Teaching is a noble profession, and many people enter the field with altruistic intentions, disregarding the often low earning potential - at least until it comes time to pay the bills. Rather than contemplate a career change, teachers can supplement their incomes in some creative ways doing exactly what they love to do. Here are nine ways to increase your earnings or decrease your debt:
Earn an Advanced Degree
Teacher salaries are based on the number of years of service and the number of graduate-level course credits earned beyond the bachelor's degree. Typically, earnings increase with each subsequent bundle of 15 to 18 credits. Therefore, a BA plus 18 graduate credits earns a higher step on the salary ladder than just a bachelor's degree.
Coach a Sport
Coaching has long been a traditional way to supplement teaching salaries. Inter-mural and club sports are often supported by separate school funds. Coach an existing team sport or start a new one.
Tutor After-school Programs
Schools with high populations of students from low socio-economic backgrounds receive federal funding to offer additional resources and educational support. This can include before- and after-school tutoring, clubs, community learning centers, Saturday classes and summer camp programs.
Teach Summer School
Districts offer many summer school opportunities for students with classes scheduled in multiple buildings district-wide. Courses range from math and reading remediation to interdisciplinary enrichment. Apply to teach a class or offer to design a course that meets a need.
Write Grants to Fund Projects
Field trips, school clubs and classroom projects may require funds not available through the school budget. A plethora of local, national and corporate grant opportunities abound specifically for education programs. They range from mini-grants for classroom-size projects to thousands of dollars to support long- range projects. Internet searches by discipline, project category or grade-level will narrow the list to fit a particular need.
Apply for Award Programs
Qualified teachers can be nominated for a variety of monetary awards. District, state and national recognition programs are available across disciplines. Some require a third-party nomination while others allow self-nomination. Awards can range from the hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.
Apply for Loan Forgiveness Programs
Teaching in a specialized program for a specific period of time can qualify a teacher for certain types of loan repayment programs. Inquire about these types of programs through your loan company, your district human resources office or on the federal government website.
Attend In-service Programs That Pay a Stipend
All teachers are required to maintain continuing education credits. Take advantage of those courses offered with a stipend. Often they include complimentary meals and free teaching materials, as well as cash payment. In many instances, the school or district can pay registration fees for professional development courses.
Write for Educational Publications
Expertise and classroom experience form the basis of sound educational writing. Magazines, professional journals, websites and education association publications accept submissions from professional educators. Submitting articles about current education trends or timeless topics like classroom management can lead to a part-time career as a professional writer.
Studying examples of teacher resumes can help you find employment in a good school district. Although there is a teacher shortage, you still need to keep your resume polished so you can find the teacher jobs that suit you best.
To get inspiration for recommendation letters for teachers, start by looking at samples of the letter's three main parts-the introduction, the overview and the details.