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Teachers Taking Second Jobs at Record Levels
posted by: Alix | November 15, 2011, 06:20 PM   

In the wake of budget shortfalls and traditionally low salaries, teachers are taking on second and third jobs in record numbers, the Associated Press reports. In 1981, about 11 percent of teachers were employed by a second job. That number has risen to about one in five today; a phenomenon that experts claim is a direct result of an ailing economy and pay freezes for educators nearly nationwide.

For instance, by day Wade Brosz teaches American history at an A-rated Florida middle school. By night, he is a personal trainer. Feeling the financial pinch of budget cuts, Mr. Brosz took the job at the gym after his teaching salary was frozen, summer school was reduced drastically, and the state bonus for board certified teachers was cut. His wife, also a teacher, is looking into a second job as well.

Now, with the cuts many school districts have made, teachers like Mr. Brosz, who hadn't considered juggling a second job before, are searching for side jobs in record numbers. While national data is mixed, reports from individual states and districts indicate the number has jumped significantly since the start of the recession. In Texas, for example, the percentage of teachers who moonlight has increased from 22 percent in 1980 to a whopping 41 percent in 2010.

Sam Sullivan, a professor at Sam Houston State University who conducted the Texas survey blames the economy for the upswing in second jobs. When a spouse in the private sector is laid off, often the public sector teacher is asked to make up the difference. Other times, cuts and freezes cripple families who were counting on making certain wages. Mr. Brosz and his wife estimated their projected combined salaries would be nearly $20,000 higher if it weren't for the financial troubles in their district over the years.

Education Professor Eleanor Blair Hilty estimates most teachers make around $5,000 through outside work and often enjoy it as an escape from the classroom. She concludes teachers are getting something more from their second job other than an extra paycheck. "A lot of it has to do with what I think is wrong with the teaching profession," Hilty asserted, noting that teachers often don't feel in control in their roles as educators. "They found their moonlighting jobs to be satisfying."

Still, even if teachers are taking up side projects to fulfill different interests, the economy has certainly been a factor in perusing more hours. Often teachers with the added responsibility are feeling the weight of two jobs on their personal lives, and sometimes even their work in the classroom has potential to suffer.

On top of their work during the school day, teachers have to grade papers and plan lessons, work that is often done at home. In the Texas study, the case of a teacher who ended up grading papers at the restaurant where she worked was cited as an adverse example. The same study found that all the teachers interviewed reported that moonlighting had a negative effect on their overall health, indicating that the strain will undoubtedly make an impact in the classroom sooner or later.

What do you think about teachers taking second jobs to stay afloat? Do you or a colleague have personal experience with moonlighting?
Comment below.

Comments (4)Add Comment
Teachers working second jobs for the fun of it?
written by Common Sense Teacher in Michigan, July 14, 2012

Am I the only one that notices that the anecdotes included in this blog post cite teachers who work in two of the states with the both the worst educational results and the worst records for funding education and paying teachers? Come on now. Oh, and they are also right to work states? Geez, do a little research. This blog is a classic "ignore the man behind the curtain" move. They want to believe it is not because you are being screwed by those who see your profession as glorified baby-sitting, but because you get such little challenge in the classroom or your union is mistreating you. It is pure propaganda.
Response to Mike
written by SecondJobTeacher, December 08, 2011

America values money and that's why money can be found in the banking industry. America does not value children to the same degree. If America's values change, pay for educators would change, too. Where America puts its money reveals its priorities and values more than any other indicator. Values don't change through legislation. Legislation will change through a change in what this country perceives as valuable. I think there is legislation in this country that clearly indicates it places little to no value in children.
written by Mike--KC, December 03, 2011

Second Job Teacher---Why do you think that you get paid in the summer for not working? You have a contract that is for nine months and it is spread out over the year. I am an educator of 27 years. I have always enjoyed the classroom. My first 12 years I worked second and third jobs to provide for my family. I worked from 3-6 am and then went to school to work from 8-4. After school I coached from 4 to 6 and on game nights 4-12. I had to leave the profession for 15 years to get my children through college. I am back in the classroom now and work 6 days a week, five days in public school and 1 day as a consultant. We see banks being bailed out and bankers not turning things around for the banking industry but still getting bonuses. The explanation is that they need to attract quality people. When will America believe that education needs to be treated with the same philosophy? Educators should be able to focus on one thing and that is their students.
Second Job
written by SecondJobTeacher, December 02, 2011

I've been a teacher for 5 years and worked a 20 hr a week part-time job for 2 1/2 of those years with a kid and wife at home. It paid $20,000/year. I'm thankful for my teaching job - I get a check every two weeks in the summer, and I'm not even working! I can't complain. As the main source of income for my family, I was happy to do it. However, all the time away took a toll on my family. I'm not working the second job now, and I like my life much more but it's definitely tight! I think the low salary comes with the territory - as teachers, we've got a lot to be thankful for regardless. In the end, God will provide - whether it's through teaching alone or a teaching combined with a second job. Don't worry and don't be afraid.

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