Is Teaching a Good Temp Job For Actors?
A Walk In The Park
Stagecoach, Razzamataz, Perform and a hundred other small, independent and chains of stage schools have thousands of young performers across the country taking acting, singing and dance classes every week…
And they all need teachers to teach them. Is it any wonder that Teaching Jobs Rank #1 In The Most Popular Temp Jobs For Actors.
It seems an obvious choice right? You’ve probably done some professional training in one or multiple of these skills, you might have even been to drama school for three years and maybe you’ve even got a CV full of professional credits.
Teaching kids should be a walk in the park right?
Or is it?
You’ve heard the saying – “Those who can’t do, teach”
Well in my experience this couldn’t be further from the truth.
I have spent countless hours teaching singing and acting at independent and chain stage schools covering shifts for friends of mine and my girlfriend Charlotte has been the Dance Teacher at a Stagecoach for a year, week in week out. I also spend hundreds of hours a month moderating job posts on my other website The Hustle Community the vast majority of which tends to be stage schools looking for last minute cover teachers.
So believe me when I say I have a bit of experience in this area and it’s not as much of a walk in the park as it might first appear.
But how well does it score in each of the 7 areas: Skill Required, Pay Rate, Earning Potential, Flexibility, Ease, Consistency & Wait Before Earning Money…
Lets find out.
Skill Required – Score 3/10
Remember the lower the score here the more skill required to get started. It scores higher the easier it is to do.
Teaching requires a pretty good amount of skill, above and beyond just being trained in the discipline you are teaching which is skill enough in itself, you also have to be skilled in your ability to manage quite young children which can be a nightmare and is pretty tough to blag.
You can get away with not being good with kids maybe once or twice but if you are a regular teacher at a school, not just a cover, then the principal will expect to see you managing the kids behavior pretty well, pretty quickly.
Added to that is the skill required to plan and execute a lesson in your subject suitable for the age group you are teaching; this is tough. Too difficult and your kids won’t be able to keep up and they will fee like they are failing and give up. But too easy and the kids will get bored and distracted.
Pay Rate (Hourly Average) – Score 7/10
The pay for teaching work is pretty decent, certainly at the top end of most temp jobs you can do. The larger chain stage schools will usually have a fixed fee that they pay across all their franchises and the smaller independent schools will try to get as close as they can to that rate so they don’t lose their teachers.
My personal feeling is that teachers are way under-valued and the average rate of pay, considering the amount of skill required should be much higher, which is part of the reason that I don’t do that sort of work any more unless it is private workshops which I can command a much higher fee.
To give you a ballpark – on The Hustle we do not allow any teaching posts to be published to the community that don’t pay a minimum of £25 per hour worked. This usually translates to somewhere in the region of £145 per day for 6 one hour classes at the major chain schools.
To put that in perspective – that’s almost 4 times the amount you will get as a basic rate working in a call center.
Earning Potential (Monthly) – Score 6/10
This is where it gets interesting, because of the relatively high hourly rate, you can end up taking home quite a substantial amount of dough despite the fact that you really can only hope to work two days a week on average in this kind of job.
If you are the permanent teacher at any of the franchise schools like this then you will usually work 6-8 hrs on a Saturday plus a few hours on both Friday afternoon and sometimes even a Thursday afternoon too if the franchise has its other extra schools up and running. But for the most part you will be looking at around £900 a month.
It’s not gonna break the bank any time soon but considering you have 5 of your days free doing this that’s a pretty good bargain I would say.
Flexibility – Score 4/10
This is where the problems start to arise.
In general there are two ways you can do this sort of work. As the permanent teacher, or as a cover, meaning you only work to fill in for someone who can’t make it.
If you are the permanent teacher then that’s a pretty committed ongoing responsibility you’ve got there. Principals really don’t like to be swapping teachers in and out all the time, and whilst they are usually OK with you getting a cover in if you can’t make it the odd time it really is not the kind of job you can just call up last minute with an audition and bunk off.
It is usually your responsibility to find yourself a cover if you cant make it and if you can’t find yourself a cover then only the really nice principals will find one for you.
Some schools even pay “Term Bonuses” if you attend all your classes (read: they punish you for missing any!)
Ease Of The Work – Score 4/10
Teaching work is not easy, mentally or physically. Most of the work I did was sitting down playing a guitar teaching kids to sing Michael Jackson and Katy Perry…
… and it was KNACKERING
You’ve gotta match your energy to the energy of the kids all day long to keep them enthused or you’ll lose them.
I can’t imagine the energy it would take to be teaching dance.
There are far easier jobs out there on you if you want something that is a little more mindless, clock in clock out kind of stuff.
There are lots of people who find this absolutely no problem.
I am not one of those people.
Consistency Of Work – Score 4/10
The flip side to the Earning Potential being so good is that the consistency tends to be mediocre with this kind of work.
If you’re a cover then every week you’re gonna have to prey one of your mates can’t be bothered to go in. That’s why it’s always important to be an AMAZING cover. Because the principals will remember you and think of you first as soon as any of their teachers can’t come in.
Most of my work was like this – I would go and do a random cover slot for a mate and they deliver so highly to the kids that the principals would get me back at any opportunity they could.
However that means that you might be looking at one day a week if you’re lucky for a stretch of a few weeks or maybe a whole term if you’re really lucky. But even if you are the full time teacher you have a ceiling there that you can’t even work 3 or 4 full days a week if you wanted to putting a pretty hard cap on the amount you can earn and ensuring you will need a second job if you want to have a bit of cash leftover at the end of the month.
Wait To Start Earning Money – Score 6/10
On the plus side it usually doesn’t take long to find this sort of work, there are even whole Facebook groups dedicated to finding cover and the pay schedule is usually pretty straight forward.
The way it has always worked for me was they pay on the same day each month and any work you did up to the week before pay day came in a lump sum that day. So if you ended up working cover shift the Saturday before a pay day you would get paid in less than a week.
Overall Score – 34/70
A middle of the road start here for Teaching work. A pretty good pay rate and earning potential hampered by a low skill score for quite difficult work.
Think carefully before jumping into this kind of work – it can be more trouble than it’s worth.