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Chelsea Easter-Rose

Chelsea Easter-Rose

Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat

Why this Indianapolis educator says she makes more than what she’s paid

“Poor people make the best teachers.”

That’s how Indianapolis Lighthouse Charter School South assistant principal Chelsea Easter-Rose starts her story.

Easter-Rose calls it having “low monetary expectations.” But, as she said during last month’s story slam hosted by Chalkbeat Indiana and Teachers Lounge Indy, she feels rich no matter what she’s paid.

Think of the student who dreams of making millions as a professional basketball player. Easter-Rose challenged teachers to explain to students that money doesn’t make you happy, and money doesn’t solve problems.

Here’s an excerpt of her story, lightly edited for clarity and length:

As teachers, I don’t think we have those honest conversations with our students enough. The thing we need to focus on is if we can change their path from someone who wants to make a lot of money — to someone who wants to make people happy, or someone who wants to change people’s lives, or somebody who wants to give back to the community. What if we could raise those expectations?

Every single time I got a paycheck, and I paid the bills, and there was $17 left over, and we went to Chipotle so you could steal the napkins and the forks, all I could think about was how happy I was.

I love going to work every single day: Wake up, go to work, it’s dark, you do all the things, you work with the kids, you go home, it’s dark. You got your steps, so you don’t even have to go to the gym.

Teaching is the best thing that ever happened to me. And because of that, I didn’t think, “I wish I could be doing other things. I wish I could be making more money.” It didn’t occur to me.

Watch the rest of Easter-Rose’s story below.

You can find more stories from educators, students, and parents here.