In the fall of 2019, there were 3.2 million public school teachers in the U.S., according to the Department of Education. That doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of private school teachers around the country.
Teachers’ jobs are incredibly demanding. They lead classes throughout the day, then take home assignments to grade and prepare for forthcoming lessons by night.
Still, many teachers are open to or looking for a side hustle. And there are several simple gigs you could take on. “The thing I always think about” in approaching these opportunities, says side hustle expert Michelle Jackson, “is just optimizing their time.”
Here are four possible side hustles for teachers.
A teacher who’s flexible about where they do their lesson plans and grade papers, or who has some free time on the weekends, could consider picking up some house or pet sitting. House sitting could include watering plants or maybe light cleaning, and pet sitting could include walks and ensuring a pet is fed and cared for.
“Clearly you’re responsible, clearly you can be trusted,” says Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and the Odd Jobs Newsletter, about teachers. She adds that, “if you can get paid to watch someone’s house or water their plants or even watch their dog” and you don’t find those tasks overly taxing, you could double up on them even as you do your other work.
Keep in mind fees: Rover sitters pay a 25% fee on each booking, and Care.com charges sitters for background checks and monthly memberships, which vary in price.
One simple way for teachers to make a little extra money is by tutoring. This can be done virtually, and you can draw on your vast, existing knowledge base.
“I like online tutoring specifically because they can always find clients,” says Jackson.
Given these fraught last few years, “one of the things that my parent friends are very concerned about is the impact on their kids’ schooling,” she says. That’s especially true of STEM subjects. “And they are paying money to have people assist them with that.”
Sign up to be a tutor in a variety of subjects on sites like Wyzant, where tutors set their own rates and often make between $30 and $60 per hour, according to Sidehusl.com. Wyzant keeps a 25% fee from all bookings.
“Many curricula are purchased by the school, like the foundational English or math or social studies or science curricula,” says Jennifer Dunn, a Boston-based teacher. “Those decisions are made by school leaders or districts,” she adds. “But for the teachers that have more flexibility or teachers who want supplemental lessons,” there are sites to buy them or get ideas from.
If you have lesson plans you found particularly successful and know teachers in similar subject matters could benefit from using them, consider selling them on Teachers Pay Teachers. The site features resources like a unit plan for “The Kill a Mockingbird,” going for about $15, a back to school activity for $2.50, and an AP U.S. government lesson for $45.
You could try selling organizers on a site like Etsy, where a printable teacher planner is going for about $5.
Other resources that might help fellow educators along the way can be saleable too. Texas-based teacher Emilio Gargano has made more than $33,000 selling guides for various teaching exams in the state.
“The thing here is, it’s passive income, right?” says Glantz. “Because once you put it up there, people just buy it.”
Many teachers have summers off, and some like to take that time to travel. If you’re able to hop on a plane and go somewhere new or exotic, you could sign up to be a travel guide through sites like Backroads.
Backroads features trips all over the world, including to Patagonia, Bali, and Iceland.
Trip leaders go through an interview process and must complete a two-week training in Salt Lake City, Utah, which happens throughout the year. Though you’ll need to cover the cost of your travel to Salt Lake City, Backroads will provide housing “and you’ll be compensated for your time,” according to the company.
The company covers all expenses while you’re on the trip, and trip leaders make an average of $13 per hour, according to Glassdoor.
If you love travel but prefer to keep it local, consider becoming a tour guide in your own hometown or city through sites like ToursByLocals. Guides design their own tours and set their price, with current tours in New York city including Art and Architecture of The High Line, which is going for $259 per tour, and a tour of Little Ireland, which is going for $200 per tour. The site charges guides a 25% fee, according to Sidehusl.com.
“If you’re already a teacher, chances are you’re great at public speaking, you’re great with people,” says Glantz. “And this is a great way of making income in the summer that also lets you travel.”
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