Teaching is one of the highest callings a person can have! Many skilled teachers find tremendous fulfillment in the classroom as they bring a new level of knowledge and understanding to their students.
It’s also one of the most difficult callings a person can have. Between student issues, parents who are either checked out, belligerent, or both, and an administration and greater government oversight lending all kinds of pressure about test scores and performance, being a teacher these days is incredibly difficult.
And to make matters worse, the pay isn’t always what it should be.
Turning to online work-at-home opportunities to supplement or even replace your income from teaching is something that many teachers are doing, whether they’re facing the long summer break, retirement, or even a career or lifestyle change.
Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities for teachers and former teachers to make money online while putting their teaching experience to great use. If you’re one of these awesome teachers looking for an online job, here are some great ideas to get you started.
If You’re Still Teaching
Whether you want to put your summer break to work or you want to build up a side income to pad your paychecks all year, ad hoc online work opportunities are a great opportunity for you. Don’t just stop reading in this section, though — there might be other opportunities that you’ll want to explore in the other parts of this post.
- Teaching online. The most obvious place to start is with your own employer. If your school or school system offers online classes as an alternative form of education, see what the opportunity is there for teachers. You may be able to pick up an extra class or two in your expertise without picking up the responsibility of an additional classroom. It’s not always feasible to teach both offline and offline for your school, but it’s worth looking into!
- Tutoring online. Online tutoring websites offer flexible hours and let you determine your own workload. Whether you want to tutor for three hours every evening or simply pick up a few tutoring sessions per week, online tutoring is a great fit. You can also ramp up your hours over the summer to help students catch up or even get ahead. Learn more about tutoring online here. Tutoring is something you may also be able to take offline.
- Test prep. Similar to tutoring, teaching test prep classes to help students prepare for their standardized testing not only helps children achieve their dreams, but it brings in some extra income for you without requiring huge amounts of planning and grading. Kaplan is the biggest name in test prep, but look into smaller local and regional organizations that also offer prep classes, or hang your own shingle!
- Test scoring. If the idea of doing more grading doesn’t make you want to run for the hills, consider picking up some scoring work. Programs like the Advanced Placement Program, Praxis, the GRE, and TOEFL all hire test scorers to evaluate written and spoken answers and essays.
If You’re Not Teaching Anymore
Not everyone is destined to stay in the classroom forever. Many teachers leave education entirely, finding new work that uses their knowledge and experience in other ways. I know several people who have made the jump from teaching to becoming copywriters and marketers, for example.
While there’s no limit to what you can do when you’re no longer teaching, there are a few options for people who want to somehow remain in the educational universe without actually being in a school. These are a few ideas and opportunities for you.
- Instructional design. Broadly defined, instructional design is the creation of any type of “instructional experience.” You’re basically writing the coursework for any given topic. It can be putting together a course in remedial math to offer to the elementary street down the school, and it could be an employee training for the mega-corporation whose headquarters is across the country. Instructional design is great for teachers who enjoy teaching itself but aren’t interested in overcoming the challenges posed by the classroom. Having a teaching background will give you a big leg up when you start looking for instructional design work.
Sites like Study.com, StraighterLine and Shmoop are places that pay freelancers to put together lessons, tests, tutorials, and documents to help students through their coursework. If you want to keep teaching what you teach but do it in a different environment, these websites could be a great place for you to get started with online instructional design. And who knows — you may find that you qualify for a staff position at one of those sites, too!
- Test development. If you’re interested in putting together future SAT exams, check out the employment opportunities with Pearson. If you have classroom experience but are looking for something else, you can work for Pearson doing anything from question development to graphic design.
- Teachers Pay Teachers. The TPT website is an enormous collection of free and paid resources for teachers, by teachers. If you’re no longer going to use your lesson plans but you still think they’re great, you can upload them to TPT and start getting paid for them. It might not be the path to replacing your teaching salary, but it could build up a decent income stream, especially if you’re strategic with your descriptions and promotion.
Education Writing Opportunities
As you probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of freelance writing. It’s something you can do on the side or really build into a full-time income. You manage your own workload so you can pick up work when you want it and cut back when you don’t have the spare time. And because you’re a teacher with skills, experience, and likely some certifications, you’re poised to be able to command higher rates than the average beginner.
No matter where you are in your teaching journey, there are freelance writing opportunities. In addition to the ones discussed in the sections above, here are a few sites that regularly pay teachers for freelance writing:
Don’t dismiss freelance writing even if you don’t consider yourself a writing teacher. It’s a wonderful way to have a lasting impact on students not just tomorrow, but for years to come.