3 Teacher Money Making Opportunities Using Technology

A conversation with Jessica Gordon on episode 87 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Jessica Gordon @1337teach shares three ways teachers can use technology to make money this summer (or anytime.) We talk about some ethical considerations and opportunities.

teacher money making opportunities

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In today’s show, Jessica Gordon talks about three ways she makes money as a teacher during the summer:

  • Teachers Pay Teachers
  • A new way ELL teachers can tutor language online
  • The new service many are discussing
  • How to get started
  • Deciding what to do first

I hope you enjoy this episode with Jessica Gordon!

Want to hear another episode on technology tools to try? Listen to Jennifer Gonzalez talk about 5 Tech tools to try in 2017.

Selected Links from this Episode

3 Sites We Discussed Where Teachers Can Make Money

So, today, she taught us about Teachers Pay Teachers, Patreon, and 51Talk, so I’ve signed up for Patreon this afternoon. (This is one reason this blog post was late!)

Full Bio As Submitted

Jessica GordonJessica Ratliff-Gordon - YmP7_fGu_400x400 (1)

Jessica Ratliff-Gordon is an elementary educator, author, and doctoral student at Northcentral University. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she began her teaching career at Buder Elementary within the St. Louis Public School District. Currently, she serves as a sixth-grade geography teacher for the Poplar Bluff School District as well as a Project Manager for Hilton Publishing.

For more information about the author and her current publications follow her on Twitter @1337teach, Goodreads, or search for seller “1337 Teacher” on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Transcript for this episode


[Recording starts 0:00:00]

At the end of the show, I’ll give you a discount code to use on the Coolcat Teacher store.

Three teacher money-making opportunities using technology. Episode 87.

The Ten-minute Teacher podcast with Vicki Davis. Every weekday you’ll learn powerful, practical ways to be a more remarkable teacher today.

VICKI:          So teachers in the Northern hemisphere, we’re getting close to summer and you know some teacher might want to earn some money on the side or use that as a time to kind of look at some other opportunities. Now, I do have to add one caveat, I know that my friend Lisa Neilsen @InnovativeEdu and I were talking about this one time and she said, you know, “Teachers can work as a bartender in New York, but they can’t do Teachers Pay Teachers.”

And that makes no sense to me [Vicki] at all. But you have to follow the laws and the rules of your district and your school to make sure you check this out for anything that you do.

So we have Jessica Ratliff-Gordon @1337teach

with us and she has done a previous episode with us on game-based learning that was awesome. But Jessica, you’ve got three different ways that you have tried out that you’re investigating to kind of have opportunities on the side to teach. Tell us about your first way.

JESSICA:      Like me, or at times, there are ways that teachers want to supplement their income. The first way that I’ve looked into doing that is through Teacher Pay Teachers. http://ift.tt/2rC9WpS (note: this is my referral link, if you sign up, I will receive a small commission. If you do not wish to support the podcast in this way, just go to the site directly.)

Teachers Pay Teachers is an awesome way for teachers to make additional funds. They are things you do all the time. You know, innovative lesson plans, task cards that you’ve created to gear towards your student’s interests that could be something that another teacher would really love to have.

So I have a lot of your task cards and things online that sell pretty well. So over time, it’s pretty steady so that you might make a certain amount of money each month. And a lot of times you can have sales that increase your sales or over the summer – a lot of time people over the summer are buying more resources for the upcoming school year.


                    So summer is a great time to add new things to Teachers Pay Teachers store because that’s when everybody is when everybody is looking for things, looking for things to revamp their curriculum going into the next school year.

VICKI:          Now, last summer was when I got started on Teachers Pay Teachers. My friend Angela Watson https://twitter.com/Angela_Watson and my friend Laura Candler https://twitter.com/LauraCandler told me about it. And they have so many beginner’s resources for getting started. And believe or not, you can buy some thoughts, and you can use PowerPoint to make a lot of the handouts. I know for me, I just kind of make it at home and not as much at school so that I don’t get in trouble, okay, this is something I made in my classroom. But again, follow your guidelines. So, Jessica, what’s your next idea?

JESSICA:      My next idea is something new that I’ve just started and that s online ESL tutoring. And there’s different companies that partner with U.S companies; they partner with Chinese companies or companies overseas. Currently, I’m with 51Talk http://ift.tt/2sbjzJ6, and then there’s other companies lie VAIP Student. And what they do is it’s just like using Skype, if you know how to use Skype and you are familiar with using things like smart boards you would be great at it. And you make your own hours, they hook you up with students that are Chinese students wanting to learn English, and it could be kids that are in pre-school age all the way up through – sometimes even adults or high school students that are needing help.

Some lessons, you know, you’re walking them through common core live lessons and then other times they just sign up to talk to you, they just want somebody to practice having conversational English with them. And so that’s something that you could do pretty easily. Companies are really looking – especially 51Talk, they have a big push for people to sign up.

VICKI:          So you don’t have to know Chinese to do this.

JESSICA:      No. In fact, they tell you when you start that if you know Chinese, not to use it because when kids know that you know Chinese, it’s less of an immersive thing. They want you to only use a lot of whole brain teaching; they call it TPR.


                    Use a lot of whole brain strategies. So you’re using only English and whole brain strategies so there’s a lot of emotions, a lot of facial expressions, pointing, using symbols to get across to them what certain words mean. And the kids really enjoy it. In fact, most students are going to be Chinese students – students that are from places where education is really highly valued, and they appreciate you, they will beg for another lesson. And you have a really good feeling after you’ve thought those lessons because kids are really excited to work with you.

VICKI:          Okay. So this third one is one I’ve been considering this summer and even doing with the podcast. So tell us about your third idea.

JESSICA:      My third idea – I actually have a friend who’s a doctor, and he told me about Patreon. http://ift.tt/2rC9WWU  Patreon is an online service, it is free to sign up, and it’s a way for you to offer things that you’ve created that other people might like, but in a way, that’s different than Teachers Pay Teachers. So for instance, on Teachers Pay Teachers, if I put products on there, I price them all individually, people buy what they want, it’s kind of a cafeteria type thing. On Patreon, I would have a page. So on your page, you could post task cards you make, lesson plans you make. And if somebody becomes a patron of you, they could then access all of those downloads or all of those posts that you make.

So if I were posting new resources every week and someone wanted to say, pay a dollar a month to be a patron me then that means they would get access to every single thing that I ever put on Patreon. If you signed up for it for just a couple of months, you could download everything that I have on my page, and that’s going to come out to be a lot cheaper than buying even a couple of other things from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  It seems like it’s a really good deal, it’s a newer thing, and so I’m hoping it really catches on because I think a lot of teachers, especially teachers that have really quality things are on sites like Teachers Pay Teachers could benefit from Patreon.


VICKI:          I know. And I’ve seen it a lot in podcast where people have a podcast and they have Patreon supports but they have a few extra bonus shows and things, and so I’m actually debating doing that because sometimes I have longer content, maybe longer than 10 minutes – 10 minutes is so fast – that I could put. So I’ve really been debating, and I’m intrigued.

Now, Jessica, you know there’s some teachers who think it’s a terrible thing for teachers to be making money on the side. But the again they complain that teachers don’t make enough. So I don’t really know that I understand the thought that teachers shouldn’t take advantage of these opportunities. What are your thoughts?

JESSICA:      Right. And I’ve heard that debate, in fact, I heard on the news the other day where in some places it’s that idea of intellectual property. If I make something because I had an idea at school or if I make something based off something I’m teaching, does that not belong to the school? The only argument I have to that is if people weren’t wanting teachers to make extra money through things like Patreon or Teachers Pay Teachers then we really need to look at how we are compensating our teachers and see what resources they are and compensate them adequately.

Because I feel like if teachers earned the amount of money based on what they were creating and the innovation that they were coming up with I really think they probably wouldn’t need Teachers Pay Teachers or Patreaon. So I just think because we’re in a country where teachers aren’t paid very well we have to – you know, teachers are very resourceful. We have to think of ways to help ourselves especially for people that have growing families that need additional support that teaching doesn’t always give you.

VICKI:          Yeah. Well, the way I view it is if I can do something to create– I’m a better classroom teacher because I’m a teacherpreneur who does podcasting and blogging. When I started teaching, I told them I’d have to keep my business, and I did website hosting and computer fixing. But once I figured out teaching can be my hobby and I could help pay for the kids to go to college, it’s like I’m such a better teacher because of it.


                    And I guess in some ways – I know some people think capitalism is a bad word but I think that if you give people incentive, they’re going to be better in-classroom teachers. Now there is a line that you can’t cross. Like, you can use your students to sell stuff – you know, there’s lines, there are ethical lines that we need to talk about.  But personally, I think that saying, “teachers don’t make enough” but then saying “teachers, you belong to us, we own you” is like talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Jessica, how should somebody get started, real quick?

JESSICA:      I would start with Teachers Pay Teachers. What did last summer is I sat down, and on Teachers Pay Teachers you can actually look through the top sellers and I looked at what is selling the most, what are people wanting, what are things people are dying to have and then I also wanted to make something that even nobody wants what I put out there, something that I could use for my classroom.

So the things I make tend to be a mixture of things that are marketable and things that I would use in a social studies lesson. And so really if you work on that this summer you’ll be making things that; one, are going to revamp your curriculum and give yourself more resources that you’ve made and then also have things sitting there just accumulating additional income for you over the years. Because once you put it on Teachers Pay Teachers, it’s there forever. So I could still be making a few dollars off these task cards every month till people don’t want task cards anymore.

VICKI:          Be a remarkable teacher, and if this is an option for you we’ve just given you three ideas from Jessica Ratliff-Gordon that you can use to perhaps earn some money on the side as a teacher. Thank you so much for listening and get out there and be remarkable.

Check out my store at store.coolcatteacher.com. If you use the code remarkable, you can a 20% discount on my productivity books and forms, substitute teacher manual, lesson plans, video tutorials and all the things that I have on there. Or you could also check out my store on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at http://ift.tt/2quX4Nu. Never stop learning.


[End of Audio 0:10:23]


[Transcription created by tranzify.com. Some additional editing has been done to add grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Every attempt has been made to correct spelling. For permissions, please email lisa@coolcatteacher.com]


The post 3 Teacher Money Making Opportunities Using Technology appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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