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Friday, 20 May 2016

The combination of a highly transferable skill set and extended vacation time gives teachers an edge when it comes to taking on a side job.

Dawn Casey-Rowe, who teaches social studies at William M. Davies Career & Technical High School in Rhode Island, started  broketeacher.com, a blog about living well within a teacher's salary. She also discovered an opportunity to create content for startups while she was looking for information on shifting to a digital classroom.

Casey-Rowe started creating more content and doing copywriting for what's known as "edtech," and then wrote a book. "All of these experiences allow me to bring a unique perspective to my students about how they can build their ideas and passions into jobs."

Freelance writing comes as a natural side and summer job for many teachers, including Danny Kofke, who taught elementary school and special education in Florida, Georgia, and an American school in Poland, and worked his way into a personal finance writing career in 2014. Some teachers, especially language teachers, can find new outlets for their talents beyond their schools—and they can do it remotely, from anywhere in the world. Some teachers, especially language teachers, can find new outlets for their talents online beyond their schools—and they can do it remotely, from anywhere in the world.

Platforms for this include italki for languages, WyzAnt for tutoring, and Upwork for writing skills.

Do you need extra time and training?

Kofke advised teachers to teach summer school, work in the after-school program or tutor to bring in extra money.

Casey-Rowe says that you can also use summertime to up your skill set. “That's the beautiful thing. In this new economy, we have access to that learning. While education itself doesn't always credential online learning for our teaching, we can learn a million different jobs and spaces by getting out there and reading, researching, following the world's leading experts, and taking classes."

Other ideas to pull in extra income in the off-months include:

  • Waitressing or bartending
  • Selling crafts on Etsy or another website
  • Turning over flea market finds on eBay
  • Driving for Lyft or Uber
  • Dog-walking or pet-sitting
  • Attending focus groups
  • Renting out your home or a room on Airbnb or VBRO
  • Mystery shopping

The teacher advantage

Kofke says teachers have an advantage because most of them pull in a sort of pension, which can supplement the freelance life during retirement. "For instance, here in Georgia, a teacher can replace 60 percent of his or her income after working 30 years," he says.

Casey-Rowe advises teachers to follow their passions. "Learn. Then look for ways for people to pay you for that learning. The more I do that, the more my world opens. I'm grateful for the people who helped open those doors when I didn't even know what they were, but saying yes and taking chances have been life-changing for me."

 

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