Olga Payne is a Chicago schoolteacher.

I’m a Chicago public-school teacher, focusing on middle-school special education.
My side hustle is working as a nail technician, and I’m certified to teach cosmetology.
I want to get out of working in the classroom, but I’m not sure of my next move.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Olga Payne, a 47-year-old special-education teacher in Chicago’s public schools who works as a nail technician on the side. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I’m a teacher at Chicago’s John W. Cooke Elementary, a public school on the city’s South Side. This year, I’m working with fifth- and sixth-grade diverse learners. 

I enjoyed the classroom when I started my career, but I also saw the writing on the wall right before I began student teaching. I was worried about the decline in quality public education, so I planned to teach for 10 years. By then, I thought, my daughter will have finished school, and I can move on.

My daughter has graduated college and is working. I’ve been teaching 17 years, so it’s definitely time to leave the classroom — and luckily I have other work to fall back on.

In college, I wanted to be a computer major

I was going to study computer science, but then I failed a computer class — twice. I switched to fashion-merchandising classes, thinking that would be a good career.

Unfortunately, by the end of my sophomore year, I was unable to return to school for financial reasons. I owed money and my parents couldn’t help me, so I figured I’d work a semester to pay it off and return in January.

While I was at home, I decided to study cosmetology until I could go back to college, but it was a nine-month program and I was only home for a semester. So instead, I went to school to become a nail technician.

I became pregnant and didn’t end up returning to college after all. I stayed home with my daughter, but when she was about 4 or 5, I returned to school to study education. As a teacher, I could have the same holiday schedule as my daughter and be with her more. I went to Chicago State University and received my bachelor’s in English with a secondary teaching option. 

But I’ve never let my nail-technician license lapse, and worked in a salon for a while. Once I became a teacher, …read more

Source:: Business Insider


I’m a Chicago school teacher making hundreds per week doing nails as a side hustle

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