I Shouldn’t Have to Work a Second Job to Survive as a Teacher

Something’s got to give.

teachers work a second job

We are teachers. We are also baristas, waitresses, tutors, and dog walkers. Teaching is an incredibly demanding job and yet, the number of teachers who need to work a second job is staggering.

Teachers cannot teach today without a master’s degree, and many are enticed by increased compensation for credits earned above that degree. So we invest countless hours of professional development every week (usually given at a time when one might be dreaming about how to invent an inconspicuous, yet portable wine bottle) in addition to the many, many hours spent in the classroom.

If our brains are worth so much, why do so many teachers have side hustles just to make ends meet?

It’s all about the Benjamins.

Many teachers have racked up mad moula paying for said master’s degrees, and we need to pay off a little something every month so as not to demolish our credit. We want to have a family, buy a home, and live out some version of the American dream. So we work a second job to earn more money.

But at what cost?

Teaching is not a job you can generally phone in. Unless you enjoy the snores from your students and death stares from administration.

In a typical day, you’ve got a kid in the middle of telling you his parents are getting divorced, another screaming and refusing to start her work, and rumor has it there is going to be a fire drill today. It’s only second period and you’re existing on two sips of (cold) coffee. Your child’s daycare may have even called regarding a slight sniffle.

Teachers are “on stage” all day. We sing, we dance, we inspire, and we go home and pass out. No wait, scratch that. At 3:00 PM, we head to Starbucks to begin taking orders for double half-caff lattes with extra foam.

Where are we supposed to find the energy for that?

“I just want to lie on my couch and binge-watch Netflix,” we cry. “I want to see my adult friends,” we wail like toddlers.

Teachers are responsible for so many people’s needs all day, we often forget about our own self-care. We work at roadrunner speed and make multitasking look like an Olympic sport.

There’s planning, grading, calling parents and updating the course website to contend with. If lunch and prep aren’t cutting the muster in terms of time, we take it home. “Wait; did that sole cracker I scarfed down during period 3 count as lunch?!”

It’s a bummer to bail on happy hour when you really need to unwind with your bestie because you have to hustle to your second gig.

If I can make more money, why shouldn’t I?

Then there are those who feel guilty because if we “get home early,” we feel obligated to work a second job. After all, we do have all those supplies we need to buy.

You don’t want to be near a teacher when they get the circular for the sales at Staples. I’ve actually heard people contemplating bottling the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and selling it as perfume (hmm…another side job idea). Bottom line, we love us some school supplies!

But why are we teachers expected to dig into our own pockets to ensure there are enough bottles of hand sanitizer to survive the plague?

Not the best idea for a number of reasons.

For starters, you begin ignoring the people in your life. You neglect your home, yourself and your sanity. You fill every waking minute with work and leave yourself without any breathing room to rest, relax, and rejuvenate.

And that, no matter how you look at it, is just not fair.


Posted by Rebecca Circo


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