You spent a lot of money on tuition to acquire those finely honed teaching skills. But alas, as you’ve discovered, teachers aren’t paid a lot. What you might not have been taught in college, though, is that a side job or two can sweeten your income.
Here are a few money-making opportunities you can pursue outside of school in summer, at night, on weekends or during holidays. All take advantage of your ability to teach or your rapport with young people – or both. And all will leave your wallet fatter for your efforts.
Amusement park staffer. Laugh if you’d like, but working as a stage manager at Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson, N.J., years ago was hands down the best summer job I’ve ever had. Many kid-focused employees are required to keep the ship moving, and an amusement park summer job is perfect for a teacher’s work calendar. One state, Virginia, even has a so-called Kings Dominion law on its books that prevents school districts from starting classes before Labor Day to extend the amusement park season.
Camp counselor. Many summer camps were made with teachers in mind. Teachers have the free time in the summer and the need for some down-time revenue. There are camps of all sorts, from fun YMCA day camps to camps that are a perfect fit for your skills as an educator. For example, Bridges of Silence, which caters to youth at risk, was recently looking for a reading and math teacher for its Summer Reading and Math Camp in Colorado. Pay was listed at $12 per hour. Many summer camps do their hiring in late winter/early spring, so plan to apply early.
Coach. Come on, don’t you remember your high school gym teacher also being your soccer and baseball coach? I do. Teachers can still earn extra cash by coaching school athletic teams. You may have to have some certifications, including first aid and CPR, but your district may cover those costs. The pay can range from an extra few hundred dollars to an extra few thousand depending on the sport, competitive level and length of season. Once you have some coaching experience under your belt, you can move beyond school grounds to the world of club and travel sports. Often aimed at more advanced athletes, these teams practice after school and compete nights and weekends.
College professor. Community colleges, universities and for-profit schools sometimes have a tough time staffing all the courses they offer. If you have a specialty – say, a foreign language, musical talent or high-tech skills – you could be used as an adjunct professor for crash courses in the summer and, during your school year, evening courses. Some schools might require a master’s degree or even a doctorate, depending on the courses being taught. Check with local colleges for part-time openings, or search websites such as HigherEdJobs.com.
Curriculum planner. Hey, you put a lot of summer and other free time into creating engaging lessons for your students. Why not make some coin on it? Websites including TeachersPayTeachers.com make it very easy. TeachersPayTeachers bills itself as “the first and largest open marketplace where teachers share, sell and buy original educational resources” – another is TeacherLingo.com — but you may want to check your school district’s rules first. Some forbid the selling of curriculum built on school time.
Museum educator. Many museums see a surge of interest in the summer months and they could use the help. Is your specialty teaching science? Check out the nearest science museum, aquarium or nature center. They may have side work for you – or you could suggest courses that could be taught for visitors. The same goes for you history teachers and local historical sites. Guides and historical interpreters are hired for part-time and seasonal work.
Referee. The umpires and referees who officiate sports come from all walks of life and pop up on your local Field of Dreams. As a teacher, this side job synchs nicely with your day job. You usually have to become certified for this, but the pay can be pretty good. According to RefStripes.com, most high school football officials make $65 to $100 for a varsity game and $45 to $75 for a JV game. You’ll typically get eight games per season. High school athletic leagues and sport governing bodies offer information of certification and job openings.
Test preparation instructor. Here’s a side job you can establish by yourself or join a nationally known company. Use word-of-mouth or social media to let potential clients know you’re available to help high school students prepare for the SATs or ACTs, which emphasize math and English skills. Or, help coach students to ace advance-placement exams, which can pay off in college credit. If you choose to join an established test-prep firm, two of the biggies are Sylvan Learning and Kaplan Test Prep.
Test scorer. Machines can grade multiple-choice exams, but a human is required to score essays, short answers and written-out math solutions. Pearson and ETS are two big companies that administer standardized tests. Scorers are also tapped for state and district exams. A related side job that’s up a teacher’s alley is test proctor, a position that calls for you to verify identities, provide test-taking instructions and monitor test-takers during the testing period.
Tutor. Obvious, perhaps, but this is nonetheless a perfect side gig for those of you who are experts in your field. If you’re going it on your own, post in social media, on Craigslist, at supermarkets, in community newsletters and elsewhere that you’re available to tutor. As long as your school allows it, let your department head as well as the main office know, too. Frantic parents sometimes call the school for tutor recommendations. Just be sure to check whether your district has any restrictions on tutoring current or former students. Some do. Typical hourly rates start at around $30. Tutoring websites such as Tutor.com are worth exploring if you can’t find clients on your own.