Newsletter #159: Rich Teachers


Nobody becomes a teacher to get rich. But in many places across the country, the typical teacher’s salary does not eke out even a middle-class lifestyle. (It’s very possible some Highlighter subscribers understand this phenomenon firsthand.) As a result, as this week’s lead article explains, more teachers pursue side hustles to pay the bills. It turns out, some do very well.

Don’t forget that tonight is Highlighter Happy Hour #7! We’ll be meeting at Room 389 in Oakland beginning at 5:30 pm. If you’re advanced, read all of today’s articles beforehand, so you’re fully prepared! (Suggested reading time: 3 hours.) Get your ticket here.

Now let’s get to the articles: There’s something for everybody!

To Make Ends Meet, Teachers are Moonlighting As Instagram Influencers (and Making Money)

We’ve heard stories of teachers quitting their jobs to become bartenders or supplementing their income driving for Lyft. But why work when you can become YouTube- or Instagram-famous instead? The real trick, reporter Julia Reinstein finds, is to make your fortune on Teachers Pay Teachers, where you convince other teachers to spend their paltry salary on your merchandise. Or if you’re fancy, have Scholastic sponsor your classroom. After all, you can’t count on money coming from the state. (9 min)

What do you think? Is this practice inspiring, unethical, or sad? Let me know by hitting reply. Don’t want to type? Leave a voicemail instead.

+ BonusClick here to read this piece with my highlights and annotations!

Dropping Out of College Before Even Starting: Stopping Summer Melt

It’s one thing to get a first-generation student into college. To have them graduate, that’s another story. The problem begins early: Fully 10-20 percent of high school graduates never arrive as freshmen on their college campuses. Read about what programs like D.C. College Access and Georgia Tech are doing to address the problem. (Hint: It has to do with texting.) (6 min)

The Trigger Effect: The Murder of a Queer College Kid in Atlanta

Scout Schultz was a white, bisexual, intersex, and nonbinary student at Georgia Tech who was shot to death last year by a university police officer. Their best friend, Cam Monden, a black transgender woman, was arrested at a rally protesting the shooting. This story is about what happened next, underscoring how colleges fail to support queer students’ safety and mental health. (63 min)

We Saw Nuns Kill Children: The Ghosts of St. Joseph’s Catholic Orphanage

Scandal after scandal after scandal has wreaked havoc on the Catholic Church, leaving many believers to question whether to leave the faith. This disturbing article — about murder and sexual abuse in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s at St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, Vermont — uncovers more harrowing secrets the Church would prefer to keep hidden. (106 min)

At HHH #6, Michele won the grand prize: a plush Highlighter pillow! Who’s going to win this time? See you tonight at Room 389 in Oakland beginning at 5:30 pm. If you still need a ticket:

How to Make a Big Decision

Sometimes it takes time for me to make decisions. My solo piano recital, originally scheduled for 2004, is now slated for 2020. (I’m still deciding on the program.) My journalism teacher Nick used to say I worked so slowly “moss could grow.” But isn’t it true that “slow but steady wins the race?” This article, which offers new ways to make decisions (no more pro-con lists!), may finally wrest me from my inertia. Watch out, world! (8 min)

The Cursive Comeback

Every new school year brings us yet another article about the death of cursive (see hereherehere). But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, cursive is back. Except now, it’s considered art, plus you have to go to an expensive camp to learn how. Six-year-old Francesca says, “When I’m older, I can sign my name on contracts in cursive.” (5 min)

You’ve reached the end of this week’s issue of The Highlighter. I appreciate your loyal readership! Please tell me what you thought by using the thumbs below. Also, let’s welcome new subscribers Nate, Nicki, and Avery! If you get something out of this newsletter, please tell a friend. I would really appreciate it. On the other hand, if you’re secretly annoyed that The Highlighter lands in your inbox every week, please unsubscribe. I’ll see you back here next Thursday at 9:10 am. Have a great week!