After hours

SHS teachers find themselves taking on second jobs


FACS teacher Sara Neville and a coworker both dress in matching pajamas for Vera Bradley. Neville started working there when she needed to support her new teacher salary. photo contributed by Sara Neville

Five years ago, just two years after Family and Consumer science teacher Sara Neville started teaching at her first school, she realized that the beginning salary of a teacher wasn’t enough. Neville soon started a job at Vera Bradley, a retail store. The goal was to use that money to pay for her car payment.

“It was kind of necessary at the time just because I was still on a new teacher salary,” Neville said. “I didn’t really have much saved up after college, but I had to have a new car.” 

At SHS, Neville is just one of the few teachers that balance diverse second jobs whether it be out of necessity or just a nice change of pace from the plentiful duty of educating kids. 

While Neville’s second job was a necessity at first, she finds herself staying with the company out of enjoyment and admiration. An additional bonus is that they are flexible with her tight schedule of being a teacher, as well as the girl’s softball coach in the spring. 

“Retail definitely was a change in the beginning, but finding a retail job that works with my schedule at management levels with them. There is room for growth with my retail job too,” Neville said.

Over summer break, Neville switches to a management position. Then, once summer is winding down and she’s back in the classroom, she switches back into a main-level retail position. 

While teaching students and retail may not fall into the same category, Neville says that she uses her customer service skills in the classroom.

When fresh faces appear in her classroom, she utilizes relating and connecting to students just like how she would when creating a bond with a customer.

Just a few steps away from her classroom, English teacher Brent Bockelman finds himself spending his summer break doing renovations for a company that owns rental properties. 

“I do a lot of the cosmetic stuff (and) some trim … painting, sometimes plumbing and electrical work,” Bockelman said. 

Bockelman started aiding renovations when he was just 19, going through college with that job. He finds himself enjoying it which can be seen through him still working full time with another occupation.

As a 19 year old, Bockelman realized that he could use various remodeling skills years later when he eventually bought his own house. But now, he appreciates the beauty in every task that he accomplishes.

“It’s so different from teaching. You get immediate gratification from that type of work,” Bockelman said. “At the end of the day teaching, there’s nothing you can look at and say ‘Here’s what I did today.’” 

Analyzing, making decisions, planning and self-reflecting are all aspects that one needs to be doing as a teacher. However, when Bockelman is remodeling, he says that he can just shut his brain off and listen to music or audiobooks while painting.

The contrast of such a labor-filled job from the classroom makes him ready to go back to the classroom after a two-month long change of pace. After teaching 180 days of school, it can definitely lead to a burnout. 

However, two months of painting or rewiring a house can be tiring, so by the end of the summer, Bockelman is ready to be back in the school.

“I think it’s a good balance. Usually by the end of the school year, I need a break from teaching,” Bockelman said. “That’s a nice job to kinda fix that up for me. By the end of it, you’re kinda ready to come back.” 

Neville and coworkers during Christmas time at Vera Bradley. photo contributed by Sara Neville

Bockelman’s classroom neighbor, English and Speech teacher, Erin Ancelet finds herself working at a cider company when not in the classroom. 

In the fall of 2021, due to her interest in both regular and craft cider, as well as planning events and festivals, she decided to apply.

Ancelet landed the job being able to plan, but was also asked to help out at the restaurant and bar on the weekends or over the summer.

“As much as I like teaching, I just wanted something different to do in the summer and during my freetime,” Ancelet said. “I like the people I work with. I like the culture. I like the atmosphere, and … it’s a benefit that it’s extra money for me.”

She strongly enjoys the different environment than from the classroom. The job is a break from the environment of educating kids. 

Ancelet gets to immerse herself with other adults while enjoying the culture and atmosphere of festivals. 

There is a similarity in the two, however, while working at the company, Ancelet gets to educate and inform people about the different types of ciders as well as the flavors that are produced. People test them and try each one while walking away with more knowledge than they had before having a similar impact to the one she creates in the classroom.

“It’s also different because it’s a bar. You’re only around adults. It’s nice to be away from this environment. And normally when people are at the restaurant or the event … or festival, they’re happy or in a good mood,” Ancelet said. “I think that that is also a big change from having to be at school at seven in the morning … they’re stressed.”

Both different from teaching high schoolers, and quite literally almost the same, English teacher Julie Breeden has a love for teaching college students at the University of Indianapolis in the fall semester.  

While Breeden is still teaching as another job, she just teaches at a higher level. The other difference is that the students at UIndy are more “invested” as she would like to put it. Students in her semester class made a decision to be there. Some students in her high school classes don’t necessarily have a choice.

Breeden recently picked teaching at the university up again last year after starting in 2011 and continuing for three years after.

“As a dual-credit teacher, (the) last time I did it, … it gave me a little more credibility with my students. Also, (it’s) kind of a pre-retirement ramp-up,” Breeden said. “I enjoy the University of Indianapolis. I like being involved on campus. It’s a fun place to be.”