Poverty among American school teachers

Full-time job Elementary school teacher. Earns $80,000 annually
Second job Oyster farmer. Earns $15 an hour. Also works as an event coordinator and manager for a catering company

“When I think about things like the fact we need a new septic system, or that we need to replace some doors and the deck on my house, I go into almost like a panic attack.”

Full-time job High school history teacher. Earns $56,149 annually
Second job Bookseller at Barnes & Noble. Earns $11.75 an hour. Works 20 hours a week

” If I didn’t work a second job, I would be a risk for not having funds to deal with major financial problems that could occur in anyone’s life, whether that’s a major medical expense, a major car expense, or a family emergency.”

Full-time job Middle school social studies teacher. Earns $49,000 annually
Second job Suite-level attendant at the sports stadium for the Tulsa Roughnecks and Drillers on nights and weekends. Escorts people to seats and takes tickets. Earns $8.75 an hour

“Then you have to go to your second job and you’re tired. You still have to find that extra strength to go on because you know you still need that extra money to get those bills paid”

Full-time job High school US history and geography teacher. Earns $35,000 annually
Second job Uber driver. Earns between $100 and $400 a week

None of this is actually poverty, is it?

34 thoughts on “Poverty among American school teachers”

  1. $80,000 is over £62,000 at current exchange rates. Fuck me, what expenses does this person have to ‘require’ a second job? That’s nuts.

    Modern poverty: I can’t get everything I desire.

  2. An elementary school teacher who can come out with “I go into almost like a panic attack” is seriously overpaid.

    Oysters can cope (being hard of hearing) but young children should not be exposed to linguistic abuse and tortured logic like this.

  3. I’m confused, the first example earns 80k and needs a second job to top that up. The last example 35k and even if the uber paid the top amount every week would still only be on 55k yet presumably is getting by.

  4. Here’s a bit of advice, teachers. Stop spending money on shit you don’t need.

    It would be interesting to analyse their household spending to see how much money is spent on fluff as opposed to essentials.

  5. I’m sure I’ve read about people in times gone by who did need to do two or three menial jobs just to pay the rent and keep food on the table. And the stories didn’t involve those people whining or grumbling.

    They were admired as hard workers, probably the first part of the story of the American Dream.

    Now it seems those people’s grandchildren, having got the professional jobs their grandparents worked to give them a chance to get have turned into professional entitled whiners for whom life is to blame that they haven’t got absolutely everything they want without having to work too hard to get it.

  6. “Full-time job Elementary school teacher. Earns $80,000 annually
    Second job Oyster farmer. Earns $15 an hour. Also works as an event coordinator and manager for a catering company”

    He’s paying alimony, do you think?

    Anyway, when I was in my mid twenties I did a second job. It’s how I saved the deposit for my first mortgage.

    I can remember when my daughter worked at three jobs when she was saving hard. (The three job bit probably taught her more than the travelling it paid for.)

  7. Are they living in expensive shitholes like New York and Mexifornia?

    According to that Styxhexenhammer pundit San Francisco’s new $180,000 a year shit sweepers will have to commute because 180 grand won’t cut it if they want to live near their work–so to speak. So expensive are even the shitholes over there.

    Is he right? Well he lives in the USA so he has a better idea of costs over there than I do.

  8. The salaries would almost seem to be listed in the wrong order – ie the lowest should be the elementary teacher and the highest the high school teachers?

  9. ooh ooh.
    A resting cosby show actor, twitpicced working as a cashier, just said something similar to Tim’s line on jobs being the same.

    “There is no job that is better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper, but actually it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”

  10. And we’re overlooking the special definition of ‘full-time’. Public-school teachers in the US typically work full-time (which is between 35 and 40 hours per week) between 9 and 10 months of the year. Between Memorial Day (last Monday in May) and Labor Day (first Monday in September), most public schools are closed.

    Summer jobs for teachers are a commonplace – around here, they all seem to go to work in the state park system, or as private tutors, or they’ll teach summer school for extra money on top of their ‘normal’ salary.

    Should also note that public-school teachers typically enjoy Cadillac-level benefits, including premium health insurance and low-or-no-contribution pension plans, things which are fast-disappearing from most other areas of employment in the US.



  11. BraveFart said:
    “would almost seem to be listed in the wrong order – ie the lowest should be the elementary teacher and the highest the high school teachers”

    Teaching elementary school must be difficult; they get the most. Geography teachers get the least. Looks sensible to me.

  12. Half the examples are in Oklahoma, where living costs are hardly at Californian levels. A couple of them mention debt – and I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more about this as the recent explosion in U.S. student debt hits the fan.

    Overall though they just need to cut their coats according to their cloth. Your house doesn’t necessarily need new doors or new decking – lots of people (especially the elderly) live in homes which could charitable be described as fixer-uppers, but which are still perfectly liveable. Ditto for cars, obviously.

  13. All this tells me is that there are some teachers in the U.S. who either don’t know how to manage money or have entitlement issues..

  14. @ Dennis
    They don’t have *any* issues over entitlement – as public servants they are entitled to twice the standard of living of grubbly little self-employed like you and I who work for our living.
    If (and only if) you adjust for inflation, there were a handful of years when I was paid more than £62k for 49 weeks (by then my contract said I was entitled to 4 weeks paid holiday but I never had time to take four weeks off) and more than 40 hours/week. [When #2 son was born I took two weeks out of my annual leave allowance to help at home but I still didn’t exhaust my holiday entitlement]
    It is *you and I* who have issues about entitlement – and the majority of British workers who agreed with George Odborne’s limiting the amount of benefits an unemployed man could claim to the median household income.

  15. There are two real lessons here.

    If you don’t want to be low-paid (and nobody but you should be defining that) don’t take up a low-paid job.

    If you don’t like the money see what you can sell your skill for elsewhere..

  16. Not only in the US. I heard a young teacher on LBC complaining she didn’t have anything left over to save for a deposit. The thing was, she lived with her parents, who fed her, and paid rent “when she could afford it”.

    So, WTF was her salary going on ?

    My daughter lived with us when she started work, earning about half a teacher’s salary and she was stacking it away.

  17. @DtP: Not necessarily a need for the ‘or’ there…

    Yeah, but you know me… I’m compassionate to a fault.

  18. People that innumerate, that ill-disciplined, with no sense of economy and with massive chips on the shoulders regarding entitlement – and they let them near children!!!!!!

  19. I don’t even get paid for my second job, just kudos, sympathy masquerading as admiration, and a couple of free trips to a conference a year. Oh, and an invitation to partake of Her Majesty’s Pleasure if anything goes wrong. Can I plead poverty?

  20. “Poverty among American school teachers”

    These people are fucking annoying. ‘Oh, poor, poor me, I make as much in 9 months as others make in 12 – and get 3 months straight off along with approximately 3 more months of days off during the part of the year I work – but I want *moooooooore money*!’

    For da childrens!

  21. “The Mole
    September 5, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I’m confused, the first example earns 80k and needs a second job to top that up. The last example 35k and even if the uber paid the top amount every week would still only be on 55k yet presumably is getting by.”:

    And of course there’s no mention of median income in the areas they work. 35k in some parts of the US gets you a shared apartment in a slum – where I live its twice the per-capita income and gets you a pretty decent standard of living.

  22. Not only WTF are they spending their money on, but if they’re working every hour $DEITY sends them, WHEN TF are they spending their money?

  23. Why would you not teach privately at home, surely a couple of students at $30 for two hours, three times a week, will make you more than taking a low paid job?

    Probably they are teaching ‘Yoghurt lesbian grievance studies’ and are pointless wastes of space.

    I always laugh at poverty ridden baby boomers….what kind of fucking failure do you have to be to have fucked your life up like that?

  24. I knew a young woman at the gym who had three jobs. She seemed pretty rich. I concluded that she was socially awkward, and worked 3 jobs to keep from being bored.

    I.e., 3 jobs wasn’t a financial decision.

  25. Yeah… no sympathy. My friends who went into teaching were full of themselves about how they wanted to work for more than money and how much superior that made them to me who wanted a decent salary. Now they complain that they aren’t paid the same as me. Choices. Consequences

  26. My wife tidied things up and left a copy of the Overseas Development Institute’s survey on the impact of cash transfers to those in *actual* poverty in Kenya, Mozambique, Palestine, Uganda and The Yemen on top of my copy of “Significance”, so I read some of it.
    It includes a quote “someone earning US$13 a day with 10 children: that is poverty” – US$78 for week for twelve people is less than $1/day. $80k pa is $219 per day.
    [Actually the quote used local currency but the same page gave a conversion rate, so I have converted]

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