How do you support yourselves financially?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Froreal3, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Hi all. I don't post much, but I've been a member of the forum for a few months. I have a dilemma: money. I want to know how you all support yourselves in such a low paying field.

    Some background: I recently received my BA in ECE. However I am not early in my career. I have been in the ECE field for a while now. I've been working with children in some capacity for the past 14 years. I have about 8 years of experience in ECE professionally. Currently I am employed by a large corporate chain child care company. I am originally from NYC and as a lead teacher there, I made a little over $13.00/hour...which is good for the field, but clearly not a living wage.

    I recently relocated to GA with my husband and our 3.5 year old daughter. My company transferred me and I now make $12.00/hour. Now here is my problem:

    My husband is student teaching currently and will receive his MA in November. This means he can't work because student teaching is basically a full time job. He used to get unemployment insurance, but that was recently cut off. The unemployment insurance was how we paid for childcare for my daughter..."Why didn't my daughter attend either location of my job?" you ask...Well the NYC location would have been $1000/month and that is with a 50% employee discount. The GA location is a "client center" which is only for employees of a particular company. They have very limited spots for staff children. My supervisors say they are "looking into" getting my daughter a spot...but I don't know if/how soon that will happen.

    Although I love what I do and I enjoy my current position (coworkers, parents, kids etc), I can't afford to stay unless they offer a child care discount. Even then, my current job is 45 minutes away and I'm shelling out $200.00/month in gas. So gas plus childcare costs of $560.00/month, rent, utilities, food etc are killing me financially.

    Over the past couple years or so, I have come to the understanding that we do not make a living wage...meaning we can't support ourselves/families on this type of income. One hundred percent of my co-workers either lived at home with parents (yes as adults with children even) and paid minor bills, or had significant others who supported them financially. I am thinking seriously about switching careers. It is a shame.


    I love my current position...I'm really active and involved in committees etc. and I even received teacher of the month for August. However I recently applied to the Goddard School and they seem to want to offer me a lead teacher position. I asked for $13.00 although I should have asked for more...I always shoot myself in the foot when it comes to asking for money. Hopefully they offer a good childcare discount... *sigh*

    Anyway, my question is: How do you all support yourselves financially?

    *sorry so long winded*
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 4, 2011

    I'm finding it crazy that a childcare company would transfer someone whom they pay only $12 per hour.
    You could probably make much more doing childcare in your home.:2cents:
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Do you qualify for government assistance?

    I know that your husband probably doesn't want to take on another job while he's student teaching, but that might be the only real option to get your family through the next couple of months. I recommend that he look into getting a job as a night auditor at a hotel on the weekends. That sort of job won't impact his school schedule and he might even be able to use his down time at work to grade and write lesson plans. I got myself through student teaching with that job and it worked out very well for me.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That was going to be my other suggestion. Assuming that you work full time, I bet you make around $500 per week before taxes. If you cared for even just three or four children in your home for $200/week each, which is a very reasonable price, especially given your education and background, you'd make a lot more than what you're making now.
     
  6. Bengie03

    Bengie03 Rookie

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    Sep 4, 2011

    This field does pay very low, and it still doesn't help having a B.A degree. I think the others have some very good advice about how to get through the next few months while your husband goes through student teaching. Have you ever thought of opening up your own family child or even going back to get your credential. I love working with the young ones too, but the only way to make money in this field is to either get your early childhood special education credential and work with preschoolers with developmental delays or open your own center or in home day care. I wish you and your family all the luck through this challenging time.
     
  7. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Home child care

    Thanks for the replies! I actually got my start doing a home childcare program. I did that for 6 years. However it really wasn't truly mine. I took it over from my mother who passed untimely and ran it with my sister. We eventually expanded to two locations and several staff members. However we closed due to financial/family reasons. I'm sure that running a home program that is truly all mine would make more financial sense. I live in an apartment though (although I've seen them run out of apartments in NYC before) and I don't have two means of egress (though I'm not sure if GA requires that as NY did). I probably need to look into it though.

    Bengie, I was thinking about getting a credential in special ed...maybe I can do early intervention or something.

    Yeah I really think my husband will need to get a weekend/night gig to keep us afloat. I began pursuing my BA while I was still running my business because I figured "Hey, might as well get more education and be credentialed in some way." Now I'm seriously considering leaving the field. I just read up on some stuff by Marcy Whitebook about our "worthless wages" and it is really just sad...I could almost cry.

    Oh and we applied for food stamps, but apparently $12.00/hour is too much. :confused:
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  8. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    I'm a substitute teacher and while I work pretty well everyday subbing, it isn't near what a full-time teacher would make. I also have to pay for my own health insurance. To help make some extra money, I teach private piano and cello lessons. I also play in a string quartet that does weddings and other events over the weekend. The funny thing about is that I can play for one hour in my string quartet and make the same amount that I would for subbing all day!

    If I wasn't musical, I would definitely do tutoring! Having something to do on the side really helps with extra money. I do end up paying alot on taxes because I pay self-employment tax on the lessons and the string quartet. If you have a dependant though, it would be far less!
     
  9. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Yeah, I was transferred because I wanted to relocate to a place where the rents were more reasonable. I didn't foresee him losing his unemployment benefits. :(
     
  10. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Sep 4, 2011

    Joy, I'm also musical. I was a music major in college first. I've been playing piano since I was five. I feel I am rusty, though I can teach children and beginners. I might just have to start doing that on the weekends....

    As far as subbing in GA public schools, they pay about 80 per day...which sucks and is even less than what I make as a preschool teacher.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 5, 2011

    It sounds to me as though you CAN'T support a family given the parameters you've described.

    As of November, your husband is done student teaching, right? So he can sub or do something else that will bring in some income from that point on?

    How are you covering insurance? Is it covered by your employer?

    It seems to me as though either you or your husband needs to pick up some part time work aside from what you're already doing. Can one of you work nights? I know it's frowned upon for student teachers. But to tell you the truth, I only know that from posts here; everyone I know had a part time job while they student taught.

    If you just need to make it to November, hang in there. Use credit wisely, but know that it's there when you need it.

    But if I've misread things, and this is a more permanent situation, then it seems to me that you need to rethink your career choice, or at least your employer. Your first obligation, and that of your husband, is to your family. You need to be able to pay the rent, put dinner on the table, and not lose sleep at night figuring out how you'll do it.

    Best wishes!
     
  12. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Sep 5, 2011

    Aliceacc...You're right. My husband is done student teaching in November. He will try to secure a job before then in order to start working as soon as he is done student teaching. It's just that until whenever he gets a job, it's all up to me on a preschool teacher's income.:huh:

    Right now my daughter has health insurance but my husband and I don't because when he had unemployment our combined "income" exceeded the eligibility requirements. They are more lenient with children. Since he lost unemployment I am going to look into applying again. The insurance through my employer has always been too expensive. I need every penny out of my check.


    I work full time during the day and I need to be at home in the evenings for my daughter and my sanity, so I can't work nights. I'm going to speak to him about getting a night or weekend gig now. I might think about working weekends doing something...maybe waitressing...
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 5, 2011

    Waitressing is wonderful.

    It's hard physically, but at the end of your shift, you leave it all behind. No papers to grade, no lost sleep as you try to figure out a strategy or a lesson that will get through where others haven't.

    Is your husband handy around the house? Could he make up free buisness cards at www.vistaprint.com and work part time doing home repairs?

    Are you musical enough to give lessons on weekends?? Again, hit vistaprint today, have the cards made up, and start getting some customers. (Do you have a piano at home? That would probably make a big difference.)

    Have you spoken to your employer about your options? Do they know they're about to lose their Teacher of the Month to the competition because of the pay? Will the Goddard school offer childcare for your daughter? (Oh,a nd wille either let you advertise your music lessons-- send home the business cards and a flyer with the kids?? Or post a flyer on their bulletin board???)

    As to the insurance, get it as soon as you're able. It's incredibly important. If something were to happen to you-- even something relatively minor, like appendicitis, your family would be in some pretty dire financial straits.
     
  14. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2011

    You may consider another type job in the EC field. Go for a Director job. Most for-profits at least give the director a break on the tuition. May not be what you want to do in the field forever but you've been in the field long enough to have some good experience. I don't "enjoy" being a director but had to do it for a while because I needed more money and I needed that type of experience for where I wanted to go in this field. I don't know what GA regs are for Directors/Manager. Directors get paid a little more. Still not what we are worth.

    You could freelance as a consultant/trainer. Again, depends on what GA regulations are for trainers. Look at private preschools in your area and also Head Start in your area. I know HS has to meet the teacher qualifications of each pre-k classroom having a bachelor degreed teacher by 2013 and many are having a hard time. So I would check with the ones around you.

    Look for opportunities where you could provide child care for one person at night or on the weekends. Try putting an ad on craigslist or care.com sittercity.com or just search those sites for opportunities.

    I would get the local "family" magazine for your area and just go through the local preschools in the higher socio-economic area of town and apply to those. They usually pay a little more because of the clientele. You have a degree, so that is a plus. Again, stick to the private preschools not the for-profit. Check out their websites and send your resume with cover letter.
     
  15. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Sep 5, 2011

    Thank everyone so much for the advice and support. :) I submitted my resume for any assistant director positions, but most director positions want prior large center director experience.

    My current employer knows about my situation. I told my director and she said she will ask the company liaison about opening up a spot for my daughter. The gas will still be tough, but I honestly love where I currently work, so I may be able to make that work. At 50% discount, the fee will only be about $230/month as opposed to what I am paying for child care now. My husband received a small school loan and he should be able to cover that until he graduates.

    The Goddard school director knows I want child care and she said that the owner handles all of that...so when they call on Wednesday to offer me a position (I'm 99% sure they will offer) I will ask about child care. The full price is $845.00/month, so 50% of that will be better than what we are paying now, plus I will save on gas and making a dollar more.

    I'm kind of leaning toward Goddard due to the gas savings and slightly higher pay.

    As far as high end programs....I applied to Creme de la Creme and Primrose...not sure which others are high end. My problem is that I need a child care discount. That was the problem I had in NYC. I worked at a high end location and the full price was $2000+. I couldn't even afford 50% of that.

    Music lessons are a good idea. My baby grand is at my father's house back in NYC, but I do have a full size keyboard. I would have to ask either employer about posting business cards or something. I'm pretty sure my current employee will allow it. I saw someone had left pamphlets for dance lessons...and I'm sure that they would let me leave my info as well. I'm not sure if their clientele will want to travel 45 minutes away though. lol

    I just have some decisions to make... I'll keep everyone updated!
     
  16. ash_sk8s

    ash_sk8s Companion

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    Sep 5, 2011

    First of all, good luck getting a job with Goddard! I work there there now and I am really liking it so far, although it has only been one week!

    But I understand your dilemma financially. I went to school, got my MEd, and got "stuck" working preschool because I couldn't find an elementary job. My Goddard is only paying me $10 because I have no preschool classroom experience, although I may get a raise at my 90-day review since I do have my master's.

    Luckily for me, I live with my boyfriend and his sister, so expenses are split 3 ways. Boyfriend has a 2 year old, but we currently only have him every other weekend, so expenses there are minimal. I'm going to be getting by just fine, but definitely dread paying back my 57k in student loans on this salary - so hopefully I get an elementary job next year!!!

    Also, my Goddard does no child care discount. I was hoping that I could get my boyfriend's son there part-time, but we definitely can't afford it!!!
     
  17. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2011

    Not all Goddards are created equal. Make sure you feel 100 % comfortable with the director and owner. They are not always truthful. Ask a couple of teachers at the school when you are doing your observations, if they like working at that location, how many teachers have left during the last 6-12 months, if they have a floater teacher, do you have any prep period to work on your daily sheets or at least to print them out, how long the current teachers have been there, if you get a break or lunch period, how much after hours work can be expected, if they have any prop boxes or other supplies that meet the weekly themes, ect... If you feel any inkling of a bad vibe, run the other direction! I worked at one of these centers here in Georgia. I did have a little bit of a bad feeling about the location when I was interviewed, but I didn't find out about all the horror stories until I was employed. I stayed as long as I could for the kids! As I was employed, I think around 1/2 or more of the staff quit (in about a 6 month period). It was the most horrible work experience of my life. If you truly love the place you work currently, and enjoy the people you work for, then I would consider staying in that location and trying to get a raise, or more hours and getting them to let your child be cared for at a better discounted rate. It would be worth it for the employer to keep at great employee and give you the benefit of a better discount.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 5, 2011

    I am sorry you're in this situation. I am hoping that your husband will find employment soon! I was going to suggest searching for a director position as well, although I realize the requirements for that vary greatly. And, unfortunately, the director of my district's center earns only $12 an hour after a significant cut in pay...she earns only a couple bucks more an hour than the instructional assistants she's repsonsible for. Good childcare and preschool centers are undervalued. Best wishes! :)
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Are you going to have enough hours at Goddard, at only a dollar more per hour, to offset the nearly double cost of child care over your current location?

    You are currently making $12 an hour and paying more than $480 per month for child care (more than 40 hours worth of your paycheck is currently going to childcare). At your current job, which you say you love and the job you transferred for, you'd be working just over 17 hours to pay for childcare if your child is admitted. At Goddard, which you aren't sure is going to be a great experience, you'll be working over 37 hours (even at your 'higher' wage) to pay for her childcare.
    What is DH doing to help with money from now until November? Can he adjust his hours/job so that he can watch your child at least part time while you are at work?
    Even when he is done with his student teaching, it could take some time before he finds a full time teaching position. You need to both really think about long term in terms of jobs/money as well as just the time period that he'll be student teaching.
    Good luck to you.
     
  20. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    FroReal- Please email me personally about your specific Goddard location. Like I said, some Goddards are just great to work at, but the ones that are bad, are really bad! It all depends on the owner and director (office personal). If there is a huge turnover, in this economy, you can bet that the working conditions are horrid. If the problems were over just a few things, I could have survived. But at this location the problems were so vast on every level that it makes it impossible to stay. I felt at the beginning that I at least could do a fantastic job, stay at least two years for the experience and get a really good recommendation. Needless to say, I knew after a couple of teachers quit and the nasty (lies) comments said about those really good teachers by the director, that no matter what I did, I would never walk away with a good recommendation. Now I am left with a huge question mark on my resume after working extremely hard and spending a crazy amount of my own money for my classroom. So please be careful. You don't want to have a horrible work environment on top of your other problems.
     
  21. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Sep 11, 2011

    Yes, I've thought about all of this. I am hoping if they do offer me a position at Goddard (they haven't called yet) then they will offer me at least a 50% discount which would be roughly $420.00 for childcare/month. I would be saving about $120.00 on gas due to the close proximity. I would then be getting a dollar more. I was thinking that would be better than me paying $200.00/month in gas, $564.00 in childcare costs and only making $12.00

    The update with my current position is that the director said she will speak to the liason this week. It is though for them because they have to have a certain amount of children enrolled in order to open a staff child spot. She told me that "we can't lose you and we will have to work something out."

    My DH will not be interning on Fridays, but he will need to complete homework assignments and what not. He is looking into working on the weekends. Right now he is still paying for child care because he received a small school loan. However that is about to run out. So hopefully he secures something asap. I will keep everyone updated.
     
  22. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    You should definitely start teaching piano lessons then! Check into what other people are charging in your area. I currently am charging $15.00 for a half-hour lesson. You will need to try and set some aside for taxes at the end of the year though.

    I have a grand piano but I teach on a keyboard because I don't want the wear on my good piano. I have found that most beginning students now start on a keyboard anyway.

    I would suggest setting up your own contract to give to your students before they start. After five years of teaching private lessons, I have found it very necessary! In my contract I explain methods of payment (either by the month or by the week). I also have a make-up lesson policy. If a student needs to change their lesson time (illness, vacation, car trouble), they are responsible to call me and schedule a make-up lesson (a different time during the week). If the student chooses not to reschedule the lesson or forgets to call me before their lesson time, payment is still due. I meet with the student beforehand and explain all of my lesson policies. They might seem strict to some people but I explain that this is part of my income. When I first started teaching, I didn't have a contract. I had students cancel at the last minute because they didn't "feel" like coming. Sometimes they wouldn't even call me and would just not show up. Now if that happens, I will still get paid to wait around for them. Since starting the contract, I have only ever had one student who had an issue with paying me. I made up a bill and attached it to a copy of their signed contract. I haven't had a problem with it since.

    If you let them know your expectations from the beginning, it can be an outstanding way to make extra money. If you don't, you can get burned on it.
     
  23. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Sep 12, 2011

    Isabunny, I'm going to pm you.
     
  24. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Sep 12, 2011

    Joy, thank you for the suggestion! I am about to do a business card now. I have a full size keyboard stored away in my closet and I haven't taught for years, but I can go back to it on the weekends. I'm definitely going to have a contract. I used to run a childcare program and the same rules will apply to my piano lessons.
     

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