You are the owner of this page.
A4 A4
'I just have to do it.' Teachers struggle with second jobs (copy)

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 2015-16 school year. That is up slightly from 16 percent in 2011-12.

Teaching hardly is 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."


As Lyft driver Stefanie Lowe crisscrosses the metro Phoenix area in her Jeep, many of her passengers are surprised to learn that she also is a full-time teacher.

"It's super busy to drive during the week, but sometimes I just have to do it," said Lowe, 28.

She earns just under $37,000 as a first-grade teacher at Tuscano Elementary School. She rents a room, instead of having her own apartment, to keep her housing costs down, but to make ends meet she drives for Lyft on nights and weekends and also picks up tutoring jobs. She drives more during the week when she has upcoming expenses like a car registration payment, medical bills or supplies for her classroom.

By 7 a.m. the next school day, she's back at her classroom. With 32 students, the class demands her full attention. But Lowe is committed to improving her students' lives.

"These kids are going to be taking care of you when you're older," she said. "Let's educate them; let's make them the best people that they can be."

Lowe left a job in health care in Pennsylvania to teach in Arizona, where the signing bonus from her first job at a low-income Tucson-area school went entirely toward materials for her classroom. At times, she has considered pursuing a different career, but for now she is dedicated to teaching.

"I went to school for this to be my career," Lowe said, "not so I could work three jobs just to be able to afford to go the doctor."


John Andros knows the drill well after more than a decade of double duty teaching high school and then working at Dick's Sporting Goods. He packs lunch and dinner, puts an extra set of clothes in the car for his retail job, and sets off knowing he won't be home before his daughters go to bed.

There was a time earlier in his career, when he was making less than $40,000 teaching, when he considered giving it up to pursue a management job at Dick's that would pay over $50,000.

Now in his 19th year of teaching, with two master's degrees, he has reached top scale — $88,000 annually — as a special education teacher at Plainville High School in Connecticut. But he still works 15 hours a week at Dick's and tutors because he feels like he's still catching up financially after years of much lower earnings in an area with high property taxes and a high cost of living.

He paid off his college loans three years ago, and he and his wife only recently got out from a requirement to pay mortgage insurance because they didn't have enough for a full down payment when they bought their house.

"I became a teacher because I figured I'd get home and get my kids off the bus and do all these things. I never thought in a million years I would still be working so much. This was supposed to be a two, maybe three-year thing. Financially it never worked out," said Andros, whose wife works part-time as a health aide.

He makes a point to stay home with his daughters at least two weeknights, but as he looks to build up college savings for them, he frets over the volleyball and field hockey events he misses.


Despite more than three decades of teaching experience, Christi Phillips keeps up her longtime second career as a children's photographer. She enjoys working both jobs, but she feels like she doesn't really have a choice.

"Thirty-two years, I have to have a second job," said Phillips, who teaches first grade at George Ward Elementary School in Mill Creek, West Virginia. "Isn't that sad? That's very sad. Everybody I know has two or three."

Phillips makes $52,000 teaching. That's enough, she says, for her utilities and a car payment. The money from the second job is needed if she and her husband want to eat out at a nice restaurant, buy a second a vehicle or take a vacation.

"I can scrape by. I can make due on my salary if I just want to pay bills. That's it," Phillips said. "If I want to live, if I want to do any real living, I can't do it on my salary."

Delbridge, Lyle A.

UNION CENTER | Lyle Aldean Delbridge, 62, Union Center, died April 13, 2018, at his ranch near Union Center.

Visitation will be 5 until 7 p.m. on Monday at the Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis.

Memorial services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 17, at the Central Meade County Community Center in Union Center.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

Goings, Duane W.

PINE RIDGE | Duane Woodrow Goings, 72, died April 12, 2018.

Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge

Ness, Deirdre

NEW UNDERWOOD | Deirdre Ness, 66, died April 14, 2018.

Black Hills Funeral Home

Rankin, Leon R.

PIEDMONT | Leon R. Rankin, 68, died April 12, 2018.

He served in the U.S. Navy.

Celebration of life services will be Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at 10 a.m. at Kirk Funeral Home. Inurnment will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery.

Soper, David L.

HOT SPRINGS | David LaRay "Dave" Soper, 70, died April 13, 2018.

Chamberlain McColley’s Funeral Home

Crawford Speirs, Frances C.

SPEARFISH | Frances Cecilia Crawford Speirs, 74, passed away on April 12.

Visitation will be held on April 17 from 4-5 p.m. at Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapel Spearfish, S.D., with a vigil following at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held the following day, April 18, at 10:30 a.m. at the church, with Rite of Committal at 1:30 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery.

Taylor, Edgar B.

RAPID CITY | Edgar B. Taylor, 96, died April 14, 2018.

Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home

Voyles, Larry A.

BELLE FOURCHE | Larry A. Voyles, 74, of Belle Fourche died April 12, 2018.

A visitation will be Thursday, April 19, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Kline Funeral Chapel in Belle Fourche.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 21, at 4 p.m. at Kline Funeral Chapel with burial following at Pine Slope Cemetery in Belle Fourche.

Werre, Ann K.

BELLE FOURCHE | Ann K. Werre, 82, died April 14, 2018.

Kline Funeral Chapel