Teaching adult classes could make you some extra money

Sharing Your Skills

by Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L


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Everyone has something they do well. Sometimes it's a job-related skill, such as editing or record keeping, or a hobby that others find intriguing, like woodcarving or vegetarian cooking. Teaching's a great way to stretch your dollar, while helping others and expanding your skills. There may be local places where you can share your expertise. An advanced college degree often isn't required for teaching adult classes; keep an open mind to the possibilities.

Unlike traditional employment in education where a job opening exists and applicants vie for a position, with special interest classes, if you want to teach, you create the idea and write a proposal. It's reviewed by a committee and hopefully accepted.

Teaching adult classes is fun and casual. Instructors are not bound to the same conformity as in public schools. Several places might welcome your proposed class.

1. Put your prowess at the Park District.

Your park district may offer an array of special interest classes for adults or children. Peruse their online class listing and consider an appropriate topic that you could teach for that venue, such as bicycle maintenance or kick-boxing. You may be amazed at the wide variety of park district offerings.

2. Adult education programs need adult educators.

The school system may offer specific classes for adult learners with special interests, such as creative writing or conversational Spanish. You have the advantage of classrooms and media you might require such as computers, DVD player, LCD projector, or screen, as these are often evening classes at your community high school.

3. Churches and temples need teachers for children and adults.

Though you won't get paid monetarily, you'll have the opportunity to expand your skills. Teach genealogy, Ellis Island immigration, or religious music classes to adults or children in Sunday School. What a terrific way to become a more integral part of your religious community while learning and sharing with others!

4. Fitness or recreation centers offer a variety of classes, too.

Teach an aerobics class or nutrition basics at your gym. Whether your class is an active exercise session or an instructional class on developing healthier habits, your skill and experience is needed. Talk to the director to learn which classes are requested.

5. Community colleges choose part-time staff for special courses.

Community colleges like to employ part-time teachers; they don't have to pay benefits. It's a win-win-win deal for the teacher, students and for the college. Check out their needs for part-time employment. You might have adequate credentials to teach basic algebra or rhetoric, for example.

6. Kids programs need experts for teaching.

Your community may have a cultural arts or sports center for children. It's a great place for you to teach classes, such as drawing, pet care or babysitting essentials. Find out how you can get involved in teaching kids. Most places where you work directly with children require a background check; this usually involves some paperwork and fingerprinting.

7. Kids' summer day camp needs instructors for a wide variety of daily activities.

Summer day camps offer diverse activities daily for all aged campers. It's a great opportunity for you to teach nature, arts and crafts, or tennis. Learn what activities need instructors.

Checklist to get started teaching adult classes:

  • You have an idea of a class you want to teach; you know of a setting that would be appropriate.

  • Look through the listings of this setting. See if your class is already offered and if it would be appropriate for that setting.

  • Contact their program director with your class idea. If they're not interested, ask what classes are requested. You might be able to modify your idea, or simply teach a completely different topic. Find out what they need you to do to get started.

  • Write a proposal. Most of this information will be used verbatim in the course offerings, so choose each word carefully. Create a catchy title. Write a short biography about you with only relevant information. Write a short class synopsis. Include an outline or syllabus.

  • You'll also need to determine if your class will be one time, several sessions, or all semester? Check your calendar. Select dates and times for offering your class. Will it be weekday, weekend or evening?

  • You might be asked to determine minimum and maximum students you want in class, specific needs for supplies and classroom set-up, such as if you need desks or tables, computer or screen for slide show, or other specific audio- visuals.

  • Though people are trying to "go green," most adult students enjoy receiving "how-to" handouts. Prepare something that'll be useful to students after class has ended.

Teaching adult classes may be a new experience. You'll be wonderfully surprised how satisfying it can be. Get started today.


Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine and has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on Amazon.com (kindle). Learn more about her at DebraKarplus.blogspot.com.

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