Think About It: Tough Teacher Times - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

December 26, 2011

Think About It: Tough Teacher Times

A recent unscientific, on-line poll conducted by the Hawaii State Teachers Association found that about 67% of Hawaii's public school teachers perform some sort of outside work to help supplement their incomes. A bunch of those with second jobs say they began their outside income efforts in the last three years, amid pay cuts, furloughs, and all of the other contractual issues that pop up when times are tight.

While this moonlighting-for-extra-income reality is not unique here in Hawaii, the feeling is that the percentages are higher here than elsewhere, as cuts have been made and the cost of living is higher to begin with. Annually, we hear stories of teachers using their own money to help supplement supplies in their classrooms; well, now we know how some of them are even able to do that- by getting outside jobs.  Obviously, this is not an ideal situation. Whether it's five or fifteen hours a week of time spent on another job, teachers are burning the candle at both ends, which can't be great for them or their students. It's bad enough when the kids aren't fresh at school each day.

But such is the reality for public teachers (and many other workers) as we head into 2012. It's tough enough for teachers to try to stay ahead in the classroom with incessant paperwork, lack of supplies, old equipment, undernourished pupils, and overcrowding, but the baggage gets heavier when you feel forced to work an extra job or two just to make ends meet with basic costs at home and the need to take care of your family, too. This is not just a local issue, it's a national concern if we want to attract quality, focused teachers and help ensure that our kids have the best educational opportunities to compete and thrive in the 21st century. Think about it…

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