A teaching certificate is a proud achievement that comes from years of study. But a certificate doesn't always lead to a full-time job when life interferes. Staying at home because of children, health, layoffs or a lack of transportation is a not-uncommon situation for educators today. An online job grading essays or other student work puts a certificate to use but allows you to work remotely from a home office. Usually, these jobs are not widely advertised, but you can find one if you know where to look. A teaching certificate and related experience are qualifications sought by many standardized testing companies and online schools.
If you are proficient in English and have a teaching certificate or degree in a humanities or social sciences discipline, you can make money assessing student writing. You'll be looking at essays written as part of the ACT, SAT and GRE exams. These short essays are uploaded into secure databases accessible only by qualified individuals hired to score them. To apply, visit the website of any company that operates a standardized test. Examples include the Educational Testing Service, Pearson and Kaplan. You will likely be asked for transcripts and references, and must pass an exam yourself in order to qualify. The company may run a background check or ask you to verify your identity with a notary public.
Essay Scoring Tasks
Scorers usually work alone at home, reading essays and assigning them numerical grades guided by a rubric. The graders sometimes work in teams headed by a leader to consult when questions arise. Breaks are scheduled by the company along with training and other resources, but many essay scorers find the job to be lonely and monotonous. Imagine reading 200 or more explanations on why inventiveness is more important than obedience and you get a sense of the typical eight-hour shift. Some would say the tedious nature of the job is balanced by the advantages of working at home: no dress code, no cubicle and no boss is a good trade-off for a few hours of brain drain.
Online schools at all levels of learning are valid alternatives to brick-and-mortar institutions. Educators work online teaching, tutoring and grading. These jobs are harder to find than essay reading, but they are out there. Look first at your own school district. If you are a certificate holder, you could be eligible to either teach an online class or help another teacher grade student work. You might also find work at private online high schools or open-access schools like Udemy. Although it may seem counterintuitive, searching your local classifieds ads might be the best way to find work as an online educator, especially if you teach grades K through 12. As with any position in education, you will need to show your transcripts and provide references to take on this job.
Teaching Assistant Tasks
As a teaching assistant in an online school, you will help ease a teacher's load by grading papers and homework. The grading criteria is set either by the teacher or the school's standard criteria. It's likely you will conduct the grading in a digital learning environment such as Blackboard, Canvas or Turnitin.com. If you went into teaching because you love kids, the lack of real interaction with them might subtract from the experience. However, an online grading job doesn't require pantyhose, make-up, early mornings or parent-teacher conferences. So lean back and enjoy that coffee; in spite of 200 geometry exams in the queue, you have peace.
Amy Stanbrough is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "Bust," "Woman's World," "Southern Exposure" and many other publications. Stanbrough holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University.