Side hustling in the teacher world is extremely common. I have colleagues who leave work and head straight to babysit, tutor, bartend, deliver food, and the list goes on. While this level of normalcy is a side effect of having a limited income, I still appreciated seeing so many teachers do what originally seemed impossible to me: finding time and energy to work after teaching all day.
The key is to find a side hustle that won’t make you burn out– something that takes little energy, or even energizes you (if you’re very lucky). Here’s a couple of categories that teachers tend to lean towards:
School-based side hustles
These side hustles are ones I have direct experience with from sponsoring the school newspaper and coaching the Co-Ed Volleyball team. When you sponsor a club or coach a sport, you get a unique opportunity to build deeper relationships with students outside of the classroom. This is something that helps me re-energize my love for teaching and feel closer to my school community. Plus, these are great choices energy-wise because they eliminate the possibility of a second commute. The caveat is that they usually aren’t compensated well for the time you truly spend working (especially in the case of coaching), so you have to make sure that it’s worth it to you.
Tutoring in your content area
After managing a classroom of students, working one-on-one or in small groups can feel like a breath of fresh air. There are two main paths you can take with tutoring: you can be an independent tutor, find clients, and pocket all of the money, or you can work for a company. Tutoring independently takes more time upfront, since marketing yourself and finding clients can be challenging, but has a higher earning potential since there’s no company taking money off the top. On the other hand, tutoring with a company saves you all the upfront legwork of finding clients, but tends to be less profitable. There’s no bad choice here, as long as you’re following the path that works best for your lifestyle. Whichever path keeps you from burning out is the best choice for you. If you’re interested in tutoring independently, you can market yourself on Care.com or Wyzant.com to take some of the leg work out of getting your name out there. I believe Wyzant takes a cut, but can still be a huge timesaver.
Teachers Pay Teachers
While each district’s curriculum is different, you can take your old lessons and resources and adjust them into products that will work for teachers everywhere. I’ve never tried TPT myself, but from secondhand information, I understand that this is the type of side hustle that takes time upfront, but very little maintenance to continue bringing in passive income. The work involved here is to create/revise resources, but it seems that in order to make this lucrative, you also need to spend some time marketing yourself. Many TPT sellers use their teacher Instagrams to promote their products.
Apps that are unrelated to teaching
These are great considering they aren’t related to the day job of teaching; having something you can do outside of your job location and description is a great way to not burn out quickly. Here are some options to consider:
Rover: great for dog-lovers with experience caring for living creatures
Task Rabbit: This is an app where you contract yourself to do random odds and ends, anything from putting together Ikea furniture to stuffing envelopes to just about any task that someone wants to outsource. You can choose the tasks you want to complete, which gives you both choice and variety in your job.
Ridesharing/Food delivery: Doordash, Postmates, or UberEats. Lots of teachers like being able to set their own hours on these apps, which is a huge benefit.
Doesn’t seem worth it? Maybe it’s not.
Side hustling isn’t for everyone, especially if you already feel overwhelmed with the workload of teaching. There’s nothing wrong with NOT having a second job if you are able to cover costs with your primary job. It might also be beneficial to view side hustling as a temporary means to a short or medium-term goal. For example, you could side hustle until you’re debt free, or until you’ve saved your full 3-6 month emergency fund. Having a clear goal in mind can help you push through the tough days and have permission to STOP when the time comes.
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