Many Texan teachers are moonlighting in second jobs to make ends meet, a new survey finds.
Almost a third of teachers who responded to a recent Texas State Teachers Association survey said they hold outside jobs during the school year to support themselves and their families. These teachers work about 13 hours a week at their out-of-school jobs, and an additional 17 hours a week doing school-related work outside of regular school hours.
Almost half of respondents had summer jobs. Most of the respondents—59 percent—were major income-earners for their families. Seventy-nine percent were women, and 21 percent were men.
The survey, which was conducted by researchers at Sam Houston State University, is not scientific, with just 837 of the union’s 60,000 teacher members responding. But the group’s spokesman told the Dallas Morning News that the findings still indicate a “significant level of financial hardship” among the states’ teachers.
A spokeswoman for the Texas Association of School Boards declined to comment given the small sample size of teachers. A spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency also declined to comment on the survey’s findings.
The average starting salary for a new teacher in Texas is $38,828, although the minimum starting salary is $28,080 for a 10 month contract. The average teacher salary in 2015-16 was $52,090, according to the Texas Association of School Boards.
Texas salaries are actually higher than those in some neighboring states, like Oklahoma. The Dallas Morning News reported recently that many Oklahoma-based teachers are moving to Texas for a higher paycheck. (Oklahoma has been struggling with a high-profile teacher shortage.)
Still, the survey found that Texas teachers spend an average of $656 a year on classroom supplies, and an average of $326 a month on health insurance premiums. The state legislature hasn’t increased the $75 monthly contribution it makes to educator insurance premiums in almost 15 years, the union said.
Most of the teachers—86 percent—said they wanted to quit their second jobs but would need a pay raise of about $9,000 to do so. About 70 percent said they thought the time spent on their additional jobs affected their teaching.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 16 percent of teachers across the country work a second job outside of teaching. In places like North Carolina, where teacher pay has been a contentious issue with the state legislature, as many 25 percent of teachers are working a second job.
Another revealing tidbit in the Texas survey: Only 8 percent of respondents believe that legislators and elected officials in the state have a positive opinion about teachers. Only 30 percent believe that the public has a good opinion of teachers, although the survey notes that most public opinion polls find that an overwhelming majority of voters hold teachers in high regard.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.