How can I make extra cash when teaching English abroad?

In an ideal world all TEFL qualified teachers would have a full-time job that paid an excellent salary. However, in real life this is not always possible and there are times when you might need to top up your earnings. You could find you are only given classes to teach in the mornings or only three or four days a week, particularly at the start of your teaching career when you have little experience. At times like these that little bit extra from a casual source can make a big difference to your overall quality of life. So what are the best ways to make extra cash while teaching English abroad?

Teaching private lessons

Taking on one or more private students in your spare time is one of the most common ways for TEFL qualified teachers to make extra income while teaching English abroad. These lessons can be scheduled around your main job and can be conducted in the student's home or a local coffee shop, etc. How much you charge is down to you and the local market, but don’t sell yourself short as your students are getting one-to-one lessons with a professional teacher.

Teaching online

Another option that involves actual teaching is teaching English online. This is a good option if you like the convenience of working from home, although it is a different prospect from teaching in person and it can take some time to get used to. The best part about online teaching is you can often pick and choose exactly when you work and for how long. An online search will reveal dozens of potential online platforms to work for or you can join an open marketplace where students choose their teacher from many different options based on their price and previous feedback.

Also read: Which online English teaching platform pays most?


Many TEFL teachers write an online blog detailing their adventures teaching English overseas and some of these actually make money from hosting adverts or via affiliate programs. Your blog doesn’t have to be about your teaching career, it can be centered on anything you are interested in such as travel, beauty, health and wellbeing, etc. Once you have settled into your teaching job and your new community your everyday life might seem quite normal and mundane, but always remember that it will be of great interest to many other people around the world.

Developing materials

If you enjoy producing worksheets and other teaching materials for TEFL lessons or you like to come up with new ways to teach certain topics such as tenses or vocabulary, you could make some extra cash developing materials for use in the classroom. English teaching publishers and some individual language schools are willing to pay good money for new and original work. You can even sell your creations online.

Also read: Can I teach English abroad in my gap year?

Writing and proofreading

One thing that most TEFL qualified teachers have in common is a strong understanding of the English language which can be used to top up your existing income. There are countless opportunities for freelance writing to be found online covering a huge range of subjects, not just teaching English. You can get paid for writing blog posts, online articles, and website content, the possibilities are endless. Your English knowledge can also be utilized as a freelance proofreader as spotting spelling and grammar mistakes should be second nature after teaching for a while.

Au pairing

If you are living and working in a non-English speaking country there are sure to be opportunities for looking after children after school or on weekends. Many parents are happy to pay a qualified teacher a good amount of money to help their children with their English homework or simply to babysit for a few hours here and there. We would recommend completing a first aid course prior to heading overseas as this could make you even more attractive to potential employers.

Also read: How many hours do EFL teachers teach?

Virtual assistant

Most ESL teachers are well organized, efficient and reliable, which are exactly the right assets you need to be a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is the same as a normal personal assistant, except all the assisting is done virtually. Your duties might include replying to emails, data entry, making phone calls, booking flights, etc.


Teachers with a good amount of classroom experience might want to consider becoming an examiner. Examination boards hire TEFL qualified teachers to invigilate and/or mark exam papers sat by English language learners, such as the IELTS and the Cambridge suite of exams. Marking is typically done online, while invigilating will require attendance at a testing center.