Teachers Often Work Two, Sometimes Three, Jobs to Make Ends Meet

ROCKLIN -- Every day, after class ends and the students leave, you can find first-grade teacher Melanie Frost in her classroom preparing her lesson for the next day.

But she can't stay long.

Four days a week, Frost rushes from her job at Valley View Elementary School in Rocklin, to her second job tutoring students at their homes.

On some nights, Frost, a mother of two boys, heads to her third job at Bayside Adventure Church in Roseville, where she also takes care of children.

"Sometimes it's exhausting. I wish maybe I could just work one job sometimes," Frost said.

But she needs every job she can get. Frost’s husband, who lives with Parkinson's disease, is on disability.

"We've got a senior in high school. That's expensive," Frost said. "We moved from Roseville to Rocklin and our rent went up $350 a month. That doesn't come from the sky. So I'm just doing things I can to support my family since my husband is not able to work."

And it’s still not enough. Every month, it’s a struggle.

"Gross is $7,000 and net is $4,900. And to put that into perspective, my rent is $2,250 a month," she said. "That’s half my paycheck."

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, across the United States, 18 percent of teachers say they work multiple jobs. That's nearly one in five teachers.

"We're entrusting these individuals with our children," Toby Boyd said. "Shouldn’t we want them to be at their best and not have to stretch themselves thin in order to do so?"

Boyd is a board member with the California Teachers Association and a kindergarten teacher.

"When you think the cost that it takes in order to get a degree, upwards of $90,000, and your starting pay is approximately $50,000," Boyd said. "Why would you go into education when you can go into engineering?"

A recent report shows teachers earn about 11 percent less than other jobs requiring college degrees. Boyd says districts will continue struggling to hire qualified teachers if the pay doesn’t go up.

"It is an urgent issue,” Boyd told FOX40. "An educator touches so many lives. And we just have to be one, respected, and one, given the necessary resources to make sure we can do the job correctly."

Frost loves teaching. She cherishes the moments when she can see the impact she has on her students.

"Just seeing that light bulb go on when they get it. You know, something that they’ve been struggling with or when they're on their own, are kind to each other or supportive," Frost said.

But she dreams of a day when she won't need to rush to her second job, or to her third, and just teaching will be enough.

"I don’t teach for the money," she said. "But it would be nice to have enough to let go of a job or two."