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My Economy

Why this teacher works through the summer

Maria Hollenhorst Jul 4, 2019
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While many high school students are on summer break, their teachers are hard at work.
Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.


School may be out for the summer, but lots of teachers are still hard at work. One in six U.S. schoolteachers works a second job, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That includes Lansing, Kansas, high school teacher Megan Johnson.

My name is Megan Johnson, and I teach at Lansing High School in Lansing, Kansas. I just completed my third year of teaching, so I’m about to start my fourth.

My summer plan is to work my second job at a bank. I work there about five days a week, and I actually work during the school year on weekends as well. I do get paid my teacher salary over the summer, but I don’t get my supplemental pay. So it’s kind of just my base teacher pay because I do extracurriculars, like I’m the junior class sponsor, I’m the [Kansas Association of Youth] sponsor, but I don’t get that. So it’s about two grand less a month. I have to have a second job to help support myself.
 
One thing that I get tired of hearing is, “Oh, you have a three month vacation.” And as a teacher, we really don’t. All of my teacher friends, we’ve met up, we’ve been planning, we’ve been trying new things, we’ve been going to conferences. And they only give us two days at the beginning of the year to plan. And that’s not enough time. So it’s like I’m still doing teacher things while still working at the bank.
 
I really hope one day I do not have to work at the bank. Mental health is a huge thing for me. And last year I really had, like, a breakdown, where I was just so stressed out. I was just so worn down. This last year has really hit me where I was like, I need to take care of myself. I am not being the best teacher because I’m mentally not happy.
 
This summer I have made it a point to do something new once a week. I want to try something new, and it can be something little, it can be something big. But I want to try something new once a week just for me. I have at least two days during the week off from the bank. I usually have Wednesday and Fridays off, and I know it’s not the weekend, but it’s whatever to me. I tried CrossFit for the very first time, that was my new experience last week. This week we’re going to go play mini golf at the art museum. So I’m just trying to find the little things that I can do and actually have a social life.

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