Teaching Profession

‘I Have No Choice': Teachers Sound Off on Side Hustles

By Marina Whiteleather — April 11, 2022 2 min read
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Teachers are increasingly taking on “side hustles” to make ends meet. Some have had enough.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 58 percent of all public school teachers supplement their base teaching salary with income through other jobs. In other words, the “side hustle” is real for many teachers across the country.

EdWeek Top School Jobs Contributing Writer, Elizabeth Heubeck wrote about the pressure teachers feel to earn more money, and the unwanted side effects these additional positions can have on both educators and students.

In response to her article, Facebook users shared their experiences taking on “side hustles,” including what drove them to look for additional work in the first place.

For some, ‘side hustles’ are necessary for survival

“When you can’t buy a modest house on two teaching salaries you know there is BIG trouble with the education profession. All teachers knew they would NEVER get rich teaching, BUT they did not take a ‘vow of poverty’ either.”

- Don R.

“I am one of these teachers. I work as a public school teacher then all evening as a part- time college instructor just to make ends meet. I work roughly 14 hours a day including lesson planning for the next day. I teach Saturday school and work the rest of the week on creating fun, interactive lessons for all my students during what I have left of the weekend. I pay over $1,000 a month in just health-care costs for myself and my two daughters. That doesn’t include taxes and retirement that’s taken out every month from my pay as well. Exhaustion doesn’t even cover what I feel! Stress, anxiety, blood pressure ... These are just a few added health issues that have come with both my jobs. I do it because I have no choice. My second job pays my mortgage. I do what I have to do to survive in an economy where everything is going up in price ... except my salary.”

- Stephanie P.

Teacher salaries and benefits have not kept up with cost of living increases

“When I went into teaching, teachers had really good health insurance, which is now gone, we had a really good pension, which has changed, and we were getting raises that were almost keeping up with the cost of living. After my first 2 years, I never in the next 20 years got a raise that met cost of living increases. I went into teaching thinking that I would have the same standard of living as my parents, who were both teachers, had. I was wrong.”

-Elizabeth A.

“Yep...36 years experience and my raise this year was $150. My insurance costs went up more than that. Next year would have been a whopping $398 raise, but I decided to retire instead. 🙄"

-Karen C.

Costs teachers are expected to take on add up

“I probably spend an average of $500 a year—especially for books for my classroom library. $500 x 20 years? 🤯 I wish I hadn’t done that math 🤦🏻‍♀️ This doesn’t even include all of the professional development I pay for on my own.”

-Sarah A.

And like many before her, Sarah A. also said she turned to a “side hustle” to help bridge the gap.

“Every year for 20 years I have taken on multiple roles just for the stipends. The side hustles are real!”

-Sarah A.

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