There’s a problem in the teacher world. It has nothing to do with how they teach or what they teach, but everything to do with their time.
Teachers aren’t making enough money, in fact their weekly wages are 17 percent lower than comparable workers, forcing them to go out and get second jobs.
One of those jobs? Coaching, and a lot of teachers are doing it. In a study done in March of 2015, done by Dr. Christopher Saffici, an associate professor at Florida Memorial University in the field of Education, with a specialization in physical education, found over 40 percent of full-time secondary educators have some type of coaching role.
If you head over to Waverly Middle School, in Lansing, you’ll realize quickly that Kevin Kacel, an eighth-grade history teacher, is popular among the students. That’s not just a coincidence either. It’s always easy to spot someone who absolutely loves their job.
“I don’t hate coming to work,” said Kacel, “Through college and high school I worked at Meijer. I hated it. I hated getting up for that. I enjoy getting here, and I enjoy doing what I do and I think that’s something you do get in some jobs. People dread going to their job. Well, I don’t.”
Kacel has earned his students’ trust and respect by being a kind, genuine and helpful teacher; someone who works through lunch to help his students and would stay as late as possible after class to help his kids.
“He would stay two, two and a half hours, after school every day,” said Adam Hussain, a fellow eighth-grade history teacher, “nobody spent more time with students than Kacel.”
Unfortunately, for all involved, that had to change.
“I definitely got into coaching because I wanted to coach,” Kacel said, “but the financial aspect of it was needed. I needed something.”
A former high school football player, Kacel seemed to fall into his new role: Varsity Men and Women’s soccer coach, his first official coaching job.
While on a school trip in Europe, Kacel received an email about a soccer coaching position.
“I joked and said, ‘Man I should apply for this position because I need a job.’”
A fellow teacher took that to heart, passed his name onto the Waverly Athletic Director and five days before the start of the season called Kacel, interviewed him and offered him the job.
“I originally thought it was for the JV position,” Kacel said, “at the end of the interview he asked me: ‘Well what questions do you have for me?’ Well, who am I going to be working with, who’s going to be the Varsity coach, and he’s like, ‘I’m hoping you will.”
Kacel, now with two jobs, had to take a whole new approach to teaching because time was limited.
“We are efficient with our time,” said Hussain, who moonlights as a member of the Lansing City Council. “We plan our schedules during lunch a lot of the time. We are both busy, so we make sure to use our time wisely.”
Kacel teaching at a middle school and coaching at the high school are good for recruiting, but limits Kacel in many ways.
Waverly Middle School gets out at 2:47 p.m. Kacel most days needs to be at the high school by 3 p.m. for practice, which means he has to leave when the kids do.
“We have two hour practices every day,” explained Kacel, “and I’m there a half an hour before and a half an hour after.”
That right there is 15 extra hours of work a week and that’s just practice.
“If it’s a game,” Kacel said, “I’m usually there around four, don’t get home til nine, at the earliest for a home game, and away games can be as late as 10.”
That’s quite a day. Getting into work at 7 a.m. and back at 10 p.m.; a nice, long 14-15 hour day, 30 times a year between the men’s and women’s seasons.
In between seasons, Kacel will go back to his old ways. However, that’s not a long time. He still needs to be at the high school collecting jerseys, seeing his students, working them out and recruiting kids to come play next year. It turns into a 12-month job.
There just isn’t enough time in the day, no matter what you do, but when you have to balance your time between two jobs, it gets ridiculous, he said.
He can’t stay after class anymore. He can’t spend countless hours after school helping his students out because he doesn’t have that time anymore.
It’s not his fault. He needs to take care of himself financially and personally.
Teachers are asked to do so much, dedicate so much time and aren’t paid nearly enough.
According to TeachingDegree.org, the average wage for a middle school teacher in Michigan is $58,260, which is actually $1,600 more than the average in the United States. Surprisingly, Michigan middle school teachers make $4,430 less than the average Michigan elementary school teachers.
How much does coaching add? Chron.com states teachers earn a stipend for their coaching duties which start around $5,000 and will increase the longer they coach.