Double Duty: Teachers With Second Jobs
BY SARAH ROUSSELL
At Cooper City High School, it can be said that 2:30 is the most anticipated time of day. As soon as the dismissal bell sounds, students are sent home and teachers are left in the quiet of their classrooms. However, for CCHS chemistry teacher Herbert Slusher, the 2:30 bell signifies not only the end of his teaching day, but the beginning of another job. While most teachers head home after work, Slusher leaves CCHS and goes to work at Taxsave Consultants Inc, an accounting firm he’s owned for 21 years.
Slusher opened his practice during the early years of his teaching career in order to supplement his salary. With two children, he realized that he would need to find an additional source of income to support his family.
“Teaching does not give you the option of doing a lot of things monetarily,” Slusher said.
While studying at Brooklyn College, Slusher minored in accounting and previously did tax returns for small companies. With that experience under his belt, Slusher knew that opening his own practice would be a viable option.
As owner of a full service accounting firm, Slusher has many responsibilities. Every day after school Slusher goes straight to his office where he files tax returns for businesses, personal returns, estates, and trusts. He is also responsible for the bookkeeping and payroll of clients.
There are a handful of other teachers at CCHS that have also taken on other jobs. Driven by her passion for marine biology, science teacher Jessica Watters has been a seasonal employee with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Project for seven years. Unlike Slusher, who opened his practice to supplement his income, Watters’ started her job with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Project before she became a teacher.
While in graduate school at Nova Southeastern University, Watters became an employee of the program and has been working for them ever since. During sea turtle season, which falls between March 1st and late October, Watters works hard with the rest of the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation team. It’s her job to search the beach for new sea turtle nests and rope them off with caution tape. She then gets to watch the eggs as they are developing and make sure that when they hatch, the baby turtles make it safely to the water.
Fueled by her passion for environmental conservation, Watters decided to become a teacher.
“I’ve always liked teaching others,” Watters said. “I enjoy talking about the environment and bringing awareness to conservation. The classroom seemed to be a really great place for me to do that.”
During the months that fall within the school year, Watters is able to work part time with the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation team. Once summer vacation rolls around, she works full time and dedicates her days working with the program.
Although receiving a paycheck is an added bonus, Watters’ passion for marine biology and love for sea turtles is the real reason why she chooses to juggle two jobs.
“I really enjoy doing this,” Watters said. “I see it as a human responsibility to take care of nature, and that’s what I try to teach people in the classroom. So having this job is my way of doing my part outside of teaching people.”
Another teacher at CCHS who has taken up a second job is history teacher Dwayne Dixon. For four years Dixon and his wife have been proud owners of JP’s Bagel Place. Located in East Hollywood on the north side of Broward Boulevard, JP’s Bagel Place is one of Dixon’s biggest passions. Due to his hours at school, Dixon is unable to be at the restaurant during the week. However, he devotes every weekend to keeping the bagel shop up and running.
“My responsibilities range from cooking, cleaning, all the way to paperwork and bookwork,” Dixon said.
The four walls of a classroom and the four walls of a restaurant clearly house completely different atmospheres. While at CCHS, the majority of the people Dixon interacts with are his students, at JP’s Bagels, Dixon deals with a completely different crowd.
“The clientele is obviously different,” Dixon said. “At the shop, we deal with older and more professional individuals. But in many ways, it’s the same as teaching. It’s all about treating people with respect, and understanding where people are coming from, which is something you can find in my classroom.”
Throughout the years, Dixon has grown very attached to his shop. He plans on keeping the restaurant until he retires and then he’ll hopefully be able to pass it down to his children.
Whether it’s to supplement a salary, or to pursue an outside passion, many teachers face additional responsibilities beyond their classroom jobs.
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