6 Ways Teachers Can Increase Their School Paychecks
The country is currently on edge due to another horrific school shooting. As much of the news coverage focuses on what can be done to keep our students safe, we're also hearing stories of the heroic acts of teachers who went above and beyond to protect others. Teachers in these situations are sometimes literally the first line of defense. Yet, most of them did not go into the profession thinking they would need to protect their students in ways like this.
As America sees the startling reality of what teachers will do for their students, it is difficult to understand why public school teachers are so poorly compensated. We know that there are reasons behind the lack of funding for teachers paychecks, but are these reasons enough to deny our children's caretakers a comfortable standard of living?
Instead of asking teachers to take on second and third jobs, it would be in everybody's best interests if they could focus on educating students. We know that this over work can lead to teacher burnout which leads to teachers leaving the classroom. And, if we've learned anything from what happened in Parkland, Florida recently, we know we can't afford to have dedicated and loving professionals leave our students.
So we came up with a list of a few ways that teachers can earn more money through their schools, districts, and the work that they already do in the classroom. These aren't side gigs, exactly, instead they're more like professional development opportunities in which teachers can do extra work on campus so that their life at home can be focused on family, friends, and themselves.
How to Make Extra Money On Campus
1. Hosting teachers interns
Teachers who live near colleges and universities can get paid to observe and mentor college students in education and teaching programs. This pay usually takes the form of a stipend from the college. Teacher mentors usually need to attend trainings on the college campus to become familiar with the goals the program is trying to accomplish. Then, the student teacher will come to your classroom on certain days of the week at certain times in order to observe you, work with students, and even give instruction. You may be required to look over student teacher lesson plans, film a student teacher, and provide feedback after they give instruction. Hosting student teacher is a great way to give back to the education community.
2. Participating in district/publisher pilot groups
Some school districts involve teachers in the process of adopting new material for the classroom. These teachers may receive a stipend for their participation in a pilot program in their classroom. Major educational publishers also recruit teachers to use their products in the classroom and offer feedback. When you do pilot programs in your classroom, you are generally required to use the curriculum, film yourself and your students engaging with the material, and provide written, and sometimes in-person, feedback. If you have some flexibility in the materials that you use in your classroom, participating in a pilot is a great way to earn some extra money while still teaching with quality materials.
3. Leading your grade level or department
Most schools have grade-level or department chairs. These people represent the grade level or department in meetings with administration. They also lead grade-level and department meetings by setting agendas, offering mentorship to newer members of the teaching community, and arranging for professional develop and training. Most grade-level or department chairs are offered a yearly stipend that is included in their paycheck. The specific duties will vary from school to school and from grade-level to grade-level, however most grade level or department chair people usually spend a few extra hours each week performing work related to the role.
4. Teaching in a high-need area
Many schools and districts offer stipends or higher salaries to teachers who have certification in high-needs areas. These areas may include math, science, special ed, and foreign languages. If you already have a degree in one of these areas but teach in another area, you may want to look into getting certified to teach in a high-need area. In addition, stipends are often offered to bilingual teachers or teachers who can communicate with parents and families who speak a language other than English. Discuss the option to work in a high-need role with your administrator.
5. Earning a Master’s, EdD, or PhD
Additional education is always an answer for a teacher who is looking to up their paycheck. Most schools and districts offer small stipend for teachers with advanced degrees. Teachers who do additional, advanced coursework such as National Board Certification may also receive a stipend, even if it doesn't lead to an advanced degree.
6. Coach a team or sponsor a club
Some schools and districts offer a small stipend for two teachers who are also coaches or after school club leaders. In this case, teachers use their personal interests and skills to help students. Teachers who are athletic and are willing to be trained as coaches can work with student athletes. Teachers who loved journalism or photography might sponsor the newspaper or yearbook clubs.Coaching and leading certain clubs can take up many hours each week depending on the activity, so keep that in mind before you sign up for the role.
It's a particularly difficult time for teachers right now. Not only is school safety a constant lingering question, but teachers are still living paycheck-to-paycheck. In order for teachers to be able to care for our students, they cannot be burned out or worried about their own financial security. Unfortunately, for many teachers, a second job is the only option. However, there are some ways that teachers can make a little extra money on campus so that their home life feels more balanced.
Amanda Ronan is an Austin-based writer. After many years as a teacher, Amanda transitioned out of the classroom and into educational publishing. She wrote and edited English, language arts, reading, and social studies content for grades K-12.