6 Smart Ways to Make Money on the Side for TEFL Teachers


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Today’s teachers must not only be “book smart,” they must also be savvy in financial matters in order to thrive and keep up with the increasing cost of living. This ensures not only a good quality of life, but also the likelihood that they can continue doing what they love.

Comparatively speaking, teachers do more for less. According to Economic Policy Institute: “A comparison of teachers’ wages to those of workers with comparable skill requirements, including accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy, personnel officers, and vocational counselors and inspectors, shows that teachers earned $116 less per week in 2002, a wage disadvantage of 12.2%. Because teachers worked more hours per week, the hourly wage disadvantage was an even larger 14.1%.”

Teaching Can Pay Off in Other Areas

Despite the disparity in pay, there’s good news. Teaching has many transferable skills that can “pay off” in other ways for those that are creative and resourceful.

Before we explore these economic opportunities, let’s do a skills inventory for the average teacher.

Today’s successful teacher must typically be good at:

  • Working with kids
  • Organizing
  • Multi-tasking
  • Time management
  • Writing effectively
  • Evaluating
  • Comprehending and explaining concepts
  • Critical thinking
  • Behavior management
  • Innovation
  • Working independently (with very little supervision)

With these in mind, here are a few options that teachers can use to make some money on the side.

1.  Tutoring

Teaching and tutoring go hand in hand. Those who can teach classes are well-equipped to provide one-on-one instruction to individuals and small groups (in person or virtually), on everything from language, to math and technology. Even better is that the pay can be lucrative to the tune of $20 – $50 an hour.

Where to Find Work:

2. Freelance Editing and Travel Writing

The good communication and writing skills that are required to teach students can turn teachers into great editors and writers with a bit of practice.

In fact, you’ll find an array of children’s books and “how-tos” on Amazon and other sites authored by current or former teachers. Additionally, businesses, organizations, and authors often outsource writing and editing and teachers always make good candidates due to their related skill set.  

This is a super in depth and informative guide to finding writing jobs as a freelancer.

Where to Find Work:

3.  Blogging

A Google search rendered 73,300,000 search results for “teaching blogs.”  If you’ve been thinking of blogs as a recreational medium for rants and trivial matters, think again. Today, blogging is an avenue for many professionals to earn extra cash, increase their visibility and even launch book careers.

How is it done? Bloggers can be compensated through various means, including writing guest posts for other sites, ghost blogging, placing ads on their own sites, or earning through affiliate links and products.   

Here’s a related article to increase your blogging I.Q.

Where to Find Work:

4.  Virtual Assistant

The really cool thing about serving as a VA is the flexibility and variety of duties. A VA can work from the neighborhood coffee shop, in another country, or the confines of their bedroom. Nobody has to know their specific location, set-up, or their true “business hours.”  

VAs perform a variety of duties depending on their employer and industry with tasks ranging from administrative support, research, social media marketing, and scheduling appointments.  For this type of work, you’ll need a high-speed Internet connection and be technically competent.

Be sure to exercise due diligence and get everything in writing. Online scams are not uncommon.

Where to Find Work:

5.  Consumer Survey Taker

Did you know that some companies will actually compensate you for your opinion? That’s right – they will pay you for your 2 cents and feedback on your shopping habits, health issues, and experience as it relates to their products or those of their competitors.  Some surveys can be completed online while others may require participation in a focus group.  

Though it won’t cover your mortgage, you can expect to earn $250 a month or more for your efforts here.

Where to Find Work:

6.  Interpreter

Teachers versed in multiple languages can often find work bridging the communication gap for different cultures.  The beauty of this opportunity lies in the variety of work – translators are needed in for every company that has clients or partners outside their home country and can include hospitals, courtrooms, or schools.

Where to Find Work:

Teachers have both a lot of gifts and a lot of advantages – their skill set makes them great candidates for a variety of side jobs and their schedules allow them time to pursue outside opportunities.  If you are looking to pad your income or simply learn something new, trying one of the abovementioned jobs might be the ticket.


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3 Responses

  1. I love your list! This is very helpful. I teach at a college in Regina, only one night a week but I’m always looking for more opportunities to make myself a better teacher. I found Upwork (used to be Odesk) had a lot of options for you to teach and help create content for teachers. I think we’re going to live in a world where teachers and educators get together to make everyone better.
    Great article!

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing the article with us. I think tutoring is the best way to make money at home. I am also an English teacher at a school. In my part-time, I take tuitions and I earn a lot of money from this.

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