Teachers don’t make enough money. There, I said it. The amount the teachers get paid in the United States is almost criminal.
A few years ago, I was interviewing people who were unhappy at work for a book project, and I was surprised by how many teachers volunteered.
They were fed up with being underpaid and overworked, with a constantly shifting landscape to try to work in. Annoying parents. Bossy principals. Constantly feeling under the microscope.
In this post, I want to talk about what I think could be some viable side hustles for teachers. Obviously, there are some very valuable skills that literally every teacher has.
Every teacher does a certain amount of planning, presenting, marking, etc. These are pretty universal. Then, there are some that are discipline specific. If you’re an English teacher, you have a different set of skills from a science teacher.
We’re going to cover some cool options for side jobs. If you want to keep doing the work you love and earn a bit more, these will help you do it. And even if you’re looking to pivot out of teaching, there are options here for everybody
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Here are some side jobs for teachers.
Crappy side jobs for teachers
Before we get down to the good stuff, here are a few side jobs that I think are not great for teachers. Obviously, you can figure out what’s right for you, but I don’t think these ones are great.
- MLM: multi-level marketing, AKA MLM, relies on you using your network to sell an existing product. Think of brands like Avon, Cutco, etc. I hate multi-level marketing to begin with; I think the vast majority of people end up failing because they’re not able to hock stuff to their friends. MLM companies are basically pyramid schemes, and you don’t need to spend your hard-earned weekend hours slogging it out. Now, I know I’m going to get somebody writing who says, “You’re full of crap. I made 300K last year with Avon.” Good for you. But most people make almost nothing and get so discouraged they never try business again.
- Cashier: Avoid jobs with low pay that are high public-facing. I used cashier as an example, but there are a ton of jobs in grocery, retail, etc., that pay minimum wage and suck up all your energy.
- Gig work: By this, I mean, things like driving for Uber, Lyft, or Door Dash. It’s too inconsistent and requires overhead (gas, insurance, car maintenance). There are better options here.
11 Side jobs for teachers
Oh god, I’m so sorry to say it, but teaching can be a side hustle too. It could be teaching adults in the evening, OR teaching a dance class.
Maybe at the end of the day, you’re looking for a side hustle you can do with a glass of wine in hand, and that’s fair, we’ll get to those below.
But, if teaching is the thing you love and you just want to earn a bit more from it, teaching can be your side hustle too.
Look for opportunities to earn from your after-school teaching. You might get hired by the hour to teach executives how to write or teach sewing. Or – if you want the glass of wine in hand – how about teaching a paint-and-sip class?
You can get hired by others to teach. Or, if you’re a little entrepreneurial, chances are you can earn from leading your own class.
If you know how to teach pottery, adults would pay for that! If you know how to teach dance, adults would pay for that! From home ec to drama to writing fiction, there are all sorts of things that adults want to learn.
That’s why, one of the best side hustles for teachers is… teaching.
If your skills are of a literary nature, you might make a good editor. You are already reading terrible writing all day, you might as well get paid for it in your off hours 🙂
Editors can make anywhere from $30 – $100 an hour on Upwork, meaning your skills are in high demand.
Even 5 hours a week at those rates could make a big difference for your bottom line.
I hang out in marketing for the most part, and you might be surprised how well your skills would transfer there.
Marketing is a great side job for teachers. It requires a certain level of communication skills and people skills. But if you can persuade fifth graders to learn their multiplication tables, surely you could persuade adults to buy things.
There are lots of different ways to get into marketing, but here are a few courses that can help you hone your chops.
- Introduction to SEO: Tactics and Strategy
- Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate (Coursera)
- Digital Marketing Strategy: Profitable Sales Funnel Fundamentals (Skillshare)
- Digital Marketing Foundations (LinkedIn Learning)
- Advertising on Facebook (LinkedIn Learning)
Then, you could be looking for a part-time job or consulting. And since marketing is super flexible, many of the jobs can be done after hours or on the weekends (and there are lots of remote marketing jobs).
4. Sell lessons
One of the greatest side jobs for teachers is a side hustle. You’ll need to be a bit entrepreneurial, but it’s a great use of the work you’re already doing.
Can you sell your lessons?
Sites like Teachers Pay Teachers let teachers sell lesson plans to other teachers. If you’re going to all the work to create them anyways, might as well make some cash off them.
5. Content writing
One of the skills that I use regularly is the skill of content writing.
Hey, I’m using it now! How meta is that?
Lord knows what this industry is going to do in the future with AI writing, but for now, it’s still in business. Companies still need people to write great content for their websites.
If you can learn the skill of SEO, which is one that I learned and now consult with, you can use it to make money writing content.
And in many cases, you get paid by the article instead of by the hour. So if you’re a fast writer, it can be a good way to multiply your money with less time.
I have a guide here for how to start a freelance writing business.
Maybe you are the Spanish teacher or the French teacher. Or maybe you just happen to have another foreign language under your belt.
Translating is still a great side hustle, it can pay really well. A lot of the people who need to translate things have budgets to spend on it, think big companies, governments, and academia.
This is another one of those things you can list on Upwork to find clients. But even a great LinkedIn profile that lists you as a “Spanish translator” or whatever can help you find business.
And again, most translators get paid by the document, not by the hour.
If you really want to step up your game, you could pursue accreditation from the American Translators Association.
You might have had enough of those little demons during the day. But one of the most obvious side jobs for teachers is tutoring.
Parents will pay big bucks to get their kids tutors. This is especially true as they get closer to college since those high school marks will make a big difference for their future possibilities.
If you have time and energy, tutoring can be a lucrative side hustle. You could create a business in your town. But you can also just join a website like tutor.com and tutor virtually.
I wanted to include this one because it’s fun. But it’s definitely not easy. Still, a lot of teachers have made wicked side hustles by teaching stuff on YouTube, or just sharing their journey.
If you need inspiration, check out Pocketful of Primary with Michelle Emerson.
If you happen to have a great way of explaining science or math, you might be the perfect person. Students are Googling all the time, trying to figure out how to do their homework. And if you are the YouTube guru they land on, you can make bank.
Most YouTubers monetize with ads and affiliate marketing. It stands to reason that if you could build a following and sell things like study guides, you might also make money this way. That puts it on this list of possible – although difficult – side hustles for teachers.
Being a server is by no means relaxing, and it’s not for everyone. But still, I think it had to make this list of side jobs for teachers.
There are two reasons for this. First, servers work mostly nights and weekends, making it a good side job in terms of scheduling. Second, servers can make tips, so even if you’re making minimum wage, you can earn good cash,
If you want to be a server for your side job, I’d recommend you look for a high-end restaurant that specializes in high-priced food.
Unlike greasy spoons with low-paying customers, high-end restaurants are often quieter and slower. But you will earn way more per table and tips.
When I was a waiter, I worked both breakfast and dinner shifts at a very fancy restaurant. The breakfast shifts were crazy, with tons of tables. Dinner was slow and luxurious. And I still made better tips during the dinner hour, even with fewer tables.
If you like the idea of serving, you could also think about serving room service. This is also something I’ve done. I would mostly just hang out in the office until orders came in and then would run them up to the room, often with big tips from giggling couples in their bathrobes 😄
I talk a lot on this blog about consulting. I’ve been doing consulting for a few years now. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot. Basically, consulting is just when you lend your talents to a company or organization for a set period of time or money.
Consulting is entrepreneurship. You are often a free agent. But it can also be lucrative. When people hire consultants, they expect to pay more than they would have to pay for an employee to do the same thing.
That’s because consultants are hired for specialty work for a short period of time.
How about getting your realtor license? One of the great things about being a realtor is that you often have total flexibility over how much you work.
Because your closing fees are a percentage of the house sale, even selling a few houses a year could add a lot to your bottom line.
If you’re a teacher, I hope these side jobs for teachers have given you some options to consider. None of them are easy, but hopefully, something on this list will fit with your personality and your schedule.
It takes a lot of energy to do work on top of the tough job you already have, so kudos to you. And good luck.