Last Updated: 12/6/2021
Greetings and good day, Ladies and Gents,
Andreas Gross here on the Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises blog. As someone who is both a professional coach and international educator who enjoys exploring all sorts of different avenues for making money, in today’s post we will explore six ways teachers can make money during school vacations. It is December already, and Christmas-New Year Break will be coming up sooner than we all think! Of course, like I mentioned last week, there are more holidays this time of year than just Christmas and New Year, and there are also way more than just six ways a teacher can make money during a school vacation – today’s selection is just the tip of the iceberg, really. May you be inspired...
For teachers, the school vacations, although a great for some much-needed R&R (which definitely shouldn't be underrated!), can also be the perfect time to make some extra money to reduce debt and/or pad the bank account a little bit. Apart from the "mother lode" of Summer Break, we also have Fall Break (Thanksgiving Holiday), Winter Break (Christmas-New Year Holiday), and Spring Break. These are the big school breaks most in the U.S. are familiar with, at least. Schools in China get two to three weeks of for Chinese New Year break in January-February. Many schools in Latin America get one to two weeks off for Easter (Semana Santa – which means “Holy Week” in reference to the Palm Sunday-Easter Sunday Holy Week). Granted, all of these mentioned vacations are only a week or two (apart from Summer Break), but are still very nice breaks wherein a teacher can make some cash if he or she puts his/her mind to it and plans things out in advance!
It’s December 6th right now...time to start getting those flyers and advertising blog posts ready, teachers, for your Winter Break Camp! Let’s examine what some of the options are for a teacher to make some money during vacations following a short-term seasonal business plan that can easily wrap up and end when the vacation does...
Of course, this is the obvious one. Tutoring can bring in decent cash. You already have the connections through school, so marketing your tutoring business (and building a customer base) can be fairly easy – especially if you let parents know you offer tutoring a few weeks before vacations start. Of course, this is also something that can be carried on throughout the school year as well.
With tutoring, just be careful with local laws and policies. For example, within the past 12 months of the time of this writing, in China a very stringent law was passed prohibiting tutoring from taking place during designated school holidays. This is a law at the national level. In other countries, such as the U.S., national laws are freer with regards to tutoring school children; however, some places – particularly local counties, towns, cities, and individual school districts or individual schools themselves – can have some very, very strict policies against tutoring any students! As an international educator, I have worked in places and schools in different parts of the globe under all sorts of different tutoring policies – from very strict Absolutely no tutoring of any kind allowed! policies, to the complete opposite end of the spectrum of We [the school] encourage tutoring and even open our own on-campus school library up to our own employees (teachers) so they can privately tutor on campus for-pay after school hours, as long as they are not tutoring their own students in their own subject matter! and everything in between. My only point here is: be dead-ass certain of the tutoring laws and policies in the jurisdiction you are operating in before you start advertising your services as a tutor! There may be no or relatively few limitations in place – there may be a ship load's worth and a tutoring side biz may not be viable or worth it at all! Know before you get started!
On a final note regarding tutoring: be ethical. Whether or not the laws are free and open or tight and restrictive, I feel that as an educator myself I have to put this plug in here: never tutor your own students for pay in your own subject matter no matter if the law says it is ok or not. Even if laws and policies (or lack thereof) do allow for it, it is wrong! And I can almost guarantee you that you will never find a place in the world where this is actually legal or within school policy to do. Even in the freest, most liberal jurisdictions I have taught in with regards to tutoring laws and policies, a teacher tutoring his or her own students for pay in the subject matter he or she teaches is always something that I have found to be forbidden.
If you enjoy working with young children, you can work a few hours each week babysitting. Your hourly pay will be less than if you opt for tutoring, but you can still make some respectable money babysitting. As a parent myself, I know how hard it can be to find reliable, trustworthy babysitters. A (good) parent isn’t going to leave his/her kid(s) with just anyone!!! Being a licensed teacher – especially if your license is in Early Childhood or Elementary – does a lot to automatically bump up your reputation in the world of babysitting and give you an advantage of being able to get regular sitting jobs more easily.
Hold a vacation camp at a local park or even at your own home. Host a week-long camp – or even a 2, 3, or 4-dayer – and plan well-structured educational (and, of course, fun!) activities. Parents will love the break from their kids, especially knowing the kids will be well taken care of and they’ll be having a great time – and learning something, too!
It’s probably a good idea to give your camp some kind of theme – Art in the Park Summer Camp, Learn English with Teacher Dan Summer Camp, Science and Tech Dog Dayz with Ms. Lesmana, etc...you get the idea. It’s an easier sell that just Summer Camp or Winter Camp...what’s that? What kind of “Winter Camp?”
Speaking of “selling it,” this is also where legitimately having that “Certified Teacher” line item on your camp brochure will go a long way in boosting your public image and making the whole operation appear much more professional and worthy of paying for. After all, that’s what you want!
Again, this is one where you will want to look into local laws and ordinances before proceeding with it full speed ahead! The last thing you want to have happen is to have seven or eight (or more) parents all dropping their kids off and picking them up at your house everyday around the same time and getting a call placed to the code enforcer’s office on the second or third day of a week-long camp you have planned by a grumpy neighbor because you are breaking some kind of ordinance regarding traffic flow and off-street parking in your “quiet residential neighborhood” which is understood to be “for quiet enjoyment within reason, but generally reserved for non-commercial use unless a specific variance is applied for and approved.” I put those items in quotes because I have looked into this in my hometown and I know how the city zoning code reads! Neighbors can be great – the grumpy ones can also be your worst nightmare! If you live out in the country on a farm or some kind of acreage, this is an easy one – you have plenty of off-street parking on private land already, plenty of space to plan activities and for kids to scream and run around in, and probably not any neighbors (or not any neighbors close enough who will be bothered by a group of kids running around on your farm, at least), but you might have other laws and policies to be aware in such a case. Or maybe not. The point is: be sure to check the laws and ordinances of the jurisdiction you are operating in well in advance so you know exactly what you’ll be up against in this realm!
4. Online Auctions and Marketplaces
Take the opportunity with some time off from your “day job” at school to list all your extra treasures on eBay or Amazon, to name the two “big box” players (there are numerous online auction and marketplace sites these days), or even Craigslist or other local "Garage Sale/Flea Market" type groups in your area (if you’re ok with local-only sales). You’ll clean out your home of junk as well as bring in some well-deserved money. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even list other people’s items and take a percentage for the effort.
5. Garage Sales
Pretty much the same as the example of selling on Craigslist in #4 above, but you don’t list anything online...or maybe you do list one thing one online: you can post on Craigslist that you are having a Garage Sale and when it is. Be careful if you do such a thing, though, as this will mean listing your address (or at least some kind of detailed instructions for how to find your place) online.
The morning of your garage sale you can also put local signs up around your neighborhood on street corners saying you are having a Garage Sale, the date and times your sale will be operating, and how to get to the sale. Make sure you don’t cover up any local signs that are already there or place your sign anywhere that says “Stick No Bill” or “No Advertising.” Remember, you are trying to make an extra buck; the last thing you want is to get slapped with hefty fines for obstructing a city road sign, for example. In this same spirit, please also be sure to go back and COLLECT YOUR SIGNS once the Garage Sale is over! Though it’s been several years since I’ve done one, I’ve run a number of Garage Sales...put the signs out in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon! It’s a must! Yes, the city notices and cares, and is probably A.O.K. with you having a one or two-off Garage Sale (a "one-off Garage Sale" type of thing is generally fully legal in most jurisdictions), but they are most certainly not ok with you leaving your signs strew around the neighborhood for days or weeks after your sale is over! A polite gesture that could help to get you in the good graces of the city would even be to specifically spell out somewhere on the bottom (or somewhere else clearly) of your signs
This sign will be removed by:
Time: _____________ Date: ________________
The time should be sometime on the same day that the sale finishes. Then, of course, stick to what you have spelled out and remove the signs by or before this time!
Garage Sales can be great fun and they can bring in some decent side cash for what they are worth if you price your items to move and arrange things nicely (no “piles of junk” – not a good idea if you are actually trying to make some money!), but also don’t get carried away with Garage Saling. Many towns and cities have restrictions on how many times a year you may carry out a standard Garage Sale before you need to apply for a business license (and, more than likely, some kind of city variance if you plan to set up shop right in your home – which may or may not be approved – for such a permanent type of home sales operation). Good ol’ traditional Garage Saling is a classic American activity, and municipalities recognize that! In my hometown, for example, the city code states that you can legally hold six (6) Garage Sales on your residential property in one (1) calendar year.
6. Vacation Helper/Grounds Sitter
Yes, this is the traditional “House Sitter” job you always hear your mother-in-law talking about on the phone to Aunt Thelma, but as we all know this can – and very often does – extend beyond just “house” sitting. Hence, the broader term I have given it here. Many families go on vacation during the summer, winter and other school holiday times. They need reliable people to house sit, water plants, get the mail, turn lights on and off to make the place look ‘well watched over,’ fire the car(s) up once or twice a week the keep the batteries alive and fluids cycling, and sometimes pet-sit as well. You’d be providing a very valuable service with minimal to medium effort on your part, and the job can actually be kind of fun and relaxing, if you’re into this kind of thing (which I am!).
You could put some extra effort into this one and take care of all the grounds as well, such as mowing the grass in the summer time and running walk and driveway snow removal in the winter (if you live in such a climate). Grass mowing and snow removal are frequently jobs people/teams do in and of themselves! Of course, if you did these extra services you would charge more.
And speaking of charging, let’s be honest here, house sitting is not going to get you rich! I’ve done a number of House Sitting gigs, particularly back in my college days (and loved it!), but we are talking a US$ 100-200 week job IF you are lucky – maybe US$ 200-250 a week on the very high end if it is a large property and you are doing routine grounds maintenance type jobs (i.e. mowing the grass/snow removal) as well. Like a kitchen garden micro farmer who sells at the local farmer’s market, house sitting is either 1) an extremely professional job carried out at the corporate level by trained and vetted professionals with tons of insurance to their name, etc. (and still low paid). Or it’s done by you – the friendly neighborhood teacher who is in good with and trusted by the community already. I mean, they trust their kids with you!
These are just a few of the many ways you as an educator can make some extra money during your school breaks. In fact, as I sit here typing this sentence, three more ideas already come to mind, but we’ll save those (and more) for another day! These ideas here are just the tip of the iceberg, as previously stated; just some ideas to get you started. The two important take aways here are 1) that it does not necessarily have to take a large amount of cash to start your own sideline business and 2) you as an educator can run a part-time seasonal business while working a full-time job.
In terms of capital investment, all of the business ideas discussed here today can be started with very minimal initial capital investment and, with the exception of selling online and garage sales, very minimal materials (selling on online auctions and garage saleing are done with stuff you already have that you are trying to get rid of, at least that’s how I presented them here...you can do them other ways, but again, we’ll save that for another time). In terms of advertising, you can start with word of mouth (free) and free community bulletin boards (both online and offline) and take it from there. You can get a 100 pack of business cards printed for 10 or 15 bucks or less (a minimal investment in the long run) a pass them out to interested people.
In terms of the seasonality of these businesses, all the businesses discussed here today either fill a very specific need for a specific time of year (i.e. “Summer Camp” or “Spring Break Camp”) or can be both scaled and scheduled properly to run for a week or two or a month or two and then easily stop (or be scaled way back) when school comes back in session after vacation. For example, selling on online auctions is something you can do year-round, but as an educator you are most likely going to have more quality time to devote to this during school breaks. Hence, your school breaks can be when you really push high inventory through your account, and then during the school year you may just sell items online sporadically, if at all. Your eBay account will still be there next Christmas or Spring Break or Summer when you want to figuratively “dust it off” and start selling again.
Better life, better business, better you!
Ideas, inspiration, opportunity,
Andreas Philip Gross Enterprises
Andreas Philip Gross:
Washington State Certified K-8 Educator, K-12 International Education Consultant, Professional Coach, Proofreader/Editor, Affiliate Marketer, Popsicle Stick Crafter, Print-on-Demand Products Designer, and Webmaster
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