Alternative Jobs for Teachers: How to 3x Your Income Potential

As you are contemplating leaving the classroom, I know you’ve considered a multitude of alternative jobs for teachers. Maybe you’ve thought about…

  • opening a TpT shop, but then you worry either it isn’t going to be a viable long-term option or the investment of time now is going to take way too long to pay off in the form of a full-time income.
  • starting an online teaching or tutoring business, but you worry about the fact that you don’t want to relive the “virtual” teaching episode of 2020, you’ve never created your own curriculum from scratch, and you would have to find consistent clients for it to be sustainable.

But what if I told you there was a way to marry these two things (virtually bypassing the “I am broke” waiting period) and create multiple streams of income almost immediately. Would you want to know how?

Well, that’s what today’s episode is all about.

Alternative Jobs for Teachers

Have you ever created a game for your students to practice division facts or designed a mini lesson to help them understand adjectives?

Of course you have; you’re a teacher. Maybe it wasn’t some Pinterest-perfect lesson, but it helped your students understand complex information. And that is the ultimate litmus test for good teachers.

So why not take advantage of that skill set and use it to leave the classroom?

Now maybe you’re saying, “Ok Jennifer…but where do I start?” Well, why don’t we start with the problems and then see how we can solve them.

The problem with becoming ONLY a TpT seller

Opening your own TpT shop is an excellent way for you to make money selling your resources. It can be anything from a simple one page worksheet to a complex year long bundle of units, and it can be geared toward any age group (including other TpT sellers).

The key is to find your target market and create products that solve their problems. If you can do this, you will have a nice chunk of change that you will be earning month after month PASSIVELY!

But the reality is we invest a lot of time and energy upfront into…

  • creating a TpT shop full of meaningful, engaging and rigorous products that we hope and pray our potential customers will want to buy
  • sharing our products on Pinterest
  • posting our products on Instagram and Facebook

Yet it can still take several months or even a year before your resources really start gaining interest and traction…so what should you do if you want to leave the classroom soon or even immediately?

Well, if you know TpT is part of your long term approach to making money (and let me just say it is 100% worth the time and energy once you start recouping some money), you need to have another stream of income to pursue while you give your TpT products time to get noticed.

So how can you leverage what you have already created to benefit you in the moment?

Enter online teaching.

The problem with becoming ONLY an online teacher

Many teachers shudder when I mention the idea of becoming an online teacher because they immediately think back to the pandemic of 2020 (and the carryover ever since). 

But hear me out because I need to dispel a MAJOR myth. Teaching online with a company is NOT the same thing as what was called “virtual” learning during the pandemic.

1| What online teaching is NOT

During 2020, teachers just like you were given no information, no resources, and no insight into how they were to teach online. They were simply thrown to the wolves with nothing more than a “good luck” wish from administration.

First of all, if this was your experience, I am so sorry. I want to acknowledge that you are a rockstar!!

It is highly likely that you didn’t know anything about the platform you were using and overnight you were expected to…

  • continue teaching your students, who might or might not have internet access, engaging and rigorous lessons,
  • figure out how to get classwork, homework, & projects assigned (and collected) from your students, and
  • meet the needs of your students, parents, and administration 24/7

Honestly, the fact that you did all that proves you can do ANYTHING!!!

But it also makes your reticence at the thought of teaching online super-clear. That’s why I wanted to explain what online teaching is NOT before we move any farther.

2| What online teaching is

When you get hired as an online teacher or tutor, you typically teach one-on-one or with a small group on a platform designed for this type of interaction. Depending on which company hires you, the curriculum could be ready for you or you may have the freedom to create your own curriculum.

But what does all of this have to do with making more money?

Well, becoming an online teacher and opening a TpT shop are interesting alternative jobs for teachers, they aren’t going to get you the income boost that I’m talking about independently…so here’s the secret sauce.

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The solution

You need to repurpose.

You’ve made these awesome resources to sell on TpT, so why not use those same resources to offer engaging classes on two distinct online teaching platforms?

You could start making money immediately and you wouldn’t even have to come up with anything new! The content that you created for the resource is already there just waiting to be used.

That’s called working smarter, not harder.

So, what are the two companies to which you should apply?

1| Outschool

Outschool is basically a “class” marketplace. So thinking about the TpT marketplace, TpT markets products to teachers based on a variety of filters, Outschool markets classes to parents based on a variety of filtered interests. As a teacher on the Outschool platform, you choose the…

  • content you want to teach, 
  • duration of the class (one time class, 2 weeks of classes, etc.),
  • price for your particular classes,
  • hours you want to teach 

2| Varsity Tutors

This is a company that offers lessons based on the needs of students, and as the name implies, it follows more of a tutoring model for one-on-one assistance.

But there are also class options where you can teach all kinds of different lessons from creative writing to multiplication. So here’s how it works. Varsity Tutors sends out an email with all of the different classes they are planning to provide and teachers select the ones of interest. You then build out your lesson based on the general topic.

Using our work smarter not harder approach, use your TpT resources as the basis for your specific class? This will allow you to…

  • add additional content to the product when you find gaps (resulting in a bigger product and ultimately more $)
  • repurpose something you’ve already created (resulting in less prep time)
  • bring in money faster (resulting in the ability to leave the classroom quicker)

Talk about repurposing and getting the most return on your investment!!

So how do these alternative jobs for teachers increase your income potential?

Let’s break it down so we can see.

  • TpT – You create a resource to sell directly to other teachers and homeschool parents. They will purchase your resource and you get paid.
  • Outschool – You create the classes you want to teach using the resources you created on TpT and you get paid for teaching said classes.
  • Varsity Tutors – You teach lessons that allow you to modify the resources you created for Outschool and TpT and get paid for those classes.

Let’s look at a specific example:

  1. You create a resource for your TpT shop called Multiplication Magic, and you sell it for $6.00 in your TpT shop.
  2. Then, you open up a class on Varsity Tutors to teach multiplication using…you guessed it, your Multiplication Magic resource. You don’t have to do any prep because you already have all of the content you are going to teach and you get paid $18 for the class.
  3. You create a class on Outschool called Multiplication Magic. You charge $10 per student for a 30 minute class and you have 5 students that attend. After Outschool takes their percentage off the top, you earn $35.

By using this model, you have just tripled your potential income simply by being smart!!

The most important thing you can do if you want to make a full-time income outside of the classroom is to think outside of the box. You can do anything! So why not be an independent consultant who teaches online and also designs curriculum?

While having a “traditional” job outside of the classroom is a perfect option for some people, having the opportunity to try several things and ultimately bring in money from a variety of income sources is ideal for those seeking alternative jobs for teachers.

If you know this is a route you’d really like to pursue, I am going to share my dear friend, MaryEllen’s referral links. She is a teacher for both Outschool and Varsity Tutors, and as a former classroom teacher, she gets it.

As someone who has been an online teacher for over 4.5 years myself, I can tell you that it is extremely important for you to use a referral link from someone who is an excellent mentor.

And trust me when I tell you MaryEllen can and will answer your questions while helping set you up for success. She is also an admin in our Teachers Leaving the Classroom Facebook group if you want to pop over there and say hi or ask her any questions.

My friend, you have so much potential just waiting to be discovered. So why not give this method a try and see if you can diversify your income streams and start bringing home a LOT of money…you can do it!