Educators Outside the Classroom

By: Jourdan Batson

While you may think teachers live in the classroom, the truth is, many teachers have second jobs. I had the opportunity to talk to 3 teachers with different jobs and different reasons for having them. 

It may be rare, but there are some teachers who have a second job within their favorite activity during their time away from the school. Simuka Dittmer, who was an ASL teacher at Jenks up until last year, when she left to continue interpretation. American Sign Language teacher here at Jenks works at a bike shop. 

Here Dittmer can be seen at T-Town Bikes doing her daily work on the computer

“I rode my bike by the store every day and they offered me a job,” said Dittmer. “I told them I could only offer them 3 hours each week and the discount was 70% so I took it.” 

 She has since switched shops, working at T Town Bikes now! Dittmer is a hardcore athlete and trains around 15 hours every week! She has run two and a half Iron Mans, wakes up at 5 am every day, and bikes an average of 100+ miles every week. During the school year, she would wake up around 5 am to train, get to school around 8:45, leave right after school to train more before going home.

“If people ever wanted to hang out with me, it always had to be a meal,” said Dittmer. “We had to get coffee or lunch or dinner because I quite literally had zero free time.”

Simuka really enjoys athletics but admitted teaching, working, and training took a toll on her personal relationships with friends and her school work. If she did get a day off during the weekend, she would have to spend them at home making sure her assignments were all graded. 

Stephanie Casillas, one of the FCCLA advisors here at JHS got a second job at Homegoods to help pay for her wedding from November 2020 through May 2021.

“The wedding of my dreams cost a little more than we were making and could afford,” said Casillas. “So I got a second job to help pay for those expenses.”

Casillas said that keeping up with both jobs was very overwhelming, switching back and forth from working, wedding planning, grading, and keeping up with her social life.  She also expressed gratitude to her family for being so wonderful during this time in her life–they would help her with laundry, cooking dinner, and household chores so she had more time to relax in her free time. Though she was able to spend lots of time with her family, it still was hard to keep up with her friends.

“I had to miss a lot of birthday celebrations and events with my friends,” said Casillas. 

Finally, Casillas had the wedding of her dreams, and now she has more time to attend events. Even when she didn’t have much time to get out and celebrate, she still had a few hours of personal time before she went to bed every night. 

However, not all teachers have a second job specifically for additional income. Amy Sunday, a math teacher at the Freshman Academy, offers to tutor students for extra math help. 

Sunday tutoring one of her freshman students in Algebra

“I always hated watching kids struggle with math since I never did,” said Sunday. “When I became a teacher I knew I wanted to be able to help more kids outside of my classroom.”

Sunday says she also likes tutoring because it gives her the opportunities to work on math she doesn’t teach like geometry and it’s a nice challenge. 

“I don’t necessarily need to be paid more,” said Sunday. “but I don’t think people see the value in education or what I do.”

When asked about how many teachers she knows with second jobs, she responded half of the teachers she knows or works with have either a second job within a business, tutoring, or selling things on the side. Although she doesn’t have as much free time as she did prior to tutoring, she still has enough to go see movies on the weekends and vacation with her husband. 

These are three very different teachers, but one thing they all had in common was that they each knew many other teachers with side jobs. So before you hassle that teacher who doesn’t have your grade in yet, just keep in mind how much they have going on beyond the classroom.

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