When Students Find You at Your After-school Retail Job


Hey teachers, are you tired of hiding behind mannequins, soup can pyramids, or other assorted displays to avoid the prying eyes of students who find you at your after-school job? Worried that they will lose the little respect they have left for you after they read your “real” name on your tacky little name-tag? Use the responses below to help teachers in a variety of subject areas.


“You tell me. If this pair of modern skinny fit khakis are originally $69.99 and they are now 30% off, how much will you save? Make sure to show your work on the back of this blank receipt if you want full marks.”

Education doesn’t end in the classroom. You should make sure to challenge  students to use what they have learned in the classroom in their real lives, like when they accidentally stumble into you  working the late shift at the Gap. Students will appreciate that you took the time to make them come to their own answer, instead of just telling them the pants are $50 like a regular human being would. They will bring up this moment in their commencement speech, and not call you a “robotic math nerd” for the rest of their high school career.


“Somebody needs to make sure that the coupons don’t contain any comma splices.”

You’ve probably been hearing it for years, “when am I actually going to use any of this stuff in the real world?” If you use this response, students will see how your grammar skills allow you to be an intrusive pedant only in the classroom, but also in your job as a cashier at Whole Foods. Students will be in awe of you when you tell your manager that last week’s flyer contained a dangling preposition when it said that “our grapefruits have never been this cheap before.”


“How can I call myself a drama teacher if I don’t take on different roles in my own life as well? Like right now. I’m no longer Ms. Archer, but I’ve transformed into Brenda from Hardware.”

You don’t just want to educate students, you want to inspire them. This response will tell students that pursuing a life in the arts may not only lead to a lifetime spent walking the halls of a high school forever, but they may also get the chance to spend their “leisure time” stocking light bulbs at Target. Their parents will thank you after giving their children this revelation.


“I’m not just lifting 20 lb. bags of potatoes. They’re basically paying me to work out.”

When a kid sees you stoking produce, you get a unique opportunity to show off the physical specimen that you are. Not only can you blow a whistle and force kids to run laps, but you can lug root vegetables with the best of them. Don’t be surprised if the kids don’t start to drop and give you 20 out of sheer awe the next time they’re in the produce department.

Maybe you are not defined by the subject you teach, but you are motivated by the carefully developed character type you have strived for in the classroom. The responses below will work for teachers regardless of subject area.


“Dave and Busters specifically came to me to make sure you guys don’t raise hell here tonight.”

You need to let the kids know that your authority doesn’t end when you leave at the end of the day. You don’t even want to be there, but your every watchful eye needs to make sure that the skee ball machine will not be a victim to these young scoundrels’ rebellious actions.


“I’m actually trying to take down this Walgreen’s from the inside.”

This will let kids know that you are on the same side as them. Not only are you not trying at your job, but you are actively fighting against the giant corporations all the teens are complaining about these days. Just make sure that your shift supervisor is on break if you going to try this one.


“I’ve been using the employee discount to buy school supplies for you guys, by which I mean I’ve been stealing pens and Wite-Out from this Staples for the past five months.”

Sometimes, it’s good to let students know  the sacrifices you make for them. This response lets kids know  not only do you make financial sacrifices for them, but you also risk the possibility of getting written up by your 22-year old manager.


“Yes sir, I’ll get to that spill right away.”

Let’s face it, a lot of kids just want the power-rush of seeing their geometry teacher wiping up a coagulated Orange Julius. 

Jordan Louis is a writer from a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada that you probably haven’t heard of before. He studied journalism at university, and is still finding a good way to use his degree

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