Oklahoma teacher: ‘I’d be on food stamps’ without second job
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — From rodeo announcer to custom-cabinet builder, second jobs have become a necessity for many teachers in Oklahoma, where educators are some of the lowest paid in the nation.
Numerous schools will be closed for a second day Tuesday as teachers continue to rally at the Capitol. Demonstrators on Monday voiced their dissatisfaction with salaries, school funding and other issues.
Here are some who moonlight to make ends meet, sometimes working more than 40 hours extra per week:
Blackman, 45, teaches fifth grade at Healdton Public Schools in south-central Oklahoma.
Part-time jobs: Rodeo announcer and judge; waitress.
Hours worked outside teaching job: 46 per week.
“The reason I started doing the rodeo and announcing is so that I can pay for my daughter’s college education,” said Blackman, who took a $9,000 pay cut when she moved from Texas to Oklahoma in 2008. “I didn’t want her to have to go into debt.”
Lovelace, 35, teaches third grade at Leedey Public Schools in northwest Oklahoma.
Part-time job: Teaches special education for an online charter school.
Hours worked: 30 to 40 per week.
“I have to work that second job because I’m a single mom with a teenage daughter,” Lovelace said. “If I didn’t have a second job, I’d be on food stamps.”
Holcomb, 64, teaches science at Leedey Public Schools in northwest Oklahoma.
Part-time jobs: Lawn care and custom cabinetry.
Hours worked: At least 40 hours per week.
“Our youngest went into the oil field to be a welder, and he makes more than we do combined,” said Holcomb, whose wife also is a public school teacher. “And he doesn’t have a college degree.”
Neeley, 40, is a second-grade teacher Newcastle Public Schools.
Part-time job: Online English instructor to children in China.
Hours worked: 20 hours a week.
“I shouldn’t have to do it, but it is necessary just to make ends meet,” Neeley said.
Johnson, 33, teaches third grade at McAlester Public Schools in southeast Oklahoma.
Part-time job: Tutoring.
Hours worked: 5 to 6 hours per week.
Johnson, whose husband also is a public school teacher, said: “Between the two of us, we have five jobs, and we also have two young children, so the time we spend on those extra jobs takes away from them.”
Thompson, 44, teaches middle school science at Pauls Valley Public Schools in south-central Oklahoma.
Part-time job: Youth pastor, substitute bus driver.
Hours worked: 15 hours per week.
“We are working off of a 2008 budget, and they continue to cut us every single year. Two years ago it was so bad that we were having to buy our own copy paper, or have parents donate it. And copy paper is just a bare necessity.”
Sennett, 49, teaches second grade at Indianola Public Schools in southeast Oklahoma.
Part-time job: Cleaning houses.
Hours worked: 10 to 12 hours per week.
“The second job is just to help with the extras,” said Sennett, who said her husband’s job in the oil field is cyclical depending on the price of oil. “I work as many hours as I can, because this helps with the extra things my family needs.”
Crampton, 55, teaches third grade at Edmond Public Schools, a suburb of Oklahoma City.
Part-time job: Child care worker.
Hours worked: 9 hours per week.
“I took the extra job to help pay for our children’s tuition and extra-curricular activities,” Crampton said. “Our goal is to get our kids through college debt free, and we’re almost there.”