Are Teachers Paid Enough?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by raynor, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. raynor

    raynor Rookie

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    ...or is it subjective?

    I was wondering about this...because I've seen a lot of teachers complain about how they don't get paid enough, and how they have t work a 2nd job. I know the salary, even for a starting teacher, and I have to say....I guess it depends on how your spending is, if you have expensive tastes, etc.

    Call me frugal I guess, but I've been able to make it on the Salary of a non-teacher job (in a previous profession) with the rent bills and such.

    BUT.....I am single, and no kids....so maybe that's the issue?

    Anyone know any single teacher without kids that are struggling with their pay? :)
     
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  3. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Are teachers paid enough? I work in N Fla. Prison guards nearby with a HS diploma can start at the same pay as a teacher with a 4 year degree but with better benefits.
    You can go to the local community college, get a nursing degree and start at what took me and a masters degree 20+ years to make. That nursing degree is a two year program. Everyday I am responsible for a period of time for all the kids in my school.
    Their health and well being is my main perogative. You decide.
    My salary after 30 years and 6 years of college plus hundreds of inservice hours is about 53k a year. I cannot retire until 64 with any kind of decent pension (about 49% of my average pay the last 5 years). But I love my job and KNOW I am helping kids in a huge way. I can sleep well.
     
  4. raynor

    raynor Rookie

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    Funny you mention that....I know a former teacher that now teaches at said prisons.....he LOVES it there than a regular teaching job. lol
     
  5. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    I make good money. I can easily live off of what I make. From the impression I get, I think that teachers in the States make significantly less than they should and what we do here in Canada. The number stephenpe quoted as a 30 year salary is what a teacher in my division would make after 3 years.
     
  6. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I think that compared to other professions that require the amount of schooling that our profession requires, yes, we are underpaid. I am lucky to work in an area where teacher salaries are more than the national average. However, when I first started teaching, I took my calculator to the grocery store with me to make sure I didn't overspend my food budget. I lived in a nasty apartment all by myself because I couldn't afford the higher rent in a nicer neighborhood. At that point, I was single with no kids.
    Now, if I was still single, I could live quite nicely on my salary. However, if I were a single mom trying to make it on only my salary it would be difficult. We definitely would not be able to stay in our house and would probably have to move farther out in the suburbs to find housing I could afford on my own.

    The argument that we deserve to be paid less because we only work from 8 to 3 and have summers and holidays off is a crock. Most teachers I know work far longer hours after the kids leave and also spend summers developing curriculum and getting the required professional development for our recertification.
     
  7. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I think salaries vary widely depending on the school you work at, not only the area. When I was in MI, I made mid-30k a year. I was single and at home, and it was fine. When I moved out to CA, I took a job in downtown San Francisco and made about 48k after all my extra duties. That was pretty great, but I was also married. Rent would have been REALLY hard to make on my own (our rent was 2700 a month!!). Then I took a job at a private school that paid 38k. That was miserable, even married. There is no way we ever would have been able to buy a house on that, ever. I didn't get benefits, either. But that school was in the same general area as the previous well-paying school, just different pay. And some of the private schools around here pay really well-I just got 'lucky'.

    I'm looking to make around 50k at my next job. That's my minimum. Housing prices are coming down, but we're still looking at about 6-700k for a mortgage, and I have to set my sights high. I don't think I could make that in a classroom without going back to the dangerous urban schools, so I'm looking at the private sector.

    (Meanwhile my dh makes around 80k while 'playing' at his advertising office every day... how fair is that??)
     
  8. Teaching_101

    Teaching_101 Companion

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    Man, I love living in Texas, lol. Places like California and Seattle are RIDICULOUS in their living expenses. For 120k in Texas, you can get a nice, middle class 3 bedroom 2 bath house.

    For 6-700k -- A freakin' mansion!
     
  9. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    *Raises hand* ME!

    I make $32,000 and it's my first year. I get paid $965 bi-monthly. After bills are paid, my car is filled with gas, and I have my grocery shopping done, I'm lucky if I have $100 to last me the next 2 weeks. I don't have expensive taste at all. I get cheap haircuts, don't color my hair (although I would LOVE to!), don't get my nails done, don't tan, live in a cheap apartment with a roomate, drive a 2002 car, and I haven't even been clothes shopping once since I was hired in July 2008 ( :( ).

    My check engine light in my car had been on since September until last week, when I finally received my tax returns and was able to pay the $600 needed to fix my car. My $250 contact lenses have been sitting at my eye doctor since September.

    Perhaps the things that kill me the most are the credit card debt I racked up while student teaching, and the $326 student loan payment each month. If it weren't for those 2 bills I would be able to afford new clothes and a nice night out here and there.

    Still, this post is the first time I've ever complained about my pay. I have amazing benefits, and it's much better than the $15,000 I was making in college (and that was with TWO jobs). Not to mention, I love my job!
     
  10. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    IMHO, many teachers are drastically underpaid. And many under performing teachers are overpaid. Overall teacher's compensation is bunched up too close..... and based too much on "time on the job."

    Major.......:)
     
  11. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    You really have to compare apples with apples. Find another job in a service industry that requires the employees to continue their education at a grad school level for at least 30 credits....that's AFTER a bachelor's, mind you....and then compare the pay per hour, if you have issues with summers off and short hours during the school year (although, as we know...teachers work many, many hours over the 8-3 time frame.)

    Here, we'd be pretty comparable to a nurse, with a bachelor's. (A nurse with an AA degree is paid less). Salary wise, a 5-year veteran teacher makes about $28 an hour. A 5-year veteran nurse makes about $50 an hour.

    No, we don't make enough.
    Kim
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    No. They aren't.

    But as others have said, it really depends on where you live and the cost of living. Where I live in TX, a first year teacher would start at around $40,000. When I start my 3rd year, I'll make around $44,000. If I was single this would probably get me a very nice apartment with enough money to buy clothes every month if I wanted to. I'm married with a child and we own our own 3/2 home in a very nice neighborhood. I couldn't afford it on my own, but with DH's salary we would be very well.
     
  13. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    At least here in Virginia, the grad credits don't cost much (or anything). Teachers get 40% off in-state tuition and most districts will pay $800 or so per semester for classes that are towards a higher degree that is directly relevant or for staying current with certification. That works out to about 6 credits a year with a cost to the teacher of around $30-50.

    Pay here varies really widely--$33-44k for a new teacher with a bachelors. You can't really live on either end of that scale in the areas that offer that pay. Most districts fall around 38-42k and I will be fine, even with student loan payments. Not wealthy or anything, but I won't be barely scraping by.
     
  14. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    It depends so much on where you are located and even district to district in the same area can var widely. In the district I live in you make about $50,000 your first year and the cost of living is very reasonable. For example you can get a nice three bedroom house in a good area for about $110,000 and rent for a good one-bedroom apartment usually starts at $800/month. The taxes here, though, are higher than they are in a lot of the country.
     
  15. Lives4Math

    Lives4Math Comrade

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    For many of us, as has been stated by several people already, it's not a matter of struggling to make it on the salary or not. It's a matter of feeling that we are not paid enough for what we do. Most people try to do the math and say that we are overpaid because we are only contracted for X amount of days and 8 hours a day. However, honestly....how many of us ONLY work 8 hours a day and Monday through Friday????? I found a website years ago that broke it down for us: number of contracted days, average hours in school a week, average hours working on school things out of school and salary are all put into the blanks. It does the math and tells you really how much you make an hour. Mine broke down to under $10 an hour. That is pretty underpaid considering the 4 years of college that it took to get that. I bet now that I'm making more money I'm still making under $10 an hour because I'm putting in a lot more time than I was then.
     
  16. TeachinHicks

    TeachinHicks Comrade

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    We definately are! My husband who works in the manufacturing industry as a laborer make about the same if not more than I do for a straight 40 hour week. And that's only based on bring home pay...if he works overtime he gets paid for it. My pay doesn't count all of the long hard hours I spend outside of my contracted 7:45-4 hours. It's a shame and with the economy the way it is, there won't be any raises next year :(
     
  17. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Here, we get no price breaks on grad. school tuition, not even at a public university. And our district reimburses us for $200 per year for continuing ed. When I was getting my masters, I had to take at least one 3 credit class each semester (including summers) to be able to finish in the time allowed by the university. Each credit was almost $200. And this was 10 years ago.
    Kim
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'm divorced, get no help from my ex and am raising three boys. I work two jobs to make ends meet, and the only reason I can afford my lifestyle is because I live in a fully paid off house that was given to me as a present by my parents when I completed my master's degree. In other words, I don't have most people's single biggest expense.
     
  19. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Considering that TEACHERS are the reason lawyers, doctors, and others can read, write, add, subtract, tell you what state they are living in, and explain how a car runs-then, yea, we are underpaid. Especially compared to what other white collar professions make. And, yes, I hold lives in my hands everyday....even better-I shape them.
     
  20. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    I've never met a teacher i the UK who needs a second job but I know from my visits to your schools that this is very common in the US. Yet from what I have seen your teachers get paid far more than we do. I was offered a job in a Chicago school and was told I would earn $90K (Science). In the UK I have 20 years in the job and earn £34K (about $50K). From what I see the cost of living is less in the US than in the UK (well food,clothing, cars, petrol (gas) and property seem less expensive). Was the salary I was quoted untrue?
     
  21. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    blazer-I'm not sure about Chicago, but I think with your years of experience plus it being Science (you might get a stipend), I don't think $90K is that far off the mark.
     
  22. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    So if I accepted the job and got 90K could I have a reasonable lifestyle in your country? (remember that we pay $12 a gallon for gas)!
     
  23. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Well, I'm not sure how it is in Chicago, but down here in TX you would be living the good life! Gas right now where I live is $1.65/gal.
     
  24. elizak83

    elizak83 Companion

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    In my opinion...for the amount of work we do and compared to other professions we are underpaid. In the area I work in I could make the same amt. of money w/o a college degree as a secretary.
    I make 47,000 as a third year teacher and I'm surviving....but the cost of living is high so I basically have no savings. I have friends who make sooooo much more for a lot less work in an office job.
    (I'm not complaining, just what I notice:))
     
  25. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    And the weather would be better as well (apart from the hurricanes of course)!
     
  26. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Well, I'm up in north Texas so we don't have hurricanes. ;)
     
  27. MathManTim

    MathManTim Companion

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    A relative of mine teaches in the Chicago Public School system. She teaches special ed middle school, has 2 masters, and about 4 years teaching. She brings in about $62k.

    I'll easily believe $90k for blazer.

    MathManTim
     
  28. blessedhands

    blessedhands Comrade

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    Not all the time. Plus it depends on location.

    In these economic times, a pay cut, and a pay check is good enough and betttr than none at all.
     
  29. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    That's another thing. There is no such thing as a pay cut for teachers in the UK. OK we may not get a raise but a pay cut is unheard of even in these times. We are expecting a big influx of teachers as Graduates in industry and banks re-train and come into schools for the job and pay security.
     
  30. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    You could have a reasonable lifestyle. But, as a teacher living in the Chicago area, that is not a typical snapshot of what salaries are in this area. I taught 7yrs, and just broke 30K at that time. Some areas might be paying that to a secondary ed. w/your experience, but that is unusual. Plus, cost of living in the Chicago is still pretty pricey. To get a 4bed middle class home, an hour+ from the city it will still cost you about 350-500k.
     
  31. TampaTeacher2Be

    TampaTeacher2Be Comrade

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    I think some teachers are not paid nearly enough for all the work they do.

    I think some teachers are paid too much.

    That is my biggest gripe about educator pay - everyone gets an equal piece of the pie - whether they are going above and beyond - or they are doing just enough to get by.
     
  32. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    My first year teaching back in 1987 I took home $750 a month. That was with a bachelors degree, and I made more waiting tables on the weekends.

    It depends upon what school system you're in around here. Public school teachers make more for sure, but private school teachers don't get paid what they're worth. I teach in a private school and if I taught in a public school now that I've been teaching for 23 years, I'd get paid about $25,000 a year more.
     
  33. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    My first year teaching (1978) I made 8700. Salary went up about 300 a year for the first 5 years (we had a lousy union and hardazzz supt.) My brother dropped out of HS in 75 and made 18,000 as an asst. manager of a Sambo's restaurant. My brother has always made more than me working in restaurants or industry (Fla where the pay aint that good) without a HS diploma. IF I HAD TO DO it all again, I would have quit at 20 years (vested in the retirement plan) then gone to school for 2 years to be a nurse (and make REAL money) and another retirement. But NOTHING can be better than working with kids each day.................it is rewarding beyond words.
     
  34. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    In some areas the health benefits and pensions make a teachers overall package very substantial. I guess it all depend on your situation. Are you single or married with four children and the salary of your partner is.Making.
    Some children I teach, I would work with for nothing and some they couldn't pay me enough to work with!
     
  35. Ms Petunia

    Ms Petunia Rookie

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    As compared to other professionals with a masters degree, no, we do not get paid enough. If teachers got paid by the hour, YEEHAA I'd be making good money! I stayed at school till 8pm the last two nights in order to get myself organized and caught-up and on top of that I even brought work home (that part doesn't count though, I fell asleep several times on paperwork).
     
  36. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    When you are good at your job and love it passionately, what is really hard, intelligent work may look like, and sometimes feel like, play.

    I'm sure there are educational outsiders who think that a professional educator's job is also all fun and games. We know better, don't we?
     
  37. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    Our state legislature is voting as we speak on a 1.5% pay cut for ALL school employees next year. Ouch!

    Needless to say, we are all a bit anxious to see how this plays out. Many of my colleagues are already lining up summer jobs in anticipation of the pay cut.
     
  38. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    According to US Department of Labor statistics from about five years ago, teachers with a masters and 5 or more years of experience make an average of $30,000 less per year than someone of equivalent training in any other industry- get that? ANY other industry. Interesting.
     
  39. TampaTeacher2Be

    TampaTeacher2Be Comrade

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    I have to back Jem up on this one. I know when I worked in a corporate job, our entire department spent at least half the work day goofing off. Not to mention the 1.5 hr/2 hr lunches. The amount of work that teachers do, imho, is not even comparable to any corporate job.
     
  40. SoCal_Sub

    SoCal_Sub Rookie

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    The teachers unions don't think you are paid enough, because they don't think their getting enough dues. If teachers get a raise, they pay higher union dues. Ask your local union rep how much they make in salary. I bet it's a six figure number. Want to make it 7 figures?
     
  41. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Property prices are still lower in the US. In Birmingham (The UK's largest city after London) where I live my suburban 3 bedroom house would cost around £250K (Approx $350). A mile or so away from me the same style house would cost you over half a million pounds (not many teachers living in that district)!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009

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