A bit on the side

14th January 2005 at 00:00
How do you make ends meet? Anthea Davey finds out how to earn extra cash easily

Back in the mid-1950s, the average teacher earned pound;1,275 a year.

While things would seem to have improved, with salaries ranging from Pounds 18,500 for newly qualified teachers (pound;22,000 in inner-London) to Pounds 34,000 (pound;40,000 in inner-London) at the top of the scale, teachers - and newly qualified teachers especially - are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet. This is not surprising given some other changes, such as the average 1950s house only costing pound;2,330.

Teachers looking to raise some extra cash to supplement their income have to face a few more obstacles than the average moonlighter. For a start, pay aside, you are still in some ways a "pillar of the community" and any extra-curricular employment will necessarily reflect on your school to some extent. While a sideline as a gorillagram may offer quick bucks and the opportunity to express your creative side, the potential for embarrassment - and possible local paper headlines - should you find yourself faced with a parent or governor makes it something of a risky option.

At the other end of the scale, your school or local authority will probably be only too glad to offer you some more legitimate earners. Bear in mind, though, that if they're paying you extra for something that they'd obviously like you to do for free, it's likely to be tedious andor badly paid.

Below are a few options, ranging from those which are positively encouraged to those that might not make an appearance on your CV so readily.


The neurotic middle classes are your best bet for this kind of work, and fertile hunting ground is the inner-city, replete with large Victorian houses and "bog standard comprehensives" (copyright Alistair Campbell). Pay can be correlated with the degree of anxiety of the parents. Avoid agencies, which charge hefty commission for the two minutes of work it takes connecting parent to teacher. If you ask around you will soon find work and can charge from pound;15 an hour upwards.

Pay-off potential: *** Fun factor: * Classroom compatibility: ****

Exam marking

Sold to teachers on the dubious grounds of being good for professional development. A feeble attempt to hide the fact that the pay is poor. The desperation of the exam boards is emphasised by the fact that in recent years the stipulation that markers have two years' teaching experience has been dropped and exam questions are now set so that you no longer need to be a subject specialist for many exams. An assistant examiner at AS level for OCR earns around pound;730 (before tax) for marking 300 scripts. Get in now before they start training hamsters to do it as an even more cost effective option.

Pay-off potential: ** Fun factor: * Classroom compatibility: ****


Poorly paid when external invigilators are hired and compulsory for contracted teachers anyway. Rates around minimum wage. Not to be considered unless truly destitute or attempting to suck up to senior management.

Pay-off potential: * Fun factor: Classroom compatibility: ****

Supply teaching

As with tutoring, agencies are to be avoided, although this is harder to do here. Generally, you can earn around pound;120 a day, which sounds good until you consider that you don't get any benefits such as pension contributions or sick pay and will inevitably find yourself covering classes that caused the regular class teacher to be sick in the first place. You can try liaising with local education authorities yourself, but this can be complicated. Better to try and get work with schools you know and where they like you enough to at least provide you with tissues to cry into after the end of the "lesson".

Pay-off potential: **** Fun factor: * unless you have a severe masochistic streak. Classroom compatibility: *****

Summer school

Again sold as a great opportunity to improve teaching skills, as you work with either gifted and talented or struggling children who need to "catch up" in key areas, but this time actually well paid. For this reason, it can be hard to get work. Easter revision classes are also potential earners and often advertised in papers such as the TES. Pay is very varied, but expect at least pound;100 a day.

Pay-off potential: ***** Fun factor: *** Classroom compatibility: *****


Not one I have any reason to encourage - it's a dog eat dog world. But if you have an idea for an education story, try pitching it to the TES or the education sections of one of the nationals. You can expect pound;100 upwards for a comment or opinion piece. If you're after the big money, the tabloids are particularly partial to sex andor drugs scandals involving senior managers. This could make your teaching career short-lived though, so consider carefully.

Pay-off potential: Very varied Fun factor: **** Classroom compatibility: ***

Education workshops

If you've managed to have a book of light verse or a fantasy novel for children published, schools are always looking for visitors to give talks and do workshops. You can expect around pound;100 for a session. It will keep you going until you write that bestseller.

Pay-off potential: *** Fun factor: **** Classroom compatibility: ***

Designing and reviewing education resources

There's an expanding market geared around milking every penny out of desperate parents who buy revision materials for each and every subject and key stage. Then there is the market targeting equally desperate teachers.

Exploit both groups cynically and cash in! Submit ideas to education publishers or websites. If you're really confident you could attempt your own textbook and hope the exam board takes it up. You have to be quick though - a month too late and you will find the subject you've written about is no longer on the curriculum.

Pay-off potential: *** to **** Fun Fun factor: **** Classroom compatibility: *****

Summer camp

This will possibly involve moving to America, which may seem a little drastic given that you don't make much money. You do, however, get free accommodation and food and the opportunity to feel like you're an extra in a "rites of passage" movie.

Pay-off potential: * Fun factor: *** Classroom compatibility: *****

Undergoing tests for medical science

Not only a money spinner, but helping society and with the added excitement of a potential risk to life and limb. Just like teaching!

Pay-off potential: * to ***** (depending on element of risk). Fun factor: Only if you are very noble. Classroom compatibility: **

Ann Summers parties

Kate, a language teacher in Derby, has held Ann Summers parties to boost her income. 'There's an initial outlay when you begin and you have to buy food and drink for your friends, but apart from that, it's easy money.

Commission is around 20 per cent and you get 30 per cent off products you buy yourself. I've heard of people who do really well getting holidays as bonuses, but I generally make about pound;40-pound;60 anevening. The main reason I do it is that it's a laugh.'

Rock and Roll Star

Will, a supply teacher in London, is in a band. 'When my band, The Bee Stings, play a gig, the money's not bad, but there are a lot of costs involved in paying for rehearsal space, transport and so on. You basically do it because it's fun - and obviously there's great street cred when the kids find out!'

Jam doughnut filler

Maxine, a special needs teacher in Waltham Forest, used to do shifts in a factory after school where her job was to fill doughnuts with jam. 'The pay wasn't good - about pound;3.50 an hour, I think - but it was very compatible with teaching. I was a music teacher at the time and had to teach a unit on opera, which I'd never done in my pop music degree. I used to wear headphones and listen to Wagner while piping jam into the doughnuts. It was great!'

Bar work

Lindsay, a north London English teacher, worked in a pub during her NQT year in an attempt to pay off her student debts. 'I enjoyed the work as it was lively and not very taxing after a hard day at school. I got about pound;6 an hour, but had to pack it in when a difficult parent I'd met at a parents' evening came into the pub one night. Fortunately, I think he was more embarrassed than I was!'

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