The following is a submission from an educator as part of the Your Soapbox feature, which explores the experiences of educators in North Carolina through their own words. Check out more first person stories here, or if you are an educator, submit your own.
Two jobs too.
I have been teaching for 22 years in the same NC county.
I am a national board certified teacher with full certification in biology and art. I graduated from two top schools with honors. I chose teaching because I wanted to make a difference and I love kids.
These last five years have been the hardest financially on my family. Our insurance has slowly slipped to covering less and less. My daughter needed three surgeries to regain use of her right hand after a bad accident. This put the nail in the coffin.
Right now, we are being squashed from the debit we owe from her rehabilitation and the medical bills. I have taken on another job to try and dig us out. I work on the weekends cleaning cottages. This has worked out to be a 9-month part-time job ( from March to October). With teaching and cleaning, during the overlapping months I work seven days a week. I turn 50 this year, and I am exhausted.
If NC had kept up with our steps in pay, I would be making the same money I make scrubbing toilets. I am disgusted with the way some of our lawmakers have insinuated that we are not doing enough for our students, and we only work a light schedule of 10 months out of the year. Most teachers take classes or attend workshops during the summer, to gather knowledge to share with their students. I have not been able to do this in the last few years because I am too busy scrambling to make ends meet. I am stuck and they know it. I can’t leave and loose my retirement, and I am slowly loosing financial ground. The best I can hope for is a better part-time job.