Hello, teachers interested in building a side gig. Here's an interesting story about Vasiliki Baskos — she left her teaching job to start Learn Greek Online.
Your Side Gig?
I quit my full time teaching position in public schools and started Learn Greek Online. We teach modern Greek language to children and adults all over the world. The lessons are done through Skype, and we use an online whiteboard so that the teaching experience is almost the same as being in the same room with the student.
Tell us a little about your work.
I usually teach from the office. However, early in the morning and late at night I may do it from home. The nature of online lessons allows me to teach even if I am on a business trip or even on vacation. Other teachers of Greek often ask me for advice related to teaching Greek as a second language. Some of them have come to work with me.
What led you to work outside the classroom?
I always liked teaching Greek as a foreign language. The economic crisis in Greece made finding conventional teaching jobs increasingly difficult. So I decided to get more involved in teaching online and turn it into a full-time job and business.
What advice do you have for other teachers who want to do what you do?
Like anything entrepreneurial, do it only if you feel really excited about it. It is a relatively new trend in teaching, however, the competition is already high. Do not settle for the traditional textbooks. You need to research the newest ways and tools for teaching, make the lesson super engaging, and personalized to the student you have in front of you. Find a good technician to partner with. The technological part is essential for any online business.
What's the biggest mistake you've made and what did you learn?
I was afraid to voice my opinion. I was placing too much value on others and their opinion of me.
If you could go back and give your 20-year old self some advice, what would it be?
Brake the chains! At the age of 20, many people are following their parents’ dreams, not their own.
If your FUTURE self in 20 years could look back at where you are today, what advice might the Future You offer the Current You?
Don’t work so hard, life is too short.
Which resources do you rely on the most?
I read a lot, especially anything related to psychology. It helps me deal with clients and family.
When are you the happiest?
When my kids give me a thousand kisses.
Do you have a favorite quote or expression?
“ουδέν κακόν αμιγές καλού” which means: Even if something appears to be very bad, there is always something positive in it.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do, be, or try?
I would have started my Greek language online school 5 years earlier.
What are the 2-3 most important work-related purchases you've made in the last year?
I attended the Polyglot Conference last year in Thessaloniki-Greece.
You're being shot at dawn; what's your last dinner request?
Something simple, like bean soup, cooked by my granddaughter when she turns 21.
This teacher profile is part of SimpleK12's Extra Teacher Income series, where we interview educators about the things they're doing outside of the classroom, for both enjoyment and also a little bit of cash. To read more in this series go here, or to suggest your own story and a possible profile, go here.
If you have any questions for Vasiliki, or anything else related to this topic (and there will be more extra teacher income profiles and stories coming soon), please leave them below in the Comments.
For a different extra teacher income story, check on what Heather Brandon (blogging and educational consulting) is up to.
Or, follow along with full-time college prof, Dustin York, and his many side gigs.