With many elementary, middle school, and high school teachers afraid to return to school in the fall, lest they get the sniffles and recover in 3-5 days, many are quitting the teaching profession altogether and transitioning to a somewhat unconventional new industry: online car dealerships. The New York State Teachers Union has supported teachers’ desire to stop doing real work and instead move to a “job” they can do from the comfort of their own homes without coming into contact with other people—something they deem as ridiculous and dangerous.
“People are hazardous right now,” stated Peter McBurns, the lead spokesman for the union. “We don’t want our teachers to have to come out of their houses and interact with people who could have the Coronavirus. If they were forced to do so, some of them could get cold-like symptoms.”
The debate over opening schools to in-person instruction has been raging for most of the summer, with some states opting to go ahead and invite students back to school in a few weeks when schools are set to resume. Others, on the other hand, have decided to keep classes online as it was in the spring. While many teachers’ unions around the country and even individual teachers themselves have been vocal about not wanting to see their students in person, groups such as the American Association of Pediatrics have come out in favor of schools reopening.
There have even been some who have questioned teachers’ work ethic at wanting more than just summers off, and have highlighted the efforts of doctors, nurses, and Amazon delivery drivers who have continued to work despite the possibility of contracting COVID-19.
“Certainly teaching kids is more important than getting packages delivered to your front door,” said Jeremy McStuffins, an engineer who questions why teachers should be given special treatment. “Isn’t teaching our kids worth taking some risks?” While McStuffins comments do shed light on how some feel about this issue, it is worth noting that he is a parent and wants schools to open because he can’t imagine another day of working remotely with his kids at home.
“Impossible,” was all he said when asked directly.
Still, the move from teaching to working at online car dealerships is an interesting one, and not necessarily intuitive. But that’s not how Nate Hawthorne of Osceola, Wisconsin sees it. Hawthorne has been a high school literature teacher for close to a decade and thinks going back to teaching is too dangerous. Not only that, he thinks his move to working at an online car dealership makes all the sense in the world.
“It makes all the sense in the world, he explained in a Zoom call. “With online car dealerships, you don’t have to see anyone face to face, so you won’t ever die from COVID-19 or any other illness for that matter. People shop for and then order their car online, all without needing another human being. It’s great.”
While many are still skeptical, the trend seems to be picking up steam, as at least several hundred teachers in New York, Ohio, and elsewhere have quit their jobs and moved into the online car dealership game.
“I did it because I never want to see another person in-person as long as I live,” explained Samantha Cummings, who previously taught 2nd grade and Wilmington Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio. “Virtual interaction and selling cars online is the only way to go. People are gross, who wants to meet someone face to face? That’s so pre-COVID.”
As for what states like New York, Ohio and others will do with the impending teacher shortage is yet to be determined, though, some have speculated there might not actually be a need for school anymore if people are just going to sit at home and watch Netflix and shop for cars on online car dealerships all day. Schools themselves are just so pre-COVID.