by: Paige Hansen Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Until lawmakers in Raleigh reach a budget deal, North Carolina teachers are waiting to find out if they will see state-level raises this fall. Teachers tell Eyewitness News, it is common for teachers to have second jobs, both during the school year and especially in the summer months.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools says it does not track how many of its teachers have second jobs.
Caitlin Tarver said she moved to Charlotte to teach for CMS. Before the school year ended, she says she took a second job as a waitress.
"It can be kind of scary every summer trying to look for just temporary work," Tarver said. She says most teachers have to do it to make ends meet.
In a UNC Charlotte paper, researchers found North Carolina teachers were more likely to "moonlight," or take second jobs, than the national average and, one in four teachers in the state is moonlighting, leaving them less time to complete teaching-related tasks.
"In some ways it gave my mind a break," Tarver said about waitressing. "But in some ways it also cut back on any time I would have to relax and rejuvinate or grade papers and plan."
MeckEd's Bill Anderson says teachers have long had second jobs, but the trend is exacerbated by the issue of low teacher pay.
"When you're working all those extra hours to make ends meet, I think it's safe to say performance will suffer," Anderson said.
Tarver said she got a second job before finding out that after one year with CMS, her contract would not be renewed.
She says the school cited "poor performance." Tarver said she feels her performance would have been better if she had more support in her first year of teaching.
"Yes, I have a masters degree, but that's a piece of paper," Tarver said. "I need experience in the classroom to become a good teacher."
She says she wants financial investment in teachers and in their professional development.
The UNCC researchers found pay is a powerful motivator for teachers to get second jobs, but it's not the only reason. They say some do it for professional fulfillment or to have a break from the classroom environment.