Teaching's Unappreciated Sacrifice: Paperwork


Evil Erin / Foter

A colleague of mine recently got hired to teach a quick photography course at a state college in Massachusetts. Four lessons total, two hours each, $40 an hour. But before she was allowed to tell students about speedlights and f-stops, the school sprang a little regulatory surprise on her. This is the paperwork that Miranda (not her real name) is obligated to provide:

  • Resumé
  • Three letters of reference
  • OBRA form
  • SSA form
  • W-4
  • Affirmative-action form
  • SORI form
  • CORI form
  • Disclosure form
  • Direct deposit form
  • I-9
  • Copies of passport, driver's license, and social-security card
  • Complete a 30-minute state ethics course

She's been an independent photographer for 24 years. "I don't even have a resumé," Miranda shrugs. To fix that, and to meet the other requirements, she'll spend an estimated eight to ten hours on gathering and filling out paperwork. "It makes no sense to me," she says. "For eight flipping hours of employment!"

To add to the fun, she must also enroll in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' state employee retirement system, which will deduct 7.25% from every dollar she makes—possibly netting Miranda a grand total of twenty-five dollars to help her enjoy her golden years.

No doubt, additional forms will be required at that time.