I Asked Teachers for Their Strangest Summer Jobs and This Is What They Said

Jul 22, 2019 12:00:00 AM


In my ideal world, summer would be a time for educators to relax and catch up with family and friends and culture, but that’s not economically feasible for many teachers. Instead of taking a vacation, many teachers wind up taking on a second job during their “downtime.”

So we asked teachers to tell us about their strangest summer gigs. 

Oakland educator Jumoke Hinton Hodge told the story of her father, Oscar, a “40-year educator,” who sold Oldsmobiles and worked at the Department of Motor Vehicles in the 1970s during his time off from school. 

Teacher Gary Gruber has taken some summers to do some farming, with—uh—some colorful language about what farmers do.


Anissia West, a former teacher, made some solid dough at the local track selling concessions. The money she made there should make us all think about what we’re paying teachers, though.


On second thought, perhaps West’s other summer job was even stranger.


If you’re in the Maryland area, chances are social studies teacher Brett Imamura has helped feed your family.


Instructional facilitator Tate Aldrich also has a background in food, but it almost certainly smelled worse than Imamura’s experience in a pizza joint.


Some of the teachers in my life have done plenty of similar things. 

My friend, Emily Temple, is a special education teacher in the St. Louis area. She’s had a couple of stints during breaks as a waitress at the American Girl (AG) Store. It led to some—er—awkward interactions.

“Strangest thing about working AG as a waitress was pretending that the child’s doll was treated as a customer,” she said. “You had to make sure that the doll had a cup and saucer as soon as everyone sat down, and the amount of food I cleaned up from the doll’s table spot was always absurd.” 

This Affects Students’ Learning

It’s a good thing to get some R&R. Period. Teaching is a demanding job. It’s such an overtime-laden job because, as teacher Shannon McLoud put it, teachers are often cramming about 250 days’ worth of work into the 180-day school year. 

So teachers need to recharge their batteries. Because it matters for their students that they are rested and ready to go when they get back to the classroom.

Take it from Education Post contributor (and kindergarten teacher) Melissa Bagneris, “Everyone knows you can’t pour from an empty cup.” 


Rob Samuelson

Rob Samuelson is a Staff Writer at Education Post and Digital Media Manager for the brightbeam network.

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