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Teachers Moonlighting To Make Ends Meet

Updated: Monday, June 9 2014, 03:32 PM CDT
School is out for summer in Austin, and while most students get a long break, a majority of the teachers do not.

Late at night Victoria Finnegan is usually just starting her day, or is finishing-up, whichever way people want to look at it.

"Yes, I'm tired now, I'll be tired tomorrow morning, and I'll be tired after school tomorrow," Finnegan said.

The somewhat-shy, 40-year-old shuffles between two jobs. She works full-time at an elementary school in the Austin School District, and then she works overnights in the grocery store deli.

Finnegan said it is an exhausting way to make ends meet, pay off student loans, and save-up to buy a house.

"I don't think a whole lot of people expect to go get a four year degree, or I have a Master's degree, and get hired in your profession, and then still have to have a second job."

Finnegan is not alone.

Now more than ever Texas teachers juggle more than one job.

President Rita Haecker with the Texas State Teachers Association said 44-percent of teachers in Texas moonlight during the school year and a whopping 66-percent have multiple jobs during the summer.

Haeckler said it is straining the education system.

"Texas is at a real cross road in what's happening in the classroom today," Haeckler said. "We've got to make education our priority again."
   
Haeckler said teachers do not focus as much on students when they work several jobs, and she said 60-percent consider leaving the profession.

"We are losing our brightest teachers in the classroom," Haeckler said.

The TSTA also reported in their survey that teachers moonlight at least 14 hours a week, plus spend a weekly average of 18 hours outside the classroom on school work. They also fork-up about $408 each month on health insurance, and buy about $700 a year on school supplies.

It chalks up to cashed-strapped teachers who are running on little sleep.

Finnegan said she would be able to give more to her students if she only had one job.

"If I wanted to stop spending money on the kids at school, I could save several hundred dollars a month right there," Finnegan said. I'm just not willing to do that."
   
So, until Texas finds a solution people fear both teachers and students' education will suffer.

The average salary for a teacher in Texas is around $49,000, which is $7,000 below the national average. 
 
By Cassie GalloTeachers Moonlighting To Make Ends Meet


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