Teachers With Second Jobs


Photo by Becky Weber

Britney Chen, Online Editor

People say that teachers don’t become teachers for the money and reports have shown that they aren’t wrong.

There are thousands of teachers across the country who have a second or even third job to supplement their income even though they work full time. A report by the Center for American Progress said, “In 11 states more than 20 percent of teachers rely on the financial support of a second job, and in some… that number is as high as 25 percent.” These jobs can be anything from tutoring to bagging groceries at Walmart.

There are several teachers at Bingham who have other jobs. Amber Thomas, a Language Arts teacher, works at VASA Fitness teaching Power Flex classes two nights a week. She has been doing this as long as she has been teaching English. James Barton, an AP Art History and World Civilizations teacher, is a consultant for the AP Art History committee, which he’s done for three years. As a consultant, he gives presentations to other teachers about art history and works on the development committee which requires him to travel for meetings three to fours times a year. He is also an AP reader which are teachers and educators who constantly grading AP essays during an intense week and a half. Brett Boberg, a Social Studies teacher, has been working at an adult education high school for seven years teaching US history and government. Like Barton, he is also an AP reader.

Teachers have a second job for several reasons like professional development or because they like the job, but a lot of teachers need the supplementary income to pay their bills and support their families. Boberg said the reason why he teaches adult education is that he’s “incredibly poor and it pays better than if I worked at Walmart.”

Teachers are paid a lot less, especially compared to other people with the same level of education and experience. According to KSL, “Nationwide, the average bachelor’s degree graduate earns $50,650 starting salary compared with $37,241 for those who graduate with a bachelor’s in education.” In Utah, the Salt Lake City School District pays a certified teacher with a Master’s degree and twenty plus years of experience starting salary at around $50,500. There are people straight out of college who make more than that.

That salary may even get smaller as years go on. A report by the Economic Policy Institute said in 2015 “public school teachers’ weekly wages were 17.0 percent lower than those of comparable workers—compared with just 1.8 percent lower in 1994.” Because of low pay and other factors, more teachers are retiring mid-career. KSL said about 15 percent of new Utah teachers quit after the first year and 42 percent quit after five years. Combine this with the fact fewer college kids are studying to be teachers, it’s no wonder why Utah is having a hard time finding teachers for a growing student population.

Education is an important part of an improving society but with lackluster pay, in the future, more skilled and needed teachers may leave for better opportunities.