Raise your hand if anyone ever told you that teachers don’t make money.

 In fact, lots of people, teachers included, love to talk about how broke teachers are.

Not that it’s not true, but all this broke talk makes it really easy for teachers to just accept being broke and even feel guilty for wanting to make money. It also makes it really easy for schools to take advantage of teachers’ willingness to work for pennies (or a couple slices of cold pizza).

Whether it’s chaperoning a dance, or running the dunk tank at the spring carnival, or serving on numerous pointless committees, we do it. For free. For the kids.

There was a post in another teacher’s group in which someone said she got paid $8 an hour for summer PD work. $8 an hour! That’s less than minimum wage for people with degrees, often times Master’s degrees and extensive additional training.

“Don’t be misled into thinking you shouldn’t want more in your life: more money, more joy, more success and more love.” – Terri Maxwell

Of course, money isn’t the only thing teachers want, right?

This is hard to say for many of us, but we want to be more than teachers.

There’s a myth abroad in the land that because teaching is a calling for so many, that it should be enough. Being an educator should be all that we need, and to need or want anything more for ourselves is selfish.

Spoiler alert: it’s not!

This is something I’m working on in my own life right now, so , if you’ll indulge me, I want to tell you a story:

A few weeks ago I was talking with my therapist (I am a life-long therapy goer, and think it should be required for all people who deal with other people. But I digress…) and we were talking about a particular situation I was facing. After talking out what had happened, my doctor turned and said, “Now I’d like to spend a minute talking about why it’s so hard for you to ask for what you need or want.”

I immediately started crying.

And that, my friend, was progress.


Teachers, like others in the caregiving professions, are great at helping others get what they want and need, but when it comes to themselves… not so much.

Here’s the thing; I can tell you that having a side hustle has made me a better teacher. It has.

I can tell you that relieving the financial stress from my bank account has made me happier and better equipped to deal with my students. Yup.

I can tell you that breaking the all-education-all-the-time mindset has made me more effective educator, that I come to the classroom fresher and more rested. Also true.

But the fact is, none of that matters.

Because I don’t need to justify my side hustle with educational benefits. And neither do you.

You are allowed to do something just because you want to.

I’ll say that again because it’s super important. You are allowed to do something just because you want to.

Whether you want to start a business so that you can invest in a home, or your kids’ education, or you want to take a big fancy vacation, it’s okay.

If you want to sell your crafts because you enjoy making them and want to share that with others, it’s okay.

If you want to do something that forces you to interact with other grown-ups, or you want to participate in a world where you don’t have to tell people not to lick the walls, or you like learning new things but your brain is full of all things teachery… it’s okay.

Why do you want to start a business? Really dig deep into what’s motivating you to do the work. I won’t make you answer the question my doctor asked me, though you can go there if you want to, but I will tell you that it’s okay if you cry while doing this.