4 Ways Teachers Can Increase Their Income

Aug 14, 2019 by

A Teacher’s Guide to Increasing Income

If someone were to make a list of the most important jobs in society, titles like police officer, firefighter, and doctor would naturally be at the top. But you’d also find the title of teacher. Yet, despite the supreme importance of teachers in our society, they receive paltry pay.

As important as it is for something proactive to be done in terms of legislating fairer pay for teachers, political change is unfortunately outside your realm of control. Discovering a way to increase your overall income – and there are numerous ways to accomplish this – is your best option.

4 Strategies for Increasing Income

Depending on your current situation and how much additional income you need to cover the bills or become financially comfortable, you can take any number of routes. Here are a few options:

1. Job/Salary Negotiations

In most industries, salary negotiations are part of the normal ebb and flow that come with hiring employees, conducting annual reviews, offering promotions, etc. But for some reason, teachers rarely, if ever, negotiate their earnings.

The best time to negotiate your salary is when you’re offered the job. While most schools have a set starting salary with pre-planned pay increases for time served, it can’t hurt to ask for a higher figure. Most likely, you won’t get the number you ask for. However, something else may happen. The administration may come back by offering additional pay for additional responsibility. For example, you could add to your salary by coaching the tennis team, teaching a once-a-month Saturday class, or helping with maintenance work after school.

2. Be Willing to Make a Change

Sometimes all it takes is a willingness to make a change and you can increase your income. Here are a couple of illustrations of what this could look like:

  • If you’re currently teaching at a private school where you’re extremely comfortable, yet underpaid, taking a similar role in a public school could yield a significant income increase. While public school teaching won’t make anyone rich, the pay tends to be comparatively better than the average private school salary.
  • If you’re currently teaching on a substitute basis, switching to a full-time position will allow you to significantly increase your earnings right away. You might not get to teach the classes you love, but give it time. After a couple years of experience as a full-time teacher, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate.

There’s something to be said for stepping out of your comfort zone and making a change. It’s never easy, but it’s often necessary for growth.

3. Enhance Your Resume

The stronger and more impressive your resume is, the more opportunity you have to command a higher salary (both in private school and the public school system). One way to bolster your resume is to go back to school and enhance your education.

If you’re planning to go back to school and get another degree, weigh the cost-benefit of doing so. A lengthy four-year program probably won’t yield the benefits you’re seeking. Instead, look for faster, flexible options. For example, an Associate in Specialized Business (A.S.B.) is a well-rounded degree that’s useful in a variety of settings (including teaching and the private sector). You can get an A.S.B. degree in roughly 18 months by taking online classes from home. An option like this makes sense.

4. Pick Up Side Jobs

As an overtaxed teacher, the last thing you want to do is increase your workload. However, picking up a side job here and there is the quickest way to elevate your income. It doesn’t have to take up a ton of your time, either. Consider the following options:

  • Offer tutoring services that coincide with the classes you’re teaching. It’s obviously a conflict of interest to tutor the students in your classes, but there’s nothing stopping you from tutoring students in other schools in the area (or even online).
  • Summers mean time off, but don’t become overly protective of the 8-10 weeks you have off in the middle of the year. You’re still bringing in a paycheck over this period, which allows you to significantly increase your income by adding a part-time side gig. (You’ll get paid for two jobs while effectively only performing one.)

Side jobs should be something you enjoy. If neither of the above options is enticing, think outside the box. With online marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon, as well as services like Uber and Airbnb, it’s never been easier to earn a few hundred dollars of supplementary income.

Maximize Your Earning Potential

Is teacher pay anywhere close to a reasonable figure? It’s not.

Should that frustrate you? Yes.

But it’s imperative that you learn to control what you can and stop worrying about the things you can’t. Instead of expending all of your valuable energy complaining about the way things are, take the initiative to do something about your situation. Whether it’s negotiating a new salary, going back to school to bolster your resume, or picking up some additional stream of income, you have much more control over your career than you realize. Do something about it and discover the difference a proactive approach makes.

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