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Holiday Retailers Staffed with NC Teachers

Christina Burchette has to moonlight at a retail job in order to make ends meet on her salary as a teacher, even with a Master's degree. (Burchette)
Christina Burchette has to moonlight at a retail job in order to make ends meet on her salary as a teacher, even with a Master's degree. (Burchette)
December 24, 2015

RALEIGH, N. C. – During your holiday shopping, you may have bumped into your child's teacher working in a seasonal retail job.

According to many teachers, in most cases it's not just to earn mad money or take advantage of an employee discount. The average teacher's salary in North Carolina is slightly more than $45,000 a year, with some making as little as $30,000.

Christina Burchette, a science teacher at a North Carolina school, said she has to work at a retail job to pay her bills.

"I'd love to spend more time doing things for my students – spend more time tutoring them, spend more time on lesson plans and things like that," Burchette said. "But I'm not able to, because I do have to work a second job in order to pay my bills."

Beginning teachers recently received a small pay raise, but many others got a one-time $750 bonus in lieu of a 2 percent pay raise.

This year, the state had a $400 million surplus.

North Carolina now ranks 47th nationwide when it comes to teacher pay. Burchette says while many citizens claim to value the state's teachers, few people are willing to fight for action.

"I have a Master's degree and I don't feel like I should have a second or third job with that, if it's something that North Carolina, or our country, really values," she said.

According to the state Department of Public Instruction, the teacher turnover rate for last school year was almost 15 percent. That's up for 11 percent in the 2010-2011 school year.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC