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Eight Perfect Side Gigs for Educators

Budgets are all over the place, money is tight, and you still need to make ends meet. Listen, none of us got into education for the “big bucks,” but at the end of the week, we all still need to bring the bacon home. For many of us, the very idea of adding hours to the work day might quicken the pulse and send you screaming into the night. But what if you could get paid for the things you’re already doing as an educator? What if a job for supplemental income actually led to better lessons, free meals, more time for grading, or even improved health and wellness? A little more interested? Today, Education World shares a variety of side gigs that are just perfect for the working teacher, where in many cases, you’re going to find that the benefits greatly outweigh the time spent.

Teachers Pay Teachers

We’ll start with a popular one. In short, Teachers Pay Teachers allows you to take the lesson plans and tools you’ve developed over the years and sell them online ... to other teachers. A wildly popular site, the site hosts over four million active users (with over $330 million earned by teachers thus far), all looking for that perfect lesson or resource for next week’s class. Basic sellers (free account) get 55% of their sales, premium members ($59.95 per year) get 80% of all their sales. You’ve already got lessons; you might as well let them earn some extra cash online.

Work at a Gym

Odd suggestion. But here’s the deal. You’ve been complaining forever about how you never have time for the gym anymore. With a free membership, you’ll have no excuse! There’s probably at least three to four different gyms in your town alone. If you have an interest in fitness and charisma to boot, it might be the perfect job for you. Many gyms hire part-time workers, have early morning and night hours, and need folks to answer phones, sign up new members, handle customer service, and keep the machines looking gorgeous. Come summer, you can snatch up the hours others leave when they plan their vacations, too. No, you don’t have to necessarily be a trainer. Get paid and invest in self-care at the same time!


Well, yeah. This one is always available, isn’t it? A difficult element to seeking out this kind of work is that it might feel odd tutoring students in your school community outside the classroom, adding privilege to those that can afford the extra help. And yet, it can be difficult to market outside of that community. Enter sites like Wyzant and Varsity Tutors. These sites can help you to connect with students in your area that are looking for support in your academic area of focus. Meetings can be arranged in person or through Skype or any variety of communication methods set up by the tutor. Yes, the site is going to take a cut of your income, but this is a small price to pay for the reach it provides.

Work at a Restaurant

If we’re moonlighting anyway, we might as well be doing it by the light of the moon. Peak hours for restaurants are the times when people are not at work: weekday nights and weekends. Perfect for the school year. Even if you’ve never tried it, if you’re a teacher, you’ll be impressed by how easily the skills transfer. You’ll need a good memory, manage several tasks at once, have great people management skills, and the ability to stay on your feet, focused, and organized. Sound familiar? Many restaurants are used to part-time workers, and although the hourly rate isn’t much, the tips on a busy night can chip away at that car payment more quickly than you’d think! A lot of restaurants either formally or informally provide free food to their employees when there is surplus or kindness in their hearts, which is always an added bonus.


Have a secret marketable skill? An unused talent? Sites like Upwork and Freelancer can put cash in your pocket. Both connect employers with potential employees for both one-time and extended gigs. Employers describe the job, you upload a resume, the site introduces you to each other (taking a small percentage of the cut). The work is home-based, and tends to pull from those talented in design, editing, writing, web developing, accounting, consulting, customer service, and virtual assistance. The more work you do, the better your rating. The better your rating, the more work available to you!

Create an Online Course

Ever wanted to get in on the “online course” game? It’s easier than you think. With minimal computer literacy skills, sites like Udemy or Pathwright are a fantastic way to add a class period to your day! The sites host thousands of online courses, and really, they do a lot of the marketing for you. Being an online teacher takes a lot of vigilance, keeping up with lessons and managing emails on top of your current course load. But if you’re clever and can make it a part of your regular routine, you can absolutely bring a substantial income into your life!

Welcomers and Desk Jobs

This one might seem a bit abstract, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you can find this sort of position almost everywhere! You’d be surprised how many large institutions have front desk positions that ask for very little from their employees: greeting people as they walk in the door, answering simple questions, answering phones.... Keep an eye out. If you can land one of these jobs and you have the patience to sit there, many of them will tolerate you grading, working on a computer, or at very least sketching ideas out in a notebook. What does this mean for you? You get to double-dip. Finish essay edits, create slides, answer emails, and enter grades, while bringing in an added hourly wage at the same time! There’s something so motivating about being required to sit at a desk, anxious to make time pass. Such gigs will make sure you get your homework done!

Write What You Know

Think about some of the resources you use as an educator.... Ever think about contributing to them? If you've been in "the biz" long enough, you likely have some priceless jewels of wisdom to share. Why not get paid to do it? With a little research, you'll learn that many education web sites (and yes, including Education World) hire active educators to add lesson plans, news pieces, and commentaries to their site. Other teachers need your experience and wisdom to guide them through the gauntlet that is the modern-day education system!

Written by Keith Lambert, Education World Associate Contributing Editor

Lambert is an English / Language Arts teacher in Connecticut.