OKLAHOMA CITY — Hundreds of thousands of American schoolteachers work second jobs to boost their income. They speak of missing time with family, struggles to complete lesson plans and nagging doubts over whether it’s worth the sacrifices to stay in their profession.
Nationwide, 18 percent of teachers work jobs outside school, supplementing the average full-time teacher salary of $55,100 by an average of $5,100, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Education Department, from the 2015-2016 school year. That is up slightly from 16 percent in 2011-2012.
Teaching is hardly the only profession where people pick up second jobs to pay their bills, and many have the flexibility to do other work in the summer when school is out. But their numbers help explain the outrage behind the teacher revolts in states including West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky.
The Associated Press asked moonlighting teachers in four states to describe how they balance the extra hours with their day jobs and family responsibilities:
After a day of instructing first-graders at Oologah-Talala Public Schools in Oklahoma, Melinda Dale puts on a janitor’s uniform and begins cleaning the very same school building.
“I usually do it right after school,” Dale said, “because working with first grade all day, I tend to lose my energy pretty fast.”
Dale, who has taught for six years, earns $32,000 a year as a teacher. She spends about 15 hours a week on the janitorial work, which at $10 an hour allows her to earn nearly a quarter of what she makes teaching.
She is trying to save money for college for the oldest of her three children, a high school senior. Her youngest, a first-grader, has to wait for Dale to finish cleaning before she can go home, but sometimes other family members help with the cleaning so she can leave sooner and spend time with her kids.
Her second job forces her to do lesson plans on the weekend, usually on Sundays after church and lunch with her family.
One day, her seventh-grade daughter was waiting in the car for her mother and said: “I’m sorry it’s come to this, mom.”
“It was a very heartwarming but sad moment to hear her say those words,” Dale said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to be in the career that I’m in, but also provide for them.”
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Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News