SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Soaring rent and housing prices have forced many Bay Area teachers to take on second jobs. Some of them have turned to Uber. We spoke to one teacher who has taken an after-school job as a driver.
John Daniels is a social studies teacher at James Lick High School in San Jose. It’s a full-time job that often goes after hours. But he still doesn’t earn enough to afford a house in the community where he teaches.
So on nights and weekends, he takes on another job, as an Uber driver.
Daniels said, “we just want a modest house in a modest neighborhood and not be so house poor that we can’t afford to do anything else.”
Over the past two years Uber has reached out to teachers all across the country with advertisements enticing them to drive and earn a second income, especially during the summer months.
Daniels took on the extra work once he and his wife, who is also a teacher, became expectant parents.
Driving others around town puts a few hundred extra dollars in his wallet and savings account.
“There’s the car seat, there’s the first month of diapers. It’s not a solution to the problem that teachers are facing, but it’s definitely helping,” he said.
Daniels has been teaching for ten years, and at $90,000 a year, he’d have a comfortable living practically anywhere outside the Bay Area.
But with San Jose’s median home price now at $963,000, Daniels and his family find themselves stuck in a small apartment instead of a place with room to grow.
Daniels’ students can sympathize because their families are also struggling.
School district trustee J. Manuel Herrera says the problem is creating a teacher shortage.
Herrera says East Side Union is beginning to research the feasibility of building its own teacher housing. He said, “we’re quite aware that this area is just becoming impossible to live in.”
“If we can’t get teachers here because they can’t afford to live here, then there won’t be any teachers. And that’s the scariest proposition,” Herrera said.
Daniels says he’ll continue to drive for extra money, but hopes society will show they value teachers by boosting salaries.
“I like what I do and I want to keep on doing it,” Daniels said. “But it would be nice to have that American Dream.”