Published 31st January 2019


Teaching English as a Foreign Language is one of the most rewarding jobs. Being able to teach people to speak a foreign language which will help them in their personal and professional lives is very satisfying. At the same time, it might not be as lucrative as you may hope. To be sure there are jobs where you can earn a great salary with amazing benefits (South Korea) or earn a good salary in a location where the cost of living is low (Thailand). However, you may find yourself in a position where you are not earning enough as an EFL teacher to pay off your debt back home or you may find yourself spending all your hard-earned cash on making new memories.

If you’re struggling to find two pennies to rub together but you’re living a dream you don’t want to give up, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

Seven ways you can earn money as an English as a Foreign Language teacher that don’t involve teaching.

  1. Developing materials

Are you one of those teachers that enjoy coming up with fun new ways to teach the present perfect, or making your own worksheets? Why not do that for money? There are many ELT publishers or EFL language schools that will hire you to develop in-house materials, or you can sell your creations online.

  1. Writing

If you are an English teacher you should have a solid grasp of the English language. You should be able to write pretty well. Even if you don’t have any experience writing, it’s easy to get experience. You can earn money as a freelance writer and write blog posts, online articles and website content. You don’t have to be restricted to ELT materials – you can write on any subject you are interested in.

  1. Proofreading

Similarly to writing, you can find work online as a freelance proofreader. Chances are you are good at spotting mistakes and errors in writing anyway, so why not earn some money for it?

  1. Being a social media manager

Social media is a big thing right now. Tweeting, Facebooking, Pinning, Instagramming – and don’t forget all the stories! – all take time. Many brands or companies don’t have the time to spend on social media. Because all you need is a good internet connection, why can’t you do it?

  1. Blogging

If you’ve embarked on a life-changing TEFL adventure, maybe you’ve started blogging about your teaching or travelling experiences. If you have, you should consider monetising your blog. You can earn income from ads or affiliate programmes or you can try get sponsorship for posts – all for doing something you love!

  1. Being a virtual assistant

As a teacher you’re probably organised, efficient and reliable. If you have some extra time on your hands, you can sign up to be a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant does exactly what it says they do – they assist someone virtually. Like a personal assistant, but virtual. You could be making phone calls, booking flights, responding to emails, data entry – whatever will make someone’s life a bit easier.

  1. Examining

If you have a fair amount of teaching experience, you can become an examiner. Examiners are hired by examining boards and trained to mark or invigilate EFL exams, such as IELTS and the Cambridge exams. Invigilating will be on-site but marking can be done online.

So even if teaching English as a Foreign Language is not turning out to be as lucrative as you thought, it’s probably just as exciting as you’d hoped. Don’t give up your adventure – rather try your hand at one of these side hustles to supplement your teaching dollars.