I'm writing this sitting in a hot tub overlooking a beautiful mountain in one of my favorite cities in America at a million-dollar home that I don't have to pay for.
And soon I will get ready for work. I'll go to my special education teaching position, where I make (roughly) six figures.
How exactly did I get here? I’m still not completely sure.
One year ago, I was making about $52,000 a year in Indiana, working as a special education teacher for a traditional school district. I had been doing this for about six years. I got burnt out, overworked, and all of the hard things in education. I turned in my resignation in May 2021.
It felt as if everything I was making was going towards the house, and I felt like I couldn’t invest, save, or practice financial wellness. It was a seller's market right now, so I sold everything!
I sold my house, car, and most possessions. I bought a ProMaster, and my partner turned it in for a tiny home on wheels. We moved in with our dog and two cats, and I started working for a digital school in Indiana as a special education teacher. This was a great opportunity. I learned a lot, it was a fantastic way to make learning accessible for all students, but it only paid about $400/week net pay. This was not sustainable for my lifestyle.
I should also note that I had been building my business, AdelaideED, and selling digital teaching tools, and creating virtual programs for educational agencies such as New Horizons Rehabilitation. I started to build my social media presence- especially on TikTok. Eventually, a recruiter reached out to me when I updated my LinkedIn.
I was offered a traveling special education teaching position. This works much like a traveling nurse where I fill in for hard-to-fill positions all over the country. I am working as a special education teacher just as if I were hired for a new role. I work to get my certification in whatever I state them working in at the time. Assignments are different lengths and pay different amounts, and I choose where I go and for how long.
Like traveling nurses, traveling special education teachers make significantly more money than a traditional
position. I accepted the job, drove across the country, and here I am.
I love living in my tiny home on wheels and having the option of going wherever whenever, but…sometimes I want to take a bath, or sit in a hot tub.
We found something called TrustedHousesitters. This is a service with an annual membership fee where folks can list their houses to be cared for when they are on vacation, and sitters such as myself can watch their home and pets while they live in their house and take care of things when they are away. The service even runs background checks for sitters so folks can be sure that they're leaving their homes and safe hands. I've met some amazing people this way.
Now I get to travel the world with my tiny home, taking the things and pets I love with me, gaining tons of teaching experience all over the country, and making enough money to further my education and live debt-free.
And all I had to do was face my crippling anxiety head-on, give up the comfort of many things I’ve known and loved all my life, and take a deep dive into the unknown.
Take care of yourselves, teacher friends, and don’t be afraid to explore out-of-the-box opportunities.