*Today’s blog is a guest post by Emily Gillain, a 3rd grade teacher.

We all know that teachers often have jobs on the side to make extra money. You may hear this referred to as the “Side Hustle”. It’s a trendy name for what many of us are doing to supplement our main source of income. They’re also a persistent source of joy and frustration for most educators. Why? Well, let me take a moment to get on my soapbox.

Ideally, a teacher’s main income would be enough to support their life without the side gig. The need for this additional income is one of the biggest weaknesses in our education systems. Our society truly should value teachers enough to pay them adequately. We feel conflicted about pursuing another career or making sacrifices to stay in a profession we care so deeply about. 

However, despite these drawbacks, I’ve seen how this side hustle culture has pushed education into new and exciting frontiers. As someone with a side hustle myself, I became very interested in this community, especially the teachers who have built businesses that focus on their passions within education.

After the Bell Rings

The deeper I dive into the unique “Side Hustles” our teachers are starting, the more proud I am of our incredible teaching community. My belief that teachers are creative, intelligent, and resourceful is reinforced by their zesty business ventures. They are writing books, organizing parent education, selling teacher swag on etsy, crafting lessons to share with other teachers, starting YouTube channels and the list goes on.

Several teachers have even partnered with education nonprofits like the Van Andel Education Institute to create supportive tools for project-based learning. For example, Blue Apple Projects are a series of project-based learning units which help students learn while making a positive impact in their community. Each project was authored by a teacher, and they receive a small commission with each project sold. The bold moves these teachers decided to make will leave a footprint on education and inspire others to begin their journey as well.

Get Started

I am not an expert at entrepreneurship. However, I am highly invested in creating innovation in education and building my legacy. I think about my future a lot and the family that I will one day have. That said, this passion and drive was enough to push me to get going. 

After I decided to “DO IT” I quickly established my support system of people who help me stay on track; my partner, my parents, my friends. Identify these people who will support you and talk to them about your project. Let them see your passion and help them understand your motivation.

Call To Action

I started building my business in true Design Thinking fashion, by identifying a problem in education that I am passionate about. The problem: Teachers are underrepresented on our screens in positive and constructive ways.

This one statement led me to now hosting a YouTube show, Playing Games With Teachers. I am having so much fun, learning a lot and getting closer every day to finding answers and making my business stronger. And in the process, I’m playing a small role in showing the world the great work that teachers do — an important part of helping the job gain the respect it deserves.

I challenge you to be the self-starter we teach our students to be. Let’s continue to show what educators are capable of and raise the value of this profession!

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