I have a few teachers in my life and it has been interesting to hear how differently each school district is approaching distance learning during the COVID-19 quarantine. The teachers I’ve talked to about this represent four different school districts and two states. One district is expecting the teachers to show up online just about every day to help students with distance learning and add additional content. One of the teachers was told by his district to put out no more than one assignment per week. I know another teacher who is required to be online for a couple of virtual ‘office hours’ each morning in case students want to check in. The final teacher I have talked with has been told not to expect too much from the students because many of them have working parents and simply cannot get much classwork done during the day.
I’m sure that throughout the US there are hundreds of different scenarios for teachers and distance learning. There is still work to be done but many may find themselves with more time during the day or evenings than is typical for this time of year. As I think about people I want to serve with my website and resources, teachers are always on the list. The skills that teachers develop from instructing students, running a classroom, developing lesson plans, editing student work, etc. are all valuable for getting work online. And, the rhythm of the typical school year can provide teachers with pockets of time to do some freelance work.
If you are a teacher and have been thinking about ways you can make some extra money on the side – I have some ideas for you!
- Writing: Writing is something I started doing as a way to make money on the side and it developed into a career. I’ve always loved to read and dreamed of being a writer since I was a kid. In my experience with teachers, many of you also love reading and writing. There is a huge amount of opportunity out there to get writing work. Having a degree in education will give you instant credibility with potential employers/clients. You can look for writing work on sites like Upwork.com, Clearvoice.com, and on traditional job boards. I have a ton of resources on this topic on the blog and also a training guide that you can check out.
- Editing: Editing is an ideal side job for all of you English teachers out there. And, I would venture to say, there are many other types of teachers who also love the process of editing. I work with editors on about a third of the content I write each week. Platforms like Upwork.com, Clearvoice.com, and Fiverr.com all have opportunities for editing. You can also look for more advanced editing work that requires a degree in English on traditional job sites like Indeed.com.
- Social Media Management: Do you love connecting with your kiddos from school on all of the social media platforms? Do you add to your story on Facebook or create IGTV episodes just for fun? If social media is fun and feels natural for you then social media management may be a side job worth considering. There are tons of businesses out there that need help with social media but don’t have the time or aptitude to deal with it. You can look for this type of work on the job boards I mentioned above. However, you will probably have the best luck by putting out feelers on your own social media accounts. If you are good at engaging on social media, the people in your network notice. You may be connected in some way online to a local business owner who is looking for help.
- Graphic Design: This side gig is a little more specialized toward teachers with a tech background. If you teach art at the high school level or a technology-based course, you may have the skills to do some freelance graphic design. Platforms like Upwork.com and Fiverr.com make it easy for aspiring freelance graphic designers to apply for work.
- Curriculum Development: There have been numerous learning programs and apps available for a while. The current focus on distance learning has put a lot of attention on just how many options there are out there for students. Each one of these programs develop curriculum with the help of certified teachers. If you have a favorite program or app, look into how they collaborate with teachers. You may be able to contribute to a program you love and make money.
- Teaching English Online: I have a couple of friends who have been teaching English online to kids in China for years. Because of the time difference, the teaching sessions typically happen early in the morning and later in the evening. Both friends have kids at home and schedule the classes around school time. There is a lot of flexibility in this side job which means you can likely do it without interfering with your distance teaching responsibilities.
- Virtual Assistant: In previous blogs I have talked about a friend who helped me get started writing by allowing me to guest post on her blog. She is still blogging but now spends a significant amount of her time as a virtual assistant (VA). Teaching requires many of the skills that are desirable in a VA such as organization, prioritization, innovation, handling multiple projects at once, flexibility, and the ability to work independently. VA positions are, by nature, remote positions. Many people dismiss the idea of being a VA because they mistakenly believe that all of the VA work is being outsourced overseas. There is a lot of that happening but there are also a lot of business owners and executives who are willing to pay more for US-based help.
- Consulting: There is so much going on right now in the world of online learning. Each app, website, and company that is involved in online learning needs real teachers as consultants. These companies know – if they’re smart – that their products will be most effective if they are vetted and/or developed by real teachers. I recommend going to the websites of the companies you are interested in consulting for and reach out to them directly.
- Online Tutoring: My kids have an online math game/learning tool that they are loving during quarantine. I can hire a math tutor through the game if my child needs extra help. Those tutors are teachers! You can get hooked up with a company that has a model like this or figure out how to offer tutoring in a freelance capacity. (If you want to go the freelance route – check with your district to make sure you are following any guidelines they have about when and to whom you can offer paid tutoring).
- Developing teacher/homeschool resources: Who knows the types of resources teachers need better than other teachers? There are a ton of ways you can develop teacher resources that are physical or digital products. For example, you can create a set of digital flashcards for sight word or math practice. Teachers can purchase and use those digital flashcards for online instruction or even recommend them to parents for student practice. Think about the small things that have helped you as a teacher. Is there a way to produce and offer those resources to others? Use that creative teacher mind of yours! This is a win-win for you and others because you can earn some money while providing a valuable and useful resource. You can see an example of someone who is doing this by heading over to the etsy shop for TeacherHappyMail. She has tons of resources like the examples I gave here.
The teachers I know feel so blessed to still have consistent money coming in during these times of uncertainty. However, I know that there are teachers out there who are feeling the financial pinch because they have a spouse who is currently out of work. Your reason for trying to find side work online may be from necessity or because you have big goals that require extra money. Whatever your reason, I hope this list helps! If you want more support or resources – please reach out to me.
If you are ready to get serious about writing online, keep an eye out for my training program The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Writing Online and Getting Paid. In this guide, I go over everything you need to know to get started building a career writing online. To get the latest on this and other projects, sign up for the email list and I will keep in touch.