Is this a bad time to go into teaching?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by PrettyInPink98, Apr 26, 2020.

  1. Apr 26, 2020

    I am a currently finishing my associates degree in an unrelated field but lately I've been thinking about going back after this for education. All I hear is people saying no jobs for teachers and the pay isn't livable. That makes me worried but I think i can manage. I guess my main question is, is it a bad time to go into teaching? Considering its going to take me two years to complete this degree.
     
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  3. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Apr 26, 2020

    I think it depends on where you are and what you are planning on teaching. If you are going into single subject, math or science, you are going to study the subject as well as the pedagogy. You can't lose, even if you decide not to teach.

    If you are worried about job prospects, look on edjoin.org to see what jobs are available and where.

    If you are concerned about attitudes, I have no idea.
     
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  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Apr 26, 2020

    I think it depends on a lot of factors - where you live, what you want to teach, if you have another source of income, etc. It could be a great time for you personally in if you live in an area with a teacher shortage or if you are getting certified in a subject that is hard to fill. However, if you are located in an area with more teachers than positions, or if you are wanting to be certified in a popular subject area, then it might not be the best time. And, again, regardless of where you live, whether it pays enough will depend on your own household budget and whether or not you have another source of income to meet your needs.
     
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  5. Apr 26, 2020

    I think I’d want to be with younger children k-2. Also, I live in New York.
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I can't speak for K-2 in New York, but someone else here might be able to. It might help if you mention whether its NYC or NY state.
     
  7. Apr 26, 2020

    New York State lol. Opposite from NYC. I live In a rural area
     
  8. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2020

    If you take the time to obtain a degree in education (Bachelors or Masters), you should be fine.
    Correct me if I am wrong (please!)...
    In 5-10 years, there should be a substantial amount of teaching positions available.
    It is a better time to get into teaching than a decade ago. I would suggest obtaining a degree in elementary education and 1 secondary level subject like science. Again, this is a suggestion...
    If you do want to be a teacher, make sure you want to do it to help your students and encourage them, because you want to guide youth to success, NOT because you think it would be good money or even easy....NOT because we get a lot of "free" vacation days (summer vacation). Please be certain that you are going to become a teacher who doesn't just teach curricula, but is available as an "at-school mother or father".
     
  9. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Specifically, the time it takes to obtain a degree in teaching will be actually good in the long run. There will be many teaching positions in a few years...
     
  10. Apr 26, 2020

    I want to go into teaching because I really enjoy working with children and want to make a difference in their lives. But I would be lying if I said the monday through Friday and summers off wasn't appealing too! Im just worried about not finding a job after spending another 2 years in school.
     
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  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Apr 26, 2020

    Teaching pays a livable wage here. We also have a hard time filling jobs. We have wya more jobs that qualified applicants.

    Do remember that teaching isn’t always Monday to Friday and summers off. The kids are there Monday to Friday 8 to 3 for 175 days a year, but teachers work more.
     
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  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    This is very true. I’ve worked many, many weekends, plus early mornings and late evenings. Teachers work many hours outside of the regular school day, so be prepared for that.
     
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  13. Apr 26, 2020

    I don’t mind working the extra hours.
     
  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I’m established enough (going on 7 years next year) that I don’t really plan any more. I mean, sure I tweak my lessons here and add new activities and such, but my lesson plans are pretty much written forever more such that I just swap out dates and adjust them as needed. I don’t feel as I have more than 30 minutes of prep work per week and I can almost focus entirely on teaching.

    Thus, for me, I get a massive amount of time off during numerous three-day weekends, four-day weekends, breaks such as Christmas Break and Thanksgiving Break, and the summer.
     
  15. Apr 26, 2020

    Thats
    That’s awesome! Sounds like you have a great system down.
     
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  16. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Apr 26, 2020

    PrettyInPink,
    If you are planning to teach in elementary school, especially K-2, this will never happen for you. They change the program every couple of years, and you have to basically start over, learn a new way, use new texts, standards change, everything changes. I've been teaching elementary for almost 20 years now, and I can honestly say I've never been able to re-use and just tweek lessons for more than 2-3 years. Then everything changes.

    In elementary school too, if you get good at your grade level, you can be sure, they will move you to a completely different grade level next year, and you have no say in the matter.

    Use to a first grade teacher would be a first grade teacher for the rest of her career (if she wanted to.) Now, they randomly move elementary teacher every 3 or so years -- sometimes more.
     
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  17. Apr 26, 2020

     
  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Apr 26, 2020

    Yes, digitize everything! I have folders for every thing stored on Google Drive and on my flash drive. I have one for each math class I can ever teach at the middle, high, and collegiate levels (Prealgebra, Algebra 1/Integrated Math 1, Geometry/Integrated Math 2, Algebra 2/Integrated Math 3, Algebra 3/Trigonometry, Statistics, Applied Math (Financial Algebra), Business Calculus, Precalculus, AP Statistics, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, Calculus 3, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Abstract/Discrete Math, and Advanced Calculus).

    Within each folder, I have sub-folders for Lesson Plans, Yearly Overviews/Scope and Sequences, Course Syllabi, Important School Documents, Teaching Credential Documents, Math and Science Textbook PDF’s.

    Within my AP Calculus Folder, I have subfolders titled AP Calc Multiple Choice (MC), AP FRQ Questions, Cheat Sheets (Summary Sheets of each Unit), Practice Exams, Test Prep Books, AP and Evaluator Scoring Sheets). The AP Calc MC subfolder within that is broken down into AB and BC subfolders.

    Here is a more comprehensive look into my AP Statistics folder:

    (1) Lecture Notes
    (2) Chapter Tests & Quizzes
    (3) Chapter Practice Tests & Quizzes
    (4) Practice AP Full-Length Tests
    (5) Practice FRQ’s
    (6) Finals
    AP Stats Prep Books
    Chapter Practice MC
    Chapter Review Question Answers
    Chapter Review Questions
    Chapter Summaries
    Graphing Calculator Guides
    Homework Solutions
    Lesson Plans, Yearly Overview & Syllabus
    Student Edition
    Unsorted Files
    Worksheet Answers

    Within (1) Lecture Notes, I have a “SMART Board Notes” folder and all of the Chapter Notes are organized by Unit. Within the SMART Board folder, each file is very clearly labeled “AP Stats Sec 1-1” and it goes in order all the way to the end of the last section of the last chapter in the book.

    I also have notes that I print out and give to students so they can fill in the blanks as I go along.

    Within my Geometry folder, I order it as follows:

    (1) Lecture Notes
    (2) Homework Solutions
    (3) Mid-Chapter Quizzes
    (4) Chapter Tests
    (5) Chapter Practice Tests
    (6) Finals
    (7) Powerpoints
    (8) SAT Warm-ups
    Chapter Summary Pages
    Countdown to Testing (for state tests)
    Midterm Review & Construction Handouts
    PDFs of PowerPoints (to email to students who miss class)
    Notes and Supplemental Material
    Worksheets & Handouts

    ***NOTE: If you put (#) in front of a folder it automatically gets sorted in that order. It is very useful for organizing your folders by how often you use them. The parentheses are so the number stands out and is easily caught by the eye.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
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  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Apr 26, 2020

    The easiest way is NOT to lesson plan by day, but by UNIT. To do that, just bust out your Yearly Overview and think to yourself, “Okay, Unit 1 should take me 2-3 weeks, so I know I need to cover the End of Chapter Test by such and such date and the Mid-Chapter Quiz halfway through the Unit. I also know I need to incorporate regular SAT practice and I will do that these days. Okay, now I need to plan how many instructional days I will have, how many collaborative exercises I will build in, and I should also plan for review days and days where I might need to reteach things.”

    Do you see? If you think about the big picture, it makes it almost effortless.

    I have a universal lesson plan template that works for ALL districts because it includes everything you could ever possibly need to give:

    Measurable Objective, Anticipatory Set, SAT/ACT Prep, Lesson of the Day, Guided Practice, Assessing for Understanding, Standards Covered (Common Core, AP, etc.), Homework, Materials Needed, Seating Plan (in the case of class activities plus else), and Accommodations for Students (I fill this in at the beginning of each academic year and this is the part that changes the most).

    Every single lesson plan I need is completely filled out already and ready to go!

    My job is practically done for me each year at this point, haha! I love it!
     
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  20. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Apr 26, 2020

    With our current virus scenario I suspect there are going to be major issues with pay going forward. That may be true to some extent with all fields, but IMO education takes much longer to catch up (or never catches up) unlike the private sector where eventually companies can start making more money for themselves. In my state education funding has never returned to pre-2008 levels, and I think we're in a for a world of hurt that's going to make 2008 look like nothing.

    I don't see the same issues with job availability, assuming there has to be a point where we go back to in person instruction. If we stay online it would be easier to make massive cuts. I really, really hope that there is just no way the online thing persists, but IDK. There seem to be a lot of people out there wanting to wait for a vaccine.

    Again, assuming schools go back to some version of "normal" I see there being plenty of jobs available. There is already a shortage of teachers in many areas, and if positions are temporarily cut a lot of those people will probably go into other careers rather than waiting around and trying to come back. Depending on how bad the pay situation gets (and I think this would vary around the country based on COL and how well school funding was doing in that area to begin with), more people will leave due to that as well.
     
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  21. Apr 26, 2020

    This is what scares me!!! I don’t want to take out a ton of loans to find out I can’t make a living . Thank you for your honest input
     
  22. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have my year planned out, and it is just tweaking lessons or adapting to changes. This year we have a new format. Standards changed a bit last year, so we had to adjust for those. We will have to plan some remediation for next year to catch up lost skills due to being out so much this year.

    I’m in year 27. Year 5 in my current grade. I don’t take work home, but I am usually home by 4 every afternoon. I plan one day a week to keep kids after if needed, one day for mandatory PLC work, and one day to prep for the following week. My late days are usually 4:30. We still have other meetings sometimes, plus we work ballgames and academic matches. There are family nights. We have 24 hours of professional development to attend. My commute is short (about 5-7 minutes) which I love.

    I’m lucky that I did not have any student loans. I had a scholarship to pay tuition, and my parents covered room & board. I started my masters halfway through my second year of teaching, and I paid for it myself.

    Cost of living is relatively low in my area, which helps a lot.
     
  23. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Apr 27, 2020

    The salary isn’t great, but it’s livable in many areas. Plus the benefits are pretty good. It’s all relative. With teaching, you can expect a decent starting income but you’ll see less dramatic salary growth over the course of your career. Many of my friends right after graduating began making less than me. Starting salary for teachers might be 40k; some of my friends likely started making 30k ish in their start up positions, plus they worked summers. But, ten years later, I might make 50k, but those friends might be making 60k or depending on how they’ve moved in the ladder. In another five years, I might be making 55k, but those same friends might be making 90k. You get the idea. These numbers are made up but not far from the truth where I live.

    You should also know that while getting into teaching “to make a difference” is a popular motivator, you sometimes feel that paperwork and school or state policies make that job two steps forward, one step back. Teaching can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s also exhausting and can be frustrating. I’m not trying to sound negative here... many of us still love working with kids! I’d recommend volunteering in an elementary classroom if you haven’t already to make sure you understand the job. Teachers wear many hats in a day!

    Finally, for job availability, I suggest looking at local districts in your area to see what they’re hiring. I live in an area with a constant shortage. Other areas may hardly ever have openings. To find job listings, search for: *desired city* district teaching positions. Also search for *desired city* district salary schedule or pay scale to see what you’d be making as it can vary a lot between regions.

    Good luck!
     
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  24. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    This is great advice. I am someone who went into teaching to "make a difference" and because I thought it suited my lifestyle and personal strengths. What I didn't think about, though, is that I am an introvert. Being "on" all day, constantly watching the clock, and moving from one thing to the next with few to no breaks is absolutely exhausting. This is true for anyone but even more so for someone as introverted as I am. I love being in the field of education, and I enjoy the face time that comes with teaching kids. However, if I could go back and do it all over again, I think I may have given more thought to the mismatch between my introverted tendencies and the demands of being a teacher. This remote learning actually suits me quite well because I get plenty of downtime, and the time spent doing my job right now is quite flexible. So, along with otterpop's advice, I recommend thinking about who you are at your core and determining if the demands of being a teacher suit you. As she said, volunteering in a school (for full days where you can see what teachers are doing every minute of the day) would give you a good idea of whether or not this job is for you.
     
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  25. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I think the main difference in your planning for your private school and someone teaching in a public school are the lesson plan/planning requirements. It has been my experience that for public school teachers, the lesson plan formats, standards, lesson requirements, etc seem to change year to year. That means we don't have the luxury of using last year's plans over again. For you...a wonderful benefit. For us...a tedious, unnecessary requirement.
     
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  26. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Apr 27, 2020

    If you do decide to go for it, keep in mind there are extra costs not included in tuition. The fingerprinting/background checks, standardized tests, edTPA if NY does it, internship fees, it can add up to $1,000+ over the course of the program.

    The actual teaching is the easy part. Trying not to let the rotten apples ruin the bunch, dealing with parents, all the meaningless paperwork hoops to jump through- that's what takes a toll. Be prepared to be sick a lot in your first year.

    Workplace drama can be another issue. Are you the kind of personality who can work closely with people you can't stand, or are harsh towards you, or steamroll your ideas? Can you function without having allies in your coworkers?
     
  27. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Some issues may be unique to teaching. Others are not unique:

    Workplace drama is rife everywhere. Difficult people don't collect in the teaching profession. At the same time, there are a lot of "difficult person" sources with teaching. Bosses are in every profession, as are coworkers and customers. But there are a lot of very passionate customers, kids and their parents.

    Paperwork and bureaucracy is an ever increasing problem everywhere.

    Licensing in any profession is going to be onerous. But I've got to admit that, with the vast differences between state requirements, each claiming some kind of "research based" validity, it is very clear that no one really has any idea what set of requirements makes a good teacher.

    Changing standards... absolutely a problem, in my opinion, and adds to my feeling that the phrase "research based" lacks credibility.

    Employee protections, weakening unions, degrading pension and retirement benefits are absolutely not unique to teaching.
     
  28. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I’m legitimately curious, what else could you possibly add to a lesson plan outside of all of the things I listed in each of mine?

    This is what I said earlier so you don’t have to scroll back and sift through the earlier posts:

    “Measurable Objective, Anticipatory Set, SAT/ACT Prep, Lesson of the Day, Guided Practice, Assessing for Understanding, Standards Covered (Common Core, AP, etc.), Homework, Materials Needed, Seating Plan (in the case of class activities plus else), and Accommodations for Students (I fill this in at the beginning of each academic year and this is the part that changes the most).“
     
  29. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I think it is as good a time as any to go into teaching (I am not factoring in the COVID situation as that is just too complicated to do right now.) Right now get some experience volunteering in classrooms and see if you like it. When you graduate, probably the toughest time will be your first two years for nearly any profession you choose. Your salary will be low and it might be difficult to get a job. If you do well in the job, it should get better from there. Each year, you will know more and be more valuable to a school as a teacher or an employee to a business. Your salary and job security should increase.

    What should you do to get prepared for this financially? Try to have as little debt as possible. If you don't have debt, you'll be in great shape. If you are filled with a lot of college loans, credit card debt, large car payments etc. it is going to be much more of a challenge financially. Good luck to you.
     
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  30. RaiderFan87

    RaiderFan87 Rookie

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    I was able to purchase a home on a single person’s salary. My contracted day ends at 2:35 (except for Wednesdays due to PLC or staff meetings) and I’m able to go to the gym and cook dinner after work. Yes, there are things I dislike about my job, but overall, this is the right profession for me and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
     
  31. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Okay, I'll give you an example. This is elementary school. This is only Math & ELA. These are the required components and must be filled out for each day! So this, times 5 for each week.

    Math
    • State Standard (Number and Full Description)
    • Measurable Objective
    • Essential Question (also to be worded in the form of an I can statement)
    • Materials
    • Productive Struggle - List specific selection
    • Anticipatory Set
    • Direct Instruction (I do…)
    • Guided Practice (We do...) List scaffolding techniques
    • Independent Practice (You do..)
    • Reteaching
    • Differentiation (SPED, ELL, Tiers)
    • Reflection & Assessment (Formal & Informal)
    • Homework
    Reading/ELA
    • State Standard (Number and Full Description)
    • Measurable Objective
    • Essential Question (also to be worded in the form of an I can statement)
    • Materials
    • Shared Reading
      • Skill for the Day/Focus Area
      • Shared Reading Selection & Format
      • Reflection & Assessment (Formal & Informal)
    • Read Aloud
      • Focus Area
      • Anticipatory Set
      • Text Selected, and Page Numbers
      • Follow-up Activity
      • Reflection & Assessment (Formal & Informal)
    • Phonics (Each group must be learning a different skill based on computer test results)
      • Skill of the Day/Focus Area -- Group 1
      • Anticipatory Set - Group 1
      • Reflection - Group 1
      • Skill of the Day/Focus Area -- Group 2
      • Anticipatory Set - Group 2
      • Reflection - Group 2
      • Skill of the Day/Focus Area -- Group 3
      • Anticipatory Set - Group 3
      • Reflection - Group 3
    • Guided Reading (Each group must be learning a different skill and using a different text based on computer test results)
      • Text Selection & Focus Area -- Group 1
      • Anticipatory Set - Group 1
      • Skill Activity - Group 1
      • Text Selection & Focus Area -- Group 2
      • Anticipatory Set - Group 2
      • Skill Activity - Group 2
      • Text Selection & Focus Area -- Group 3
      • Anticipatory Set - Group 3
      • Skill Activity - Group 3

    Obviously, I left writing out -- I didn't feel like looking all that up. Also not included was Science and Social Studies.

    Yes, I actually worked for a school that required this daily.
     
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  32. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    My lesson plans are whatever handwritten notes to myself I fit in a tiny 1.5”x1.5” box in my personal, self-selected planbook.

    This is legitimately one of the prime reasons that I have not left this district.
     
  33. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I would expect nothing less from you, Rain. You ARE a first-rate educator! :)
     
  34. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I always saw you as a pragmatic and practical person and this just confirms it. Love it, haha!
     
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  35. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    My post is going to be a bit different. You have to be open and honest about what financial life you want. Sorry, future, but your situation is more the exception than the rule.

    As a teacher in most places you won't make a lot of money. You will be expected to get a master's degree either at the start or within a while. (Some states this is not necessary.)

    But what can you really live on and be happy for decades? It is easy to say that you can live on little until you have to do it. Some can do it well. Some can live on 35K easily and comfortably (without a family). Others can't seem to get by on 80K. Their "needs" outweigh their salaries. Even if districts are giving raises and step increases it takes a very long time to have a comfortable wage in many areas.

    Think about it carefully since you are trying to enter a saturated section of teaching. If you were going for a hard science, computer, or math degree to teach, I would say have at it, you will always have a fall back. But you are going for elementary ed. Choose your elective courses wisely to build a good backup plan or even double major if you can swing it.
     
  36. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Apr 28, 2020

    Yes, my school is highly unique, but I’m talking about school districts in blue states. They pay quite nicely in a lot of areas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a starting salary of 35k for a teacher in my home state of CA. The lowest I’ve seen is just shy of 40k.
     
  37. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    But you also have to factor in cost of living... Comparing salaries to those in other states or even other regions within a state is comparing apples to oranges. Without knowing the expenses of an area, the salary tells you nothing.

    I made more my sixth year teaching than I do now in my tenth year. I lived in a “blue” state that year. But the cost of living was so much that I could only afford a studio apartment. When I returned to my current “red” state, even while earning a significantly lower salary, I was able to afford a nice 1-bedroom apartment (before meeting my husband and combining our incomes to afford a house).
     
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  38. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I completely agree and you’ve made very salient points.

    My comments were to say that the salaries in blue states tend to be higher on average and, IMO, generally much better and we have better benefits and respect to boot. Of course, cost of living has to be factored in, too.

    That being said, I know public schoolteachers who make six figures and they are only like 10-15 years in and they live in low to moderate cost-of-living areas. It is possible, especially now that salary schedules often reflect 3-4% annual raises and they increase as the state minimum wage increases. When the state minimum wage is $15/hr (or $31,200/year when annualized) I fully expect minimum teacher salaries to rise to $50,000+. After all, teachers will argue, “Why should I, as a starting teacher, be roughly paid ($45,000 now) what a minimum-wage worker makes?”
     
  39. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    In which areas is that happening, out of curiosity?
     
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  40. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Apr 28, 2020

    I would love to know specifically what parts of the country have teaching jobs (classroom teaching jobs) that pay in the 6 figures. I am very curious to know, because I've never run across that.
     
    bella84 and otterpop like this.
  41. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Apr 28, 2020

    I have seen it sometimes when researching salaries in California, but normally the salaries are waaaay up in the pay scale in years or steps, and always in very high cost areas.

    I’m curious too. I’ve never seen salaries that high with a lower cost of living.
     
    bella84 likes this.

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