The best of both worlds

BVH teachers work additional district job


Madison Knudson

BVH teachers who hold two jobs have busy schedules as teachers, but also as employees for their other jobs. Oftentimes, these educators do not have the time to rest.

Nadia Martinez , Podcast Manager

The clacking sound of a keyboard and light projecting from the computer screen is the reality of a district employee’s work. This is the frequent experience of International Baccalaureate (IB) English Higher Level 1 and IB Theory of Knowledge teacher Kalie Espinoza. 

“I saw [the position] and it looked like a great fit for me, so I applied [and] I’m really enjoying it. It’s nice, it’s a new challenge,” Espinoza said.

Espinoza has taken on numerous leadership roles over the years, such as holding the position as English department chair. She is currently assigned to the site leadership team as a curriculum specialist at the Sweetwater Union High Schools District’s (SUHSD) office. 

“I’ve done all of these different leadership roles. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve done them for a while and [I’m] ready for the next challenge,” Espinoza said. “I’m someone that has always wanted to be a lifelong learner and take on new challenges.”

Espinoza jumped at the prospect of fulfilling this occupation when she first saw the job description. Her responsibilities included being a mentor for other teachers and assisting them in their first few years of teaching. She would go on to help young teachers learn the basics of teaching, figure out what their job entails and support them in the orientation process.

“I remember going through induction when I was a new teacher, it’s a hard thing to do. I was looking forward to [the] role [of] a teacher,” Espinoza said. “We never [truly] leave the classroom. I knew that in this new role, I would still have students, [but they would] just be new teachers.”

According to Espinoza, new teachers must undergo a process in order to satisfy their credentials. When they are introduced to the credential programs, they have a preliminary credential with a series of requirements to meet. Espinoza’s role is to help the induction candidates fulfill the requirements. 

“This is a role that gives me that opportunity to support new teachers. It’s proven that new teachers often [have] their doubts before that failure point in their career, especially right now in a pandemic,” Espinoza said. “My decision to work at the district was about this higher purpose of wanting to ensure that [new teachers] feel welcomed, comfortable, safe and that they get the support they need.” 

Although Espinoza enjoys her work, there are times when it overwhelms her personal life. She mentioned that this typically occurs when something big transpires, such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) report. She had to work overtime in September and October because the district required a completed report. 

“It was really challenging doing two hours for induction while doing extra hours for us [BVH]. It meant that a lot of my [personal] time was taken up. I try to be very mindful of taking time for myself when I’m working so hard. I go through [moods], [but right now] I’m focused more on work,” Espinoza said.

IB Spanish, and IB and Advanced Placement (AP) French teacher Marina Dillingham also works at SUHSD where she focuses on writing curriculum for teachers. She researches activities, strategies, and practices for teachers to use in their lesson plans. In addition, she creates documents or samples of each possible lesson plan teachers can use. Dillingham produces instructional guides for teachers to be aware of what curriculum to follow. 

“I really enjoy working on curriculum, planning, and helping or working with other teachers,” Dillingham said.

Dillingham explained that her position as a French teacher played a large role in why her current position at the district is so appealing. Since French is not a priority in most school districts, she constantly applies for leadership positions in any world language.

“[Applying for leadership positions] is the only way that French [language] gets a voice. If we don’t, then Spanish always takes over. Less popular languages like French, Italian, or Filipino don’t have a voice [because] everything is done for Spanish,” Dillingham said.

Similar to Espinoza, Dillingham has trouble balancing her teaching career and working at the district. She explained that despite the tough adjustment, she still enjoys the experience of having both jobs.

“It’s tough, I’m not going to lie. I’m still getting situated. I definitely feel pulled in two directions sometimes, “Dillingham said. “I think balance will get easier over time; I’m constantly trying to work towards a balanced mindset.” 

“It’s tough, I’m not going to lie. I’m still getting situated. I definitely feel pulled in two directions sometimes.” ”

— IB Spanish, and IB and Advanced Placement (AP) French teacher Marina Dillingham

This year, Dillingham officially has two classes to teach at Bonita Vista High and the rest of her time is spent on district tasks. However, a downside of working at the district is that it decreased the pace at which she grades assignments. Consequently, she has noticed that she is working more than ever before because she is busy prepping and grading for her classes during her own time. 

“I do it [grading] when I get home at five o’clock and I’m tired. It made me slower, but I have learned so much [and] I’m trying a lot of new things that I haven’t tried,” Dillingham said. “I have learned new strategies and new ways of doing things I do in class.”

Dillingham commented that it is common for other teachers to take on more work, almost to the point of having ‘two jobs’. Though, she explained that teaching in the classroom and helping teachers from the administrative side is “amazing.”

Moreover, AP United States History teacher Don Dumas also works at the district. Unfortunately, after several attempts to reach out to him for further information on his experience, Dumas was unavailable for an interview with the Crusader.

“It’s difficult, time-consuming, and stressful, but we [teachers] all do it because we love this world of education for our students. It’s very satisfying and fulfilling to [teach students and teach young teachers],” Dillingham said. “It’s amazing that so many of us are willing to give so much of ourselves because it’s what we do. [Teachers] love the students because we love our profession and believe in it. We think that education is the way to build a better future with better-educated people.”