Many of our freelance writers and editors also teach in the classroom. Before working full-time at CSA, I was a classroom teacher who also freelanced for seven years. I often found out that many people assumed that educational content was always developed in-house by big brand companies. I, personally, had not heard about freelance writing and editing for math teachers until a colleague introduced it to me. She had young kids and used her income from writing to pay for child care. I started freelancing for supplemental income. However, in addition to helping me pay for my wedding, various home renovations, and day care for my kids, I found that freelance writing and editing also benefited my work in the classroom.
Learning About Different Types of Resources
One of the biggest benefits of freelancing as a teacher is the ability to learn about the products that different curriculum companies offer. Long before “virtual learning” was a household word, I worked on video scripts, interactive digital lessons, and digital assessment items. So, when we were bouncing back-and-forth between in-person, hybrid, and virtual learning, I felt like I had the experience necessary to create digital-based resources and ensure that my students were continuing to learn in a meaningful way.
Working in a Digital Platform
Teachers are now required to post assignments and instructions in their digital classrooms. As a freelancer, I quickly learned how frustrating it can be when instructions and feedback are not timely and clear. I learned different techniques for organizing resources and clarifying instructions and tried to implement these in my own classroom. Some of these practices include using standard file naming conventions for both files and titles of posts, using bookmarks in a digital document, providing templates for assignments, using digital comments for clarification/feedback, and using hyperlinks to other helpful resources. My students appreciated that it was easy to figure out what each document was for from its filename and that all of the resources needed for each assignment were easily accessible from a single document.
Connections in the Curriculum
Although I was a high school math teacher, I did a lot of writing for the elementary and middle grades. Working in these grades helped me to be a better high school teacher because I was constantly reminded of different strategies that students were taught in earlier math classes. I was able to find connections to these skills and use them to activate students’ prior knowledge. For example, in elementary school, students multiply two two-digit numbers using area models. In middle school, students learn to use an area model to multiply a monomial by a binomial. In high school, these concepts can be combined to make sense of multiplying binomials by binomials. Although we, as teachers, may know about these connections, it is easy to become stuck in teaching a single strategy. Writing helped to constantly remind me to think about different ways of presenting material to reach those students who really needed to see a topic in multiple ways.
Many teachers have multiple jobs to supplement their income. It wasn’t until the spring of my first year teaching that I realized I wasn’t going to get a paycheck all summer. A lot of my teacher friends waited tables, tutored, or sold products online. I found freelancing to be the most lucrative and the most flexible. I didn’t have to give up my summers to make ends meet. I was able to work where I wanted, when I wanted. I was even able to continue freelancing throughout the school year. I used the money I earned from freelancing to pay for child care, birthday and holiday gifts, and even unexpected household expenses.
Have you ever thought about freelancing with CSA Education? How will it help you improve your teaching methods and your lifestyle?