An ancient proverb says: “if you want to make money, don’t be a teacher.” This rough reality that teachers face on a daily basis has prompted debate across the country, and many have picked up second jobs.
According to Business Insider, Utah is 48th in teacher salary, coming in at about $47,604 in the 2017-2018 school year and teacher salaries are only decreasing, with a trend of -4.5% in the past decade.
Some of Timpview’s teachers deal with these unsettling trends by diversifying their interests and getting another job.
Ms. Cassidy Baker does photography, as well as working for BYU teaching online classes. She started photography in high school with a film camera, and shot her first wedding when she was only 18. She says she “started to see the potential” back then, and she’s been doing it ever since. She used photography to help with extra expenses in college, and now she puts most of the extra revenue towards travel.
Currently, she says, “I’m at a point where I take things that come to me, but I don’t seek after them too heavily.” For Baker, her side hustle falls under what she calls the “nice to have” category, though she estimates that in the future it may become a bigger part of her income, depending on her circumstances.
Mr. John Mcilmoil currently works at Camp Big Springs, which he’s been a part of for the past four years. He says this is job has been “fun, but much more out of necessity.” It essentially extends his school year for an entire month, working Monday-Friday for four weeks away from his family. Mcilmoil has also done assorted “teacher things” over the summer to make some extra money, like going to conferences.
Mcilmoil has a policy of not doing anything he hates, which has influenced his choice in side hustles. In the past, he fixed bikes on the side, which was his main job before he began teaching. According to Mcilmoil, that job in particular was a combination of “trying to make some money and feed the bike habit.”
As far as teachers salaries goes, Mcilmoil sees it as something that should be valued more. He says, “Doctors save your physical life, and teachers really prepare you for a mental kind of intellectual life.”
In October, a report came out by Envision Utah that said in order to stop teachers from moving on to other jobs entirely, salary would have to be raised to an average of $60,000 a year, rivaling some of the highest paying states in the country. Delaware, for instance, has an average pay of $60,484 per year, though it has a trend of decrease similar to that of Utah.
This calls into question what teachers will do in coming years as wages go down. They may need to pick up more side jobs just to get by. Whatever the case, whether they’re giving lessons or fixing bikes, there’s no doubt that Timpview’s teachers are working hard.