Moonlighting: A Reality for Many Public School Teachers
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The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of moonlighting on teachers and teaching. Qualitative data on the phenomenon of teachers moonlighting was gathered through multiple interviews and field observations. This study involved a small sample of voluntary participants who are public school teachers and who moonlight, including teachers from an elementary, middle, and high school located within the same school district. The analysis of the data is presented in qualitative, narrative form, using the voices of the participants. The major findings of the study revealed there were negative effects from moonlighting within all seven research topics. Although participants were hesitant to discuss the negative effects of moonlighting on their teaching, most participants were quite open when discussing the many negative effects that moonlighting had on themselves as teachers. Many negative effects of moonlighting were reported, and few positive results were reported. The findings also showed differences in responses between public school teachers moonlighting during the school week and those who only moonlighted on the weekend. The teachers that moonlighted only on the weekends reported fewer negative effects from moonlighting. There were two areas where all participants were in unanimous agreement. This study suggests that moonlighting has a greater negative effect on teachers’ personal lives and health, two critical areas for public school teachers. When teachers become moonlighters, their lives as public school teachers change dramatically. And while the participants in this study moonlighted for the money, once they began moonlighting, they were unable to quit for financial reasons. Implication for practice from this study focuses on increasing teachers’ salaries and enhancing teacher retention programs so that teachers will be able to afford to stay in their chosen profession. In addition, with so many teachers moonlighting, there is a need for school districts to review moonlighting policies for public school teachers. Finally, the results of this study indicate several recommendations for continued and future research.