Teacher Turns Elementary School Experience Into Money Making Hobby

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It’s no secret that teachers hold one of the top underpaid positions in the nation’s workforce. But one local elementary school teacher is hoping to change that.

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It’s no secret that teachers hold one of the top underpaid positions in the nation’s workforce. But one local elementary school teacher is hoping to change that.

Janelle Condra, of Rhinelander, like many educators, was frustrated. After 32 years of experience and a masters degree (not to mention a “pay raise” negotiated by the teachers’ union that ended up being less than her health insurance premium increase), Condra wanted more.

She used her experience with children to create a childrens' book series called, “Torii’s Adventures.”

“Torii’s Summer Adventure” is the first in her series of childrens' picture books featuring her dog, Torii, a golden retriever who narrates the stories about her adventures in the woods.

The idea of writing childrens' books came as a way to supplement her income -- and to share a fun, personal story with her students. She knew her books were a hit when she read a home-printed copy of “Torii’s Summer Adventure” to her students and they asked her to read it again and again -- throughout the school year.

Now, Condra is offering her advice to other teachers who want to make some extra money by writing their own childrens' books. “Write about a topic you already love and can speak passionately about,” she said. “For me, it was our dogs and their every day antics in the woods and lakes around our home. For others, it may be a hobby, a special person or a memorable event -- anything you love.”

In addition to “Torii’s Summer Adventure,” Condra wrote and published “Torii’s Fall Adventure,” the forthcoming winter and spring adventure books. Condra also continues her full-time position teaching the first grade at Pelican Elementary School. Her husband, Alan Condra, uses photographs of the real Torii, along with computer graphics, to creatively illustrate the books.

“Torii’s Summer Adventure” is currently available on Amazon.com, and “Torii’s Fall Adventure” is available for pre-order. To learn more about Condra and Torii, or to contact Condra with questions about how teachers can make extra money, go to http://www.toriisadventures.com or http://www.facebook.com/toriisadventures.

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