There was a time when I was just starting out as an Art teacher. At that time, due to lack of experience and qualifications, I had to do freelance education work. At first I thought it would be just for a while till I get a full time job but it became a very good source of income.
Working just 3 hours a day for 4 weeks can bring in as much as $135  a day at $45 an hour. In a week you earn $675. In a month $2700. Most of the good freelance educators I know earns a minimum of $3000 a month. Not bad for a few hours work in a day. Plus you are not tied down to any company.

So why did I stop? Well I got bored and needed a new challenge. But if YOU are thinking of this line of work, here are somethings to consider before you jump the gun:

1) How disciplined are you with money?

Freelancing can give you substantial paydays but unlike a so called “stable job”, there will be months when you will have little to no income. How most freelancers tackle this is by working as much as they can during the good months and go on holidays or on courses for skill development during the dry months. If you are someone who can’t seem to control your spending yet, freelancing can be a bad mistake.

2) Can you teach?

Just because you can draw, does not mean that you can teach. Same goes with cooking, bicycle riding, snorkelling etc. Try asking a friend to be your student and teach them something. Then ask yourself if you were comfortable teaching and ask your friend to give you honest feedbacks. Get a friend whom you are not that close with. These type of friends tend to be more honest than close ones as close friends are afraid to hurt your feelings. if you feel uncomfortable or you get frustrated easily while teaching, then stay away from this profession. Its not worth it.

3) Is the subject/s you plan to teach in demand?

If you are in a part of the world where no one uses soy sauce, then it would be tough to get people to buy it or even learn how to make it. Instead, look at the current educational situation where you are at, the local ministry of education’s website would be a good start, and see what type of education is in trend. Look at the classified ads and see what kind tuition or courses are being advertised and also check out the local community centres. Those are great places to see what kind of courses people are looking to enrol in. Heck! You can even set up a class at the community centres!

4) Do you like to run around?

Freelancing can be very tiring because you are constantly on the move from one place to the next. For an hour of class, you would need to add at least an hour of travelling time. If you love air conditioning and being in a chair most of the time, a freelance educator’s job is not for you.

5) Are you already employed and plan to keep your job?

If your full time job is already a handful, being a freelance educator on top of that may not be a good idea. Once you are booked to teach, there are only a number of times that you can not turn up till you are basically fired. And when word gets around about it, your pie gets smaller. No one will trust you with a gig. And there is this other moonlighting issue which is a big no no for most companies.

6) Are you the punctual type?

Being late to teach a class is often times WORST than not turning up at all. The sight of a teacher rushing to class and frantically trying to get started leaves such a bad impression, you would lose the most important thing needed for teaching: the RESPECT of the students.

7) Are you a systematic person?

Teaching is breaking a subject down step by step and feeding it to your students one piece at a time. If you cant do that well, you would become ineffective. And that is not good. Its like being a hammer that can’t hit nails. Or a shovel that can’t dig dirt, or a turnip that… You get the idea.

8) Are you patient?

In a class of 40 students, its guaranteed that not all of them learn the same way. Everyone has their own speed and rate of absorbtion. Your job is to teach the students the way each of them learns. Its like cooking a dish for 40 people, 40 different ways to suit everyones tastes. In order to do this well, you need a ton of patience. And REMEMBER THIS: One child is cute. Two, adorable. Three, a handful. FORTY?? Run now!!

9) Are you an auditory person?

I did not understand this terminology when I first heard it but it basically means you are sensitive to sound. Why is this an issue? When you first start on your freelance educator’s journey, you don’t have a lot of choices. Meaning you would most probably have to teach at a school filled with lovely children. Lovely noisy children. Lovely noisy chatty hyper energetic always running around never stop talking or SCREAMING children. If you are easily bothered by noise, you might get desperate in class and see the 4th floor window as the only exit from your current situation. And the world would have lost another great freelance educator.

10) Do you even like to teach?

Teaching, whether full time or not, is a calling. It’s a gift that not many can hold on to. You must have some amount of selflessness in order to go through your day to day. If the pull you feel is from the money and freedom of time that you can have, then I’m sorry to say this but you might as well work in credit card sales or other forms of banking. Lots more money there. If you classify all the jobs in the world like how the military classifies its many arms of service, then honestly speaking, teaching is special operations. Every time you enter a class, the situation changes minute by minute. You can study at the best teacher’s college available but if you don’t have the built in ability to teach, you will never do well as an educator. And you would hate your work. That is not a situation to be in.

If after reading this you still decide that you want to teach, then welcome to the club. I have over a decade experience to date and I have to tell you, there is no career like it. Good luck!

Next week, I’ll list ways that you can have a fruitful freelance teaching career and earn as much income at the same time. So be sure to check back here and thanks for dropping by.

If you know someone who is thinking of doing freelance teaching, direct them here. It might help them.