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Almost One-Third of New Teachers Take on Second Jobs in Summer to Make Ends Meet

By Tim Walker - August 12, 2019

One of the most persistent and annoying myths about educators is that they have “summers off.” Far from enjoying a two- or three-month vacation, they use a good chunk of that time writing curriculum, attending workshops, catching up on professional reading, etc.

And many of them work summer jobs, generating additional income necessary to make ends meet.

Overall, 16 percent of teachers have non-school jobs over the summer. If you’re younger and newer to the profession, however, it’s more likely you’ve been spending a good part of the summer earning another wage, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Digging into data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) covering the 2015-16 school year (the most recent figures available), Pew found that roughly one-third of teachers with one year or less experience had non-school jobs over the summer. About 20 percent of teachers with two to four years experience had summer jobs, compared with 17 percent of teachers with five to nine years.

For those newer teachers, the money earned during the summer amounted to 12 percent of their annual earnings, higher than the 7 percent it generated for more experienced educators.

Pew also found that teachers younger than 30 are more likely to hold summer jobs than their older colleagues. About a quarter of teachers under 30 worked during the summer of 2015, compared with 16 percent of those ages 30 to 39, 14 percent of those 40 to 49, and 12 percent of those 50 and older.

Of course, second jobs are not exclusive to the summer months. The financial strain that compels teachers and education support professionals of all ages and experience levels to take on second, sometimes third, jobs doesn’t subside after Labor Day.

Krista Degerness, a teacher in Colorado, worked 40 to 70 hours every week during the summer of 2017 and 15 to 25 hours a week at her second job during the school year.

“We work second jobs because our salaries alone are not sufficient to pay our bills, let alone save for the future,” Degerness toldNEA Today in 2018.

Overall, about 20 percent of teachers hold second jobs during the school year, accounting for roughly 9 percent of their annual income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teachers are about three times as likely as other U.S. workers to take on this burden.

In an apparently healthy economy, educator salaries continue to stagnate. According to NEA’s annual Rankings and Estimates report, the average classroom teacher’s salary in the U.S. has declined 4.5 percent since 2009-10.

Source: National Education Association

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