a teacher, you’re in a unique position to earn extra money. All you need to do is put yourself out there, try something a little bit new and different, and the money will roll in. You just have to decide which opportunity you’re going to take advantage of.