Bootstrapping a Teaching Career

'Bootstrapping' is a term often used in relation to business start-ups. Here’s what
the internet says about bootstrapping:
“Bootstrap is a situation in which an entrepreneur starts a company with little capital.
An individual is said to be boot strapping when he or she attempts to found and build
a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company.”
It felt to me like I was bootstrapping when I started my first teaching job. I had very
little money, I was cleaning flats to pay the rent and waking up at 3.30am from Monday
to Saturday to make ends meet.
For the first 8 months or so I’d start cleaning apartment block stairways at 4am, finish
around 11, have an early lunch and then go and teach in the afternoon until 9 or 10 pm.
It was hard. I remember feeling so tired in the evenings that I would almost be falling
asleep during the lesson. This is something that the students are supposed to do, not the
teacher!
Gradually, I began teaching more and cleaning less, and eventually I was able to stop
cleaning altogether. I never became rich, but I was able to pay my bills, buy a bike and
have some kind of social life at the weekends.
This wasn’t a bad time in my life, but it certainly wasn’t the easiest. I look back on it as a
learning experience and one that makes me thankful for the lifestyle I have now.

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