Teachers Making Extra Income But At What Cost?

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Everyone knows that teachers don’t get paid enough. Across the country, teachers are working endless hours for less money, being asked to do more than their job description, and mental health is at an all-time low among educators. So when the news headlines start reading “Teacher Fired for Running An ‘Only Fans” Page,” it’s no wonder teachers are turning to desperate measures just to keep the lights on. 

According to the National Education Association (NEA), “Even with record-level increases in some states, average teacher pay has failed to keep up with inflation over the past decade. Adjusted for inflation, on average, teachers are making 5% less than they did ten years ago”. Teachers’ wages are not adjusting to the ever-growing economic landscape of the times, forcing many teachers to find a second job to supplement their teaching salary. These “side hustles” can range from after school tutoring, picking up a few shifts at a local restaurant, or starting a business on platforms like Etsy or Thumbtack. Any of those seem like perfectly respectable jobs for teachers to do in their free time. However, when the occupation turns into posting photos on a subscription-members only platform with controversial content, teachers are losing their jobs because of it

I am not here to start a debate or cause an uproar; everyone will form their own opinion about this. However, I want to point out that most other professions do not penalize, criticize, or ostracize adults for their decisions and behavior outside of school hours. I realize there are exceptions to these generalizations, but I am trying to make a point: educators are held to the highest moral standard, and often, when educators make a poor decision on their own time outside of the classroom, their job is often caught in the crossfire. For example, I know several teachers who were either let go or not hired because they had a DUI on their driving record. While I agree entirely that driving while intoxicated in a poor choice in judgment, the incident happened outside of the school day, did not involve or endanger any children, and doesn’t directly affect their ability to do their job. Don’t get me wrong–the choice they made to drink and drive was a poorly thought-out notion and a serious lapse in clear, level-headed thinking. But in the corporate world, do employees receive the same consequence as teachers when they make poor choices “off the clock”? 

Recently, there have been multiple stories in the news headlines reporting teachers who are using the subscription website “OnlyFans” to supplement their teaching salary. Only Fans is “user-generated content under various topics and monetized via monthly subscriptions, tips, and pay-per-view. Creators are paid 80% of these fees”. The content might be photos, videos, role-play, or other topics chosen by the members. So the question is: should teachers lose their jobs for participating in these types of activities to help supplement their income? I would imagine that twenty or thirty years ago, before the internet age (think Ms. Davis, the health teacher from the movie “Varsity Blues”), plenty of teachers may have found themselves employed at gentlemen’s clubs to supplement their income. Is that any different than using OnlyFans?

There are two sides to this issue, and honestly, I am not sure if one side is “right” or “wrong.” From a parent’s perspective, should I worry about what my child’s teacher does outside school hours? Teachers are human and deserve a private life, too. But then, looking at the world of education and how many teachers are forced to supplement their income to make up for the low pay they receive, how can I blame them?

Teachers are tired. They do it all, but it’s still not enough. They are underappreciated, underpaid, overworked, and rarely treated like professionals (even though they all have professional degrees; some might have two or three). I can promise you that if they were not forced by such low wages to find a way to supplement their income, teachers would 100% be okay with only working their day job as educators.

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