Teacher Says She Has A Second Job Outside School But Still Can't Afford Her Rent

It's further proof that teachers are severely underpaid and under-appreciated in America.

Last updated on Mar 19, 2024

sad teacher sitting in front of chalkboard Pixelshot / Canva Pro

Being a teacher, especially in America, is difficult enough as it is. Between students not being able to read, having to worry about violence perpetrated by their own students, and parents trying to dictate how they run their classrooms, teachers have to put up with a lot.

It's only fair that they make a living rage, right? Unfortunately, that's just not the reality for most teachers in the country. And one middle school teacher opened up about what it's like to be in the severely underpaid profession.


In a TikTok video posted by Lexie Firment, a then-first-year teacher and recent college graduate who started her job in the fall of 2022, opened up about her "teacher to server pipeline story."

Firment says that despite having a second job on top of being an educator, she can't afford her rent.

"Today two tables didn’t tip me, I have 1600 in rent due in 15 days, and I cried mid-shift today. Can't wait to play restaurant and broke teacher tomorrow again,” Firment wrote in her caption.



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Firment also gave out her Venmo username to anyone who wanted to send her money, adding, "y’all I just can’t today. My Venmo is lexiefirment.”

Firment, who often makes videos giving out tips and tricks for other teachers, or just talking about her own experience, made a follow-up video after someone questioned why she became a teacher in the first place.

"My name is Miss F, and I literally have a passion for teaching," she began. "As a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher. I've manifested being a teacher, I literally love it. It brings me a lot of joy, and I can honestly be myself in that job."



Firment acknowledged that while she could make more money working an office job instead of juggling being a server and a teacher, she knows that being a teacher brings her more happiness.


"So at the end of the day, I'm going to do what's best for me," she continued, before adding that she can do "a lot for education in my community" as well as "helping the systemic issue of education in America as a whole."

"Yes, I mean, I would love to make more and that'd be really awesome, but not awesome in my goals," she concluded.

Firment revealed that she does Instacart "at night," and encouraged it as a side hustle for other teachers who might be needing to make more money to support themselves. She spoke about how working for Instacart isn't a huge commitment, and is a job you can do on your own time.



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Unfortunately, Firment's position of needing a second job to be able to afford living expenses isn't uncommon.

Firment isn't alone in her struggle to pay her rent, bills, and still afford to have a good quality of life.

In fact, over the last two decades, teacher salaries have stagnated and failed to keep up with rising costs and inflation. Teachers actually earn 23.5% less on average when compared with other professions with similar education levels.

Many teachers earn less than a family living wage, with an average salary of around $66,000 per year. That's 8% less than the average wage for all other workers in the U.S.

Still, up to one-quarter of the workforce leaves teaching annually, and many are often forced to find a supplemental income.


Teacher Says She Has A Second Job Outside School But Still Can't Afford Her RentPhoto: Antoni Shkraba / Pexels

A national survey found that 82% of classroom teachers surveyed said they "currently or previously had taken on multiple jobs to make ends meet," with 53% working multiple jobs at that time, and 17% who held additional jobs unrelated to teaching.

Though teachers' salaries have been declining since 2010, the current state of the economy isn't making things any easier for educators. And until the government takes action and pays these teachers a living wage, the public school system, specifically, will continue to experience teacher shortages.


One thing is clear: teachers in America are underpaid, undervalued, and under-appreciated, which will only continue to reflect badly on the poor public school education system in the country.

RELATED: Florida Teachers Only Get A Pay Raise After Working For 9 Years — And Then They Only Get An Additional $500 A Year

Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.