What unusual jobs have teachers had in the past?


“My friend played for an Italian basketball team, so he said, hey, you should come hang out in Italy. I hung out with him for three months while he was playing for this semi-professional basketball team. For the last game I was there, I’d noticed there was a closet in the stadium that had this dragon costume. It was bright green and fluffy; it smelled like someone smoked ten thousand cigarettes inside it. Wearing the costume unlocked a whole side of me I never knew existed. I was dancing to Michael Jackson on the court during warm-ups and in between time-outs; I was high-fiving fans. They don’t really have mascots in Italy, so I was this oddity to them. That was my mascot experience. Unpaid. Really, unsolicited, too. I just sort of said, ‘I will do that,’ and nobody stopped me.”


“While I was in high school, I had a continuous job, because I lived on a ranch in North Dakota. All of my brothers and I were expected to work at the direction and need of our parents. The problem was that our parents didn’t pay us for it. The paying job that I was fortunate enough to get was a beekeeper, or an apiarist. I had to learn how to safely unload beehives off of semitrucks, how to raise bees to produce honey and how to harvest the honey in a way that would minimize the amount of setback for the bees. I did that for four summers. After my first year of learning how to be a beekeeper, the following years, I trained my little brother, and then two other high school kids on how to keep bees. So I was not only in learning mode, but I also did training.”


“I think, for a teacher, the most interesting summer jobs are when you try to get away from teaching and have a couple of months where you get to learn whatever you want. One year, I wanted to improve my sashimi skills. I thought, I could take cooking classes, or I could take a job as a fishmonger. I applied to Uwajimaya, and they hired me for the summer. The general public doesn’t expect a scholar to be behind the counter cutting their fish. Last year, I thought, why don’t I just try to be a tour guide? So I got a job working for Argosy Cruise Lines. I did a couple private party events on the water as well. I had to learn how to man a ship. I had to learn how to bartend. I hadn’t ever done that before. It was a really amazing experience.”