The Teacher Salary Myth

"You took a teaching position, 'cause you thought it'd be fun, right?
Thought you could have summer vacations off...and then you found out it
was actually work...and that really bummed you out"

-- Carl to Vernon, in the Breakfast Club

Update May, 2015:  Since Jon Stewart raised the issue of Baltimore school under-funding, we look at the salaries of Baltimore school teachers.  Short answer:  On a full-year basis, Baltimore teachers start at over $61,000 a year, not including generous benefits.

If you go to the NEA web site, you will see that they argue that most of the problems in education boil down to either low teacher pay or overly high teacher productivity expectations (i.e. classroom size).  I fisked many of these claims here and here, but most media outlets still quote these assertions credulously when they write about education.

I have found (from some past emails I have received) that one of the ways to really irritate a teachers union rep is, when they lament their low salaries, to point out that they only work 9 months a year, and they should multiply their salaries by 1.33 to make them comparable to the rest of ours.  For example, per the NEA web site, teachers made a bit over $56,000 on average in California in 2004. Lisa Snell, in this month's Reason, estimates that benefits add nearly $16,000 to this compensation package, for a total of about $72,000 per year for California teachers.  Normalize this for the fact they work 9 months (or less) a year, and you get them making an equivalent of $100,000 a year.  Woe is me.

Of course, California is high vs. other states on salary, and the "9 months" estimate is only approximate, and doesn't count the fact that teachers typically work a shorter work week than many other professionals.  Fortunately, Snell pointed me to this article in Education Next, which has a fantastic rebuttal to the "teachers are underpaid" myth.

A substantial body of evidence implies that teachers are not underpaid
relative to other professionals. Using data on household median
earnings from the U.S. Department of Labor, I compared teachers with
seven other professional occupations: accountants, biological and life
scientists, registered nurses, social workers, lawyers and judges,
artists, and editors and reporters. Weekly pay for teachers in 2001 was
about the same (within 10 percent) as for accountants, biological and
life scientists, registered nurses, and editors and reporters, while
teachers earned significantly more than social workers and artists.
Only lawyers and judges earned significantly more than teachers"”as one
would expect, given that the educational training to become a lawyer is
longer and more demanding.

Teachers, moreover, enjoy longer vacations and work far fewer days per
year than most professional workers. Consider data from the National
Compensation Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which computes hourly earnings
per worker. The average hourly wage for all workers in the category
"professional specialty" was $27.49 in 2000. Meanwhile,
elementary-school teachers earned $28.79 per hour; secondary-school
teachers earned $29.14 per hour; and special-education teachers earned
$29.97 per hour. The average earnings for all three categories of
teachers exceeded the average for all professional workers. Indeed, the
average hourly wage for teachers even topped that of the highest-paid
major category of workers, those whose jobs are described as
"executive, administrative, and managerial." Teachers earned more per
hour than architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers,
statisticians, biological and life scientists, atmospheric and space
scientists, registered nurses, physical therapists, university-level
foreign-language teachers, librarians, technical writers, musicians,
artists, and editors and reporters. Note that a majority of these
occupations requires as much or even more educational training as does
K"“12 teaching.

Curious about the data she uses, I went straight to her source, which is here, and now has data through 2003 online that can be queried.  Sure enough, her conclusions are right there in the Labor Department data:

Professional or Technical Occupation 2003 $/hr
Technician $20.85
Avg. White Collar, ex. Sales $23.33
Avg. All Professional and Technical $28.37
Elementary School Teacher $31.74
Executive, administrator, manager $32.20
Engineer, architect, surveyor $34.34
Dentist $38.93
Lawyer $46.11
Doctor $52.91

Note that when corrected for hours worked onto a $ per hour basis, teacher salaries are higher than the average white collar or professional worker, and quite competitive with other professionals such as engineers and managers.  In fact, if you were to take out private school teachers (which mix the number lower, see below) the average for public school teachers is even higher.  Occupations making more than teachers such as doctors and lawyers require much more education and long-term commitment than the average elementary school teaching role.

By the way, the Education Next article linked above gives us another clue that is useful in understanding teachers salaries:  For the vast majority of professions, a government job in that profession pays less than an equivalent private job.  People accept the lower government salary for a variety of reasons --  sometimes for unique work (e.g. interning with the DA as a young lawyer), sometimes for the higher benefits and more job security, and sometimes just because the jobs require fewer hours and frankly have lower performance expectations than their private equivalent.  The one glaring exception to this public-private salary relationship is with teachers salaries, where the salaries of public school teachers are often as much as 50% higher than their private school equivalents.

Wow!  Its no wonder that the NEA hates the idea of school choice and competition from private schools.  They have built a public employment gravy train, with premium salaries, no real penalty for under-performance, and double digit raises for a 180 day a year job -- all while selling the media on their woe-is-me-we-are-underpaid myth.

Correction:  Messed up the Breakfast Club quote - it was spoken from Carl the Janitor to Vernon, not by "Carl Vernon".

Update: A lot of people ask "What do you have against teachers?" and I answer, "nothing."  I can't remember complaining about what any employee of a private firm makes.   In fact, for employees of private firms, I am happy to root for you to get all you can.  Go for it.  But teachers are not private employees -- they are government workers, just like every other government bureaucrat who gets paid by my taxes that are taken from me against my will.  If I pay your salary, and in particular if I pay your salary against my will, you can be sure I am going to demand accountability.

By the way, I send my son to a private junior high.  The school is widely acknowledged to do a much better job than any public school in the city.  And you know what - my tuition at this school is $2000 per year LESS than the average per pupil spending in Scottsdale public junior high schools.  And this school is 100% tuition supported (it is a for profit secular institution so it can't take contributions) and it turns a profit for the family that owns it.  You know how many principals, assistant principals, administrators, and clerks it has for a 300 person junior high school?   Two.  The number at a similarly sized public school would be ten times as high. At least.

  • I think that the higher pay for public vs. private teachers is a compensating wage differential. Public schools attract the worst students because they have the worst teachers. Also, these teachers have to put up with the worst co-workers. Maybe I could work for the NEA as their apologist.

  • dearieme

    In the UK, teacher pay is also quite good but
    there are longstanding shortages in particular subjects, particularly maths and physics. The markets do not lie: either these sorts of teachers should be paid more OR the job should be reorganised so that such people will take it at present pay levels. My guess is that it's the combination of indiscipline and bureaucracy that makes the job unattractive, at present pay levels, to physicists and mathematicians.

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  • I'm in complete agreement with you on this. The starting salary for an elementary school teacher in Chicago with Bachelor's Degree only is $39,000 for a nine month position. Benefits include health care and retirement plan and they don't have FICA deducted from their paychecks.

    There are specific places (frequently rural) where teacher salary is a genuine issue. But in major metropolitan areas the notion that teacher salaries are too low is a bald-faced lie.

  • When you factor in the per-hour pay, does that include time spent planning classes, preparing tests, grading test, and meeting with students? By bringing up the average salary you forget to mention if that includes principals, who make far more than standard teacher salary. Part of the problem with the pay system you find so easy is that it starts dramatically lower given the qualifications that go into the teaching degree and only gradually works it's way up. Tenure is not immediate, either. Also, there isn't the openings for dramatic advancement available to, say, lawyers. The real difficulty is managing at the lower end of the pay scale while working in an expensive area and knowing you won't advance out of that pay bracket for years. Whoops, I mean teachers have it so easy. They just play all day and take summers off! Plus, they get their teaching degrees in like, 2 semesters of college!

  • Judith

    I have been a teacher for 15 years. The salaries have increased and the work load has decreased. Our benefits are excellet. In a six hour work day...I have 40 minutes to prepare for four social studies classes. A 30 minute lunch and an additional 40 minutes for meetings. Because I have taught this class for a number of years, I do not need time in the evening to prepare. I have a special education teacher in the class as well as numerous aides. Not only do I have 10 weeks of summer vacation,I am entitled to 3 weeks additional vacation time, 20 sick days, 3 personal days etc.. By contract a teacher must stay after school ( 3:00 ) one day per week.
    It's a great job...the top salary here is 74,000 after 12 years and a Masters plus 60..School system also pays bobus for longevity and the best of all...we are not held accountable.. The NEA is a wealthy union and negotiates for teachers not students. No Child is the best thing for kids because now schools are being held accountable.... Judy

  • In response to Andrew.

    I am probably one of the few people who read this site who didn't graduate from college, but I do know some things.

    As far as Prep time, and the other "time consuming tasks"- After you've done something repetetive for the first few times, prep time is down to a minimum.
    grading tests? That's why you punch out the right answers on the multiple guess questions when you write the tests' master sheet.

    When you talk about pay differentials, the new guy always takes it in the shorts- education is no different than anywhere else.

    Tenure? Which other occupation has a "no fire" clause as a matter of course?

  • Teacher's pay shown to be comparable to the rest of working stiffs

    I’ve long thought that teacher’s pay, if annualized to be
    comparative with the typical full-year working stiff, would close in on
    the salaries of other white collar professionals.  Now,

    I was working in technology for seven years before I made as much (annually, not per hour) as a newly-minted elementary school teacher makes. The average workweek for most of those seven years was 68 hours, included (still does) carrying a pager and cell phone to be on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and also required working "flexible" shifts (in other words, no way to know from one week to the next whether you'll be awake in the daytime or at night). Summer vacations? Surely you jest. This year is the first out of the last 16 that I've had time off except for illness and major holidays (typical policy: 2 days at Christmas, one day each at Thanksgiving, New Year's day, Memorial day, Labor day, and the 4th of July, and 3 sick days per year before you get a serious talking-to about your "attendence problem"). Hell, I still feel guilty taking two days off last week to attend my father's funeral...I wouldn't have taken both of them if the best available travel arrangements hadn't required it, and even then I spent several hours both nights in the hotel room working over the internet.

    So no, "prep time" and "meetings with students" are not going to make me feel sorry for the poor put-upon teachers. When you can be fired for turning your cell phone off or going out of range or not waking up at 4am for your students to scream and swear at you about how everything going wrong in their lives is your own personal fault and you'd better fix it RIGHT NOW DAMMIT, then maybe we'll talk about how your job sucks enough that you should be paid more for it.

    Likewise with "tenure is not immediate". Really? A feature of your job that is utterly unknown in every sector of the working world except yours, and frankly incomprehensible to most of the people whose taxes pay your salary, and you have to wait a few years before it gets handed to you? Oh, poor you. Want to borrow my hanky?

  • Scott

    The NEA had done its best to hold up public school teachers as stewards of the nation's future. Arguments about accountability aside, in many ways this is true, but such an image is meant to selfishly convey that teachers are worth far more than the market offers. This is my own personal take only.

  • Mini-fisk of a fisk... of teachers' salaries

    While I agree in principle with the purpose and some of the content of the article, "The Teacher Salary Myth" on Coyote Blog has to say about public school (prisons for kids) teacher pay, this comment revealed an area where Coyote Blog is sucking swa...

  • I'm going to make the politically incorrect comment that you don't have to be that smart to be a teacher.

    Teachers have lower average SAT scores compared to other college graduates.

    A lot of teachers simply wouldn't be able to pass the Bar Exam.

    I've personally known some really dumb teachers (but I've known some really smart ones too).

  • Sandra

    I have been a programmer in a small business for the last 20 years, and when I leave this fall to become a high school math teacher, I will take *no* cut in pay and get more days off in addition to Christmas and summer vacations. Like Matt, I have also been in the situation (fortunately not now) of being on call 24/7 and carrying an electronic leash. I've already told my friends that if they *ever* hear me complain about my salary to whop me upside the head.

  • John

    I know I am a little late in posting, but, even as a California public school teacher, I agree with just about everything I have read here. I left the private sector three years ago because I truly want to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Teaching is the perfect job for this, and an added benefit is a lot of vacation time, good benefits, and some relatively decent pay. But, I do take my job seriously. I work hard during the day, I put in many hours, including weekends, and I think that teacher tenure is the most absurd thing I have ever encountered. Much to the disapproval of my fellow teachers, I also think that holding teachers accountable for their students’ performance is a reasonable requirement. I almost enjoy brining up these things to my co-workers and hearing their canned union rebuttal. If the education reforms of No Child Left Behind are left in place and those proposed by Schwarzenegger are enacted, we might see a positive change in the near future. Otherwise, if it were up to the CTA and the NEA, schools would continue to fail and teacher salaries would continue to grow.

  • Robert

    That's a nice little article. Now let's see how many people will higher a teacher over that "3 month" period of time for any hourly wage. Not to say teaching is comparible but in Nebraska a teacher makes about 22000, not california money, and even in florida, in some counties, it's below 30000 but no where even with any benifits package, is it 72000. Like I said it's a nice little article.

  • Rob

    Sorry I forgot to add something about the dumb teacher comment. I'm 35 years old and going back to college to teach high school math and I could really care less about how hard some of your jobs are (I'm a two time combat vet with the U.S Army 82nd Airborne) but if any of you think that it doesn't take smarts to take calculus 1,2,3, and differential equations as prep courses to get into the college of education to teach math you may what to rethink it. These are the same prep courses that engineers take. Yes I could be an engineer ( I have a 4.0 first year and a half) but I chose to teach math because I think I can help people understand it. The pay should be comparable on a yearly basis and the kids should have to go to school on a yearly basis. We are behind the rest of the world until the kids graduate from a four year unviserty then it equalls out but alot of kids never make it in. That is what teacher's are supposed to do give kids the confidence to believe in their ability. Oh and by the way mr. "i don't know if I'm getting any sleep or not cause my beeeper, pager, phone might go off" Try not sleeping because you head might get blown off. I feel sorry for you

  • Benae

    Why are you all so down on teachers? I mean we work hard 24/7 during the school year. Well at least I do. My salary does not cover all of my expenses. I have to spend so much a year to do activities with my class because materials are not provided. Maybe in your eyes teachers are paid alot but many of us feel the pinch.

  • Mom

    I am a teacher at a middle/junior high school and I know I don't get paid enough for what I do. I have 8 hour day with 30 minutes for lunch, that is if the kids will go directly to lunch. Generally it works out to be 20 or 25 minutes. My conference time is spent attending meetings, grading papers, and increasingly being asked to cover other classrooms so this is not "free time". In the evenings I spend time on the internet finding out ways to do my job better - better instruction, better presentation, new concepts and grading more papers. That's at least 10 hours a week that I do not get paid for. In addition, I have to fufill at least 12 hours a year of staff development to maintain my acceptable rating to qualify for a 3 percent pay increase (if it's available). This also is unpaid. Yes, this year the last day of school was June 2 and I expect to go back to school during the 2nd week of August (2 months). Sure I get two months off but if I am to be an effective teacher I have to spend that time buying materials out of my own pocket for my students - pencils, notebooks, pads, markers, erasers, books for the teacher supply stores, etc. I spend at least $150 before August and more during the year once I get the kids. Add in the hours for the shopping and the creativity. Don't get me wrong. I love being a teacher, wouldn't trade it for anything else. Stop knocking us. I don't even hang out in my neighborhood because invariably I will meet someone who was my student years ago and then I have to be in "teacher" mode. This is my 9th year and finally I make $40,000. As for that "not paying into FICA". I pay into Teacher Retirement. I will not get Social Security when I retire so this is my alternative. I don't know about the NEA because there are no comparable unions in the state I live. That crack about the beepers - either you obviously do not have a college degree or else you like being dangled from a cord. Why would you put up with it? My question is "Why would you put the most important thing to you (your children's well-being) in the hands of people you don't respect? Homeschool them! I've known quite a few parents who tried it for a short while and then came back. BECAUSE IT'S HARD! Remember all of that irrelevant stuff you learned that you have forgotten? We have to keep up with all of that so we can tell your kids and the cycle goes on...

  • 3rdcareerteacher

    I am an elementary school teacher who makes less than 40.000 without benefits (I use my husband's plan) except retirement and fully tazed by every method possible. I have been teaching 3 years. I am not sure which state gives their teachers 3 months off, but it's not mine. Additionally, a prepared, professional, and good teacher must work weeks after school is out (after post-planning) and weeks before school starts (before pre-planning) to get the classroom ready, especially if you are changing rooms or grades. There is no extra pay for this, but make no mistake, IT IS EXPECTED! For my first 2 years of teaching, there was no budget for teaching supplies and very few were provided by the parents. When I worked in the software business, I could take breaks when I desired, have an hour lunch, and go to personal appointments as needed. As a teacher and new mother, I had to stop nursing my baby early, because i did not have enough private time to pump milk for my baby. I have alos never had a lunch break ever. We eat with our students (there are no monitors),and our planning time is taken up with meetings, and so on. I am at work by 7:00 and cannot be late due to traffic or personal reason, and I stay until at least 4:00 (without a break remember). We work on a contract basis, year to year. We are presented with the contract in Feb. and it must be signed within a few days. Once the contract is signed, we cannot get a job somewhere else without penalty. In our school system, the "public" teachers are far better than the "private" teachers. Most teachers who work in the private schools could not cut it in the public setting. Also, most student who attand the private schools are unable to transition to the public schools because the public schools are too hard for them. There are definitely some lazy and worthless teachers who do not care about the kids, but most teachers are educated well beyond their pay and most teachers make great sacrifices for their students. By the way, I have my Master's degree (not by online or mail order, or in the education field either). Are teachers underpaid? Well, they are certainly not overpaid!! Even if you calculate the salary as if it were earned all year. In fact, on our pay scale, even a teacher with the highest degree,and 30 years experience barely makes 100.000 a year. Someone needs to do some reasearch somewhere other than California, where they can't even afford to higher and pay the number of teachers they need to educate their population.

  • 3rd career teacher

    I wanted to add that I love my students and they love me and teaching is the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever had.

    Typos: higher/hire

    Tazed/taxed

    Some commas and spaces missing

    I was typing with my 21 month old in my lap

  • theinfamousj

    Does this take into account the amount of work done "off hours", such as lesson planning, grading at home in the evenings or on the weekends, continuing professional development that takes place over the summers, or after-school tutoring?

    As a college TA, I was only listed as working 9 hours, but I actually timed my working time and it clocked in more as 15 hours (they didn't consider grading or prep time) so I can see where such a mistake may come from.

  • theinfamousj

    I'd like to speak to those who said that grading time is negligible if you "punch out the correct answers" when making the test. Well, how exactly would you do that for an English class where you are asked to write an essay? Or perhaps for a Social Studies class where you have to label a map? How about for a Chemistry class where you are asked to write out a chemical equation? Or are you someone who actually likes multiple choice as the only means of testing/assessing a student?

    And, honestly, do you want your children being taught by a person who hasn't taken the time to update their lesson plans in 10 years and just teach by wrote? What about their individuality and their learning speed? I've taught my class six times now, and while I have gotten faster (I can anticipate problems), I still have to modify my lesson to the particular nature of my class.

  • John

    As a former Economics major and current high school math teacher, I think this whole line of thought is completely backwards.

    Instead of questioning why teachers should get more money (and I recognize that this is the argument of the union), we should look at shortages in school systems and the wretched conditions, especially in the Bronx where I teach.

    Once conditions in the schools improved where violence, metal detectors, constant chatter and yelling, tolerated disrespect, and students wandering the hallways weren't nightmarish, wouldn't it be a dream to be a teacher, just like the author suggests. (It's a zoo). And it's not like one teacher will change the culture of poverty and disinterest inherent in our city schools. Teachers are asked to do Herculean tasks, and they are not appreciated for their efforts.

    If it is so enviable to be a teacher, we should not be discussing pay, but we should be discussing how I could sign you up to teach with my kids. Write me and I'll sign you up for the program I went into, called the NYC Teaching Fellows program, where they even partially subsidize your masters. Yet I should warn you; there's a sharp learning curve and very little support. If all you wanted was pay, you wouldn't teach. I'm switching into an actuarial career at the end of this school year because of the prospective pay. I'm tired of the social work with no thanks. Thank you.

  • Tom

    Id like to thro in my two cents as an educator, who I believe it underpaid. First of all let me introduce you to a typical weekday for me.

    4:30AM wake up-eat, go running
    5:45 Drive to school
    6:15-7:00 Preparation
    7:00-7:30 Meetings w staff/students
    7:30-11 Teach
    11:00-11:30 - Lunch duty
    11:30-12:30 Prep time (grade, plan lessons, attend meetings etc)
    12:30-2:10-Teach

    Now the fun begins, note that I am officially off the clock and now none of this figures into the hourly wage that you have calculated

    2:10-3:00 Meet with students for extra help or club meeting to supervise

    3:00-4:00- Work

    Generally I leave school around 4:00 o'clock, go home, cook dinner for my fiance and myself, eat and then at 6:00 we get back to work (we are both teachers) we work until 9:30, and go to bed.

    And those absurdly long vacations we have. Did you know that most states mandate professional development each year that is nearly impossible to accomplish during the regular school day? I spent 3 weeks last summer at an educational institue, took a couple of weeks off for vacation, and then came back home to redesign the world history curriculum.

    You are correct in saying that some teachers do not put as much effort as I do into their teaching. Effective teaching involves reflection and lesson creation on a regular basis. Even a teacher who has taught for dozens of years should constantly be reworking lessons to meet the needs of his/her students. This takes a significant amount of time.

    I am not advocating massive raises for teachers. TO be honest, I am satisfied with my pay, but not my benefits. However, to suggest that teachers are overpaid is, in my opinion, grossly innaccurate. The majority of us work much longer hours than you may realize. Please take this into consideration before suggesting the teachers are overpaid and have some sort of agenda to better ourselves at the expense of our children.

    To see the effects of what happens when teachers work only to the extent of their contract, check out a district where the teachers are "working to rule" That is, working only for the hours that they are paid to work. You will find these districts are in horrible shape. Im not advocating teachers to resort to such drastic measures, just suggesting that you take such things into account before direspecting teachers in a public forum. Teachers often work many hours than they are required to for no additional monetary compenation.

    Believe it or not I have to go grade ome paper now! (yes it is Sunday, so i guess im not getting paid for this.) By the way, there are no "punch out" question for me to grade. IN three years of teaching ive yet to give a multiple guess examination
    THANKS!!!!

    Tom

  • gwen

    It's really not about the money. People who are driven to teach care very little about their salary except to be able to live a middle class existence. Teaching stretches you daily but it also excites and thrills you when you see a students 'get it'when you have worked hard to help them. Right now I teach part time which is the best of both worlds for me(I am otherwise consumed with raising my five children)but I have taught full time in the public schools and my biggest complaint when I taught HS was that They hadn't trained me to be an army drill sergeant or parole officer. I found teaching elementary school much nicer but there is this idea that the teachers are only one step more mature than the kids and are treated that way. The private school I am at now is MUCH better in both these respects but the pay is abyssmal.But if they can afford it (other spouse makes enough) our teachers stay and are all dedicated to the task of educating. I don't think the unions do anything to help teachers or kids. If you know a teacher encourage them in their noble pursuit but if they are whining all the time encourage them to get another job.

  • Maria

    I have been teaching elementary school for 7 years and currently a teacher on special assignment to provide staff development for teachers in my school district. After college, I spent a little over a year and a lot of money on attaining my teaching credential In California. In addition to coursework, I took a total of 4 costly state mandated examinations to be able to get it (CBEST, MSAT, RICA, and Bilingual CLAD). After having pumped so much money into my education, my first paycheck came to about $1700 net. In california we pay into our own retirement (Cal STRS) and our monthly insurance coverage doesn't even pay for the most basic PPO or HMO so we have to supplement with our own money. So after seeing my first check and having spent my first year of teaching practically living in my classroom teaching, planning, grading I was very dissapointed in my salary. I worked in my classroom until late evenings, and most of the weekends. My son pretty much spent most of his early childhood in my classroom. On top of the time spent in the classroom for which I wasn't paid, I spent a lot of my own money buying supplies. I eventually decided to get my Masters Degree in order to get paid a little more. Teachers are also required to renew credentials every 5 years for which you should have at least 500 hours of staff development. Most of which teachers do on their "long vacations" with their own money. Most teachers can't just use the same lesson plans every year for their classes. Every 5 years or so there is a new curriculum adoption for which you must receive training for and spend a great deal of time planning for because it is new curriculum. Teachers in Private schools are not required to have a teaching credential and therefore why they are usually paid considerably less. I know this because my son is in Catholic School and some of the teachers he has had didn't. I work a ten month contract, not a 9 month. We get 2 weeks at Christmas for which we spend most of the time in our classroom cleaning up our Winter/Holiday decprations in our classroom and cleaning uo the messes of the Holoiday Classroom Parties. Then you have to change the bulletin boards to January boards etc. We get 1 week during spring break which is also spent on prepping for end of the school year paperwork and tests. It takes me about a week after school lets out to clean up and about 2 weeks before school starts to set up. I worked in a school where the great majority of the students where low SES and on free and reduced lunches. That alone presents challenges that I won't even begin to get into. I usually got home exhausted... sometimes I cried at how stressful the job got sometimes. You must have a very big heart and a whole lot of patience to work with children all day. That's why the job is in my opinion underpaid. In reality. I couldn't just go to the bathroom, I had to wait until recess! I couldn't just go and take a break. At recess I dealt with the kids who didn't turn homework in or who needed to be disciplined. At lunch I had to run copies, sharpen pencils and prepare for the next lesson, no nice lunches in the lounge or at a nice restaurant. Now that I am out of the classroom and helping teachers with our newly adopted curriculum, I get to talk to more teachers. I see them working late hours and weekends. I see them taking classes at night to update themselves on new research in learning. It was very disappointing to see some of the comments on this website. You need to take on a classroom for a week, do all the planning, grading, teaching, cleaning, phone calls home, recess duties and disciplining. Then I want to see you say sure! I'll do it for a whole year for a starting salary of about 35,000 averaged over a 12 month period! Oh don't bother correcting my grammar or typos... I was very angry when I typed this and editing was the least of my worries.

  • I taught for roughly ten years in middle and high school and I can say unequivocally that this blogger is TOMA (talking out of my ass). You can make a lot more money hammering boards together for a living here in Nor. Cal. than you can teaching, without little assholes giving you shit, without worthless parents bitching you out for doing something that made their little girl flip you off, without dealing with incompetent principals who sell you out at the drop of a hat. How much does that 42k a year add up to during that summer vacation, assuming you aren't taking a course to renew your credential? zip. Nada. Nothing. YOu can't even own a house, or start a business. Or a family, without some kind of help.

    Every day some little asshole tried to get my goat. "You can't do that" "I'll sue you!". Administration would back them. I tried to break up a fight once. I was suspended for six months because the girl acted like I hurt here while she was trying to clobber this other girl. When she attacked me, I got her under control. She told other kids "I can't get in anymore fights or I won't get any money". The NAACP actually demanded my job.

    To the guy who said we can't pass the bar; I'll post my results in Nov., a-hole....

  • michael

    After reading lot of these post, I realized that most of the negative chaff re.public school teachers came from fundamentalist Christian or extreme Republicans whose goal is to be to dismantle the public school system and funnel money towards religious schools. This drive towards Talibanization of American education can only result in the reduction of USA to 2-rate world power. Imagine if 20%-40% of U.S. schools would teach in their science classes the Earth is 5000 years old and other scientifically ignorant nonsense like that. Where would our technological edge come from? From Asian foreign-visa students, as usual? The great strides that Us education has taken--since "Sputnik" shaken us to the realization that we're behind in science-- could be lost to satisfy the religous fanatics in our midst. Oh, by the way: If some of you don't support evolution, please stop using "fossil" fuels. Crude oil deposits, the product of the fossilization over millions of years doesn't exist..right?
    Michael

  • kirk

    some of you guys work in technology and earn just as much as a teacher? lol lol lol too funny! You guys must be the lowly IT desktop support. I work as an IT consultant and make more than 150k a year. If teachers make so much money why don't you guys join them instead of complaining? I would like to see that happen. lol lol For those losers that are on call 24/7, TOO BAD! That just shows how low you are on the totem pole. You make what you deserve.

  • Tori

    Funny...that there are all these comments and no updated reply from you. I guess you will not admit defeat!

    When I work it out.....for all the hours that I actually work in a FULL YEAR....I make about $20 an hour, which is FAR below what other white collar professionals make.

    I could repeat the comments that other teachers wrote, but there is no need!

    By the way, on the topic of school choice - Arizona has school choice. Parents can send their students to any public school they want to.....so what do this equal out to??? Arizona is among the lowest in teacher salaries in the country and has ridiculous per pupil expenditures. Do you homework. It doesn't work!

    Finally, yes there are "bad" teachers and teachers who are dumber than rocks, but MOST of us are intelligent and caring persons. I took the ACT and my scores were in the upper 20th percentile. You are an ass sir!

  • Tom

    In some places teachers are well-paid. Do remember that unlike other professionals I live near, teachers don't bill the company for overtime or weekend work. In districts where achievement is valued, teachers work very hard not only prepping and teaching but in record keeping and parent communication which takes much more time daily due to e-mail and phone mail.

    So yes, many teachers are well-paid. Just be careful that you don't vent your anger over a teacher you once had on the entire profession.

  • II guess I am the worst person on the board right now- I am a teacher and a union president! …Ok, a few thoughts:

    First, let’s not make the exception the norm. Every school (like every office) has some bad employees. There are teachers who made their lesson plans 10 years ago, leave as soon as the contract says they can, bore their students to tears and collect a paycheck. Probably the worst part of being union president is protecting the rights of bad teachers. The reason these bad teachers exist, however, is because administrators didn’t fire them in the first two years when they had the chance. My high school keeps less than ½ the teachers we hire each year because they are not good enough- it is the right of the principal and I rarely disagree with their decisions about who to let go.

    The biggest mistake people outside of education make is to compare schools to a business and then conclude that private schools or test score comparisons will force teachers to just “teach better”. If you want to measure my performance based on a standardized test, then let me choose my students, the same way a project manager would choose his workers. The big lie of “No Child Left Behind” is that it requires every student in California to be proficient by 2014. Sounds good, right? It ignores that reality that all students don’t come to school ready or able to learn for a variety of reasons- the language they speak, what learning disabilities they might have, what emotional problems they might be going through, how many days they actually go to school or a million other reasons. Furthermore, we take everyone who walks through the door and by “proficient” they mean about a “B” student. Now imagine if your boss had to hire everyone who came through the door and make sure they were all good or excellent at their jobs. Furthermore, you can’t fire anyone and must actually spend more time and money if they don’t do their jobs. Your entire performance as a boss is measured by how well these employees do on a standardized test of their jobs over a 4-day period in spring. (Oh, the test doesn’t count to your employees- it doesn’t affect their pay or job status, but you try and get them to take it seriously anyway). You get the results 6 months later when they have moved on, so it really doesn’t help you teach them better. Your reward? Reading editorials and web pages that say you aren’t doing your job and you have it easy….

    If teaching is so easy and high paying, why do so few people go into this profession?

    Pete, Windsor CA

  • Bryan Carter

    It is easy for many to feel that teachers are not, in fact, "underpaid". However, I would like to point out that teachers' salaries vary greatly from state to state and district to district. The comment about how it doesn't take much intelligence to be a teacher is completely ignorant. I have three college degrees (B.A. English Literature from the University of Washington, B.A.E. in Secondary English from Eastern Washington University, and a B.A. in History from Eastern Washington University), and to think that I couldn't do anything else because I'm "dumb" is laughable. Here's a day in my life.

    - Wake up at 5:30 am
    - Open weight room at 6:00 am for weightlifting
    - Clean up and prepare classroom 7:00
    - Teach two-hour block 7:30-9:40
    - Maintain an efficient classroom ensuring ALL students are learning
    - Continue to build and establish relationships with students to ensure greater student achievement
    - Identify signs of drug use, alcohol abuse, physical or sexual abuse, bullying, lice, etc.
    - Have all materials and information ready (which means researching on your own time, collecting materials, copies, etc.)
    - Incorporate technology such as PowerPoints, video clips, Internet, word processing, etc.
    - Use formative and summative assessment to adjust your teaching and lessons to best suit the needs of kids
    - Teacher meetings discussing student issues, cooperative lessons, planning, etc. 9:40-10:15
    - Teacher planning time to research, correct assignments for formative assessment, create detailed lesson plans that align with state standards 10:15-11:15
    - Lunch, but in my case, volunteer lunch duty (to help build rapport with student body) 11:15-11:45
    - Teach second block 11:45-2:00
    - Applied Academics (enrichment period, drug training, alcohol awareness, etc.) 2:00-2:20
    - Prepare and plan for athletics 2:20-2:40
    - Practice (I coach football, baseball, basketball, and wrestling - four middle school seasons) 2:40-5:00
    - Arrive home 5:30 pm

    At this point, you'd figure it's been about 11 hours of work. However, this does not include the 2 to 3 hours I spend in the evening researching information, studying other lessons to incorporate in my classroom, handling phone calls if needed, analyzing and reflecting on my own performance, designing meaningful lessons that align with state standards, handle emails, etc. So a typical day this past 9 months would be approximately 12-14 hours. That's 60-70 hours per week. That's just as much, if not more than, most other occupations. And I made $50k this past year. That may sound a lot at first, but consider that in the current state of things, much of that goes to student loans, housing costs, and in many cases, continuing education costs. We must take additional courses that are not financed by the school district. This means that I must pay for my own graduate work (which adds more time on top of everything else) in order to maintain my teaching license. On top of all this mayhem, we must add the fact that 75% of parents today feel that I am their child's babysitter, and if their child does anything wrong, it must be somehow the result of my doing.

    Let me put this in perspective. I have a brother who was a 10-year veteran at Microsoft. He is one of the best in his field and makes approximately three times the salary I do. The statement about SAT scores seems to contradict my experience. He had a 1220 on the SAT, and I had a 1210. He was a 4.0 student in high school and graduated from the University of Washington with honors. I had a 3.99 in high school, was an all-state athlete, and graduated with high marks at the University of Washington as well. My father, a teacher of 34 years, is an incredibly intelligent individual who can describe almost anything about Pacific Northwest History, physiology, anatomy, or physical education off the top of his head at any moment in time. To say he's "below average" in intelligence, or that I am below average in intelligence because we teach is an absurd statement. Many of us chose this profession knowing we'd be underpaid, but as a second-generation teacher who has grown up living the life of a teacher, I can say clearly that these comments posted here are hurtful. Being underpaid is one subject, being completely and utterly unappreciated for the work we do is appalling. I see programmers and technicians on here. Good for you, I am happy with your work and the efficiency you've produced in the world today. However, would you have the slightest idea how to even do any of that without your teachers? Would you have doctors, lawyers, politicians, or business people without the guidance, support, and wisdom of teachers to build them? Sure, you can state Einstein dropped out of school, as did Bill Gates. But any list of dropouts will show a rather short and exclusive group of geniuses that are exceptions to the rule. I will guarantee that 99% of school dropouts are not successful, and I also guarantee that 99% who finish school are far more successful than if they didn't.

    Finally, we are given the responsibility of your children. Many like you cannot handle your own kids. Don't criticize teachers when we have to deal with kids dealing drugs, showing up to school with guns and knives, threatening us, fighting us, berating us. Don't criticize when we deal with gangs, rapes, and the emotional destruction of young people around us everyday. Don't criticize us when we have to work with students who have severe handicaps and be expected to conduct miracles. I won't belittle any other occupation, but I ask that you do not belittle us for what we do, and I ask that you don't make the ignorant claim that teachers are not underpaid when we deal with far more things than many of you. In our job, when we fail, it doesn't mean money. It doesn't mean additional hours of work. It doesn't mean we scrap the idea and move on. It doesn't mean we spend several more hours typing code, editing text, or be on call 24/7. When we fail, a kid's life is completely changed. If we fail, then a person's life will never be the same.

  • Brian

    There are the exceptions that really work hard. When my mom taught she worked on it all day from morning till night most of the time during the schoolyear.

    Although some work hard, some teachers don't do a thing.

    They come in 30 minutes early and leave about 30 minutes after school (still not 8 hours). They grade everything at school and brag how they don't work that hard. They are either really organized, know their stuff, or are lazy not really caring.

    In my experience it was rare to see a teacher who really cared about the position. They get paid what they are worth while the one who really try hard aren't paid even close to how hard they work.

    Consider this:

    -Regardless if you have a shorter summer than your students you still get more time off compared to professionals with the same years of experience.

    -You have guaranteed raises in most states. Your pay is scaled each year. If you are a crap teacher, you still get a raise. Consider professionals who work hard and can't get raises for a few years or unless the company they work with is profitable.

    -You know exactly how much money you are going to make. Seriously, before going into the profession you can see on paper what pay is given for educational levels and years of experience. If you didn't like what you saw, don't become a teacher in the first place. I'm not a teacher and I know what they make in my state based on that same scale.

    -No one has it easy in the professional world. Most people are working hard, getting up early, and have all sorts of garbage to deal with during the day. Teachers aren't the exception.

    If you work hard, I appreciate you and feel sorry for you. If you are a slacker, you don't earn what you are paid.

  • Kevin

    I was a young and single computer teacher for five years before moving into technology management. Big reason was the salary ... 32k to 99k! And the best part, I get to use my teaching skills during conference workshops or company training events.

    Part of the problem is most people feel K-12 teachers work only 7.5 hours per day, then go home. Society thinks this is a blue-collar position where you get up, work, then go home. What isn't accounted for are: outside time spent planning lessons, grading papers, attending mandatory workshops, spending own personal money on supplies, spending time with students outside of class, fixing computers, spending own personal money on tuition expenses, dealing with parents, dealing with administrators who haven't been in the classroom in 20 years, and in my case ... taking additional technology classes to further my technical knowledge. So really, it's a blue and white collar position with constant non-paid overtime. This is the same for assistant principals/vice principals, but their salaries reflect this extra work (which is the same as a teacher).

    Another problem too is there are a lot of administrators who label younger teachers, such as myself, as "inexperience" or "lack teaching skills" because of their age. I took this as an insult, because I had technical training skills that were highly sought after when leaving the profession. And I had a history of networking with kids inside and outside of the classroom as a teacher, coach, mentor, and community volunteer.

    I also get sick when I read or hear "we need to encourage more mentor programs." After my first year, my mentor was great; the overall program was a joke! We both met (along with other first year teachers), watched some outdated educational videos on classroom management, talked about non-relevant issues pertaining to our classroom environments, and received $1,000 for doing this after six sessions! My designated mentor was kind enough to inform me at the start of this program that it was "easy money" and "sort a joke because all these administrator types are doing is showing you videos and talking about their experiences as a teacher 10-20 years ago."

    My students, at times, were loud only because they were being engaged with the learning environment being offered to them! One teacher told me "when they were your age, they had a different classroom environment vs. an active learning environment like yours, Kevin."

    Depending upon where you live, 30k per year can go further in a rural town versus a major metro area such as Seattle (where I live).

    What really should happen is union and state officials need to come up with a salary schedule reflective of the cost of living associated with one's area; perhaps indexing/leverage it to the average home price for that particular community. Teachers that are most needed in a metro area should average out to 50k-90k per year; and those in rural areas can expect to make 35k-70k per year. Also, there should be a program for educational reimbursement for those requiring additional training (advanced technical classes, scientific/math classes, etc.)

    The bottom line to retain teachers:
    *Higher salaries
    *Flexible training solutions for vocational/high need teachers with full reimbursements
    *Make the profession feel like a management role. Encourage teachers that "they are in charge" of their environment.
    *Another option: Cut the school day to half a day, allow the other half for lesson planning, development, training, meetings, etc.

    Overall, I did enjoy being a computer education instructor; but felt I was working in an outdated system that needed some major improvements (high school education environment).

    Just my two cents.

  • Megan S.

    While you make some interesting and valid points, I believe you fail to recognize that most teachers, and I, as a first year teacher, spend many hours after their regular workdays doing the following: making parent contacts, remediating weaknesses and administering detention, researching and re-learning materials to teach, planning and preparing work, then grading work and papers completed by the students. If you calculate the four to five hours I spent nightly doing lesson plans and grading papers, added to the weekends I work as a remediator, and the weekends I spent planning and grading papers, you will see that the TWO months off in the summer, taken up partly by conferences, will be balanced by the extra time after our jobs that we put in while some other professionals come home and can make dinner or have some free time. Also, the challenges of motivating students in an urban setting, combined with the thick skin one must develop in response to the disrespectful attitude characteristic of an urban student to simply bounce off of you contribute to a very burnt-out attitude. I truly thought the salary was sufficient BEFORE I became a teacher in an urban setting. I am now seeing how hard it is to do this occupation and I am changing my opinion. I believe you must work in a hard teaching setting before you can comment validly on this subject.

  • Megan S.

    While you make some interesting and valid points, I believe you fail to recognize that most teachers, and I, as a first year teacher, spend many hours after their regular workdays doing the following: making parent contacts, remediating weaknesses and administering detention, researching and re-learning materials to teach, planning and preparing work, then grading work and papers completed by the students. If you calculate the four to five hours I spent nightly doing lesson plans and grading papers, added to the weekends I work as a remediator, and the weekends I spent planning and grading papers, you will see that the TWO months off in the summer, taken up partly by conferences, will be balanced by the extra time after our jobs that we put in while some other professionals come home and can make dinner or have some free time. Also, the challenges of motivating students in an urban setting, combined with the thick skin one must develop in response to the disrespectful attitude characteristic of an urban student to simply bounce off of you contribute to a very burnt-out attitude. I truly thought the salary was sufficient BEFORE I became a teacher in an urban setting. I am now seeing how hard it is to do this occupation and I am changing my opinion. I believe you must work in a hard teaching setting before you can comment validly on this subject.

  • John

    I graduated with a bachelors in chemical engineering in the top ten percent from the toughest school in my state. I was two spots away from valedictorian in high school out of 270 people, and my ACT was in the 99th percentile. In college, I studied my butt off, and put in long excruciating hours trying to figure out the math and science that the human brain does not readily accept.

    So I think my opinion counts when I say that teaching is not an easy job. After graduating I quickly realized the corporate world wasn't for me. So I started subbing in Southern California to feel out teaching. Subbing is a cake job, until it turns into a long term assignment. Then it becomes almost like real teaching. One assignment I worked about 60 hours/week, another about 40, but only because I had a second job, the lesson plan was already laid out for me, and all the standards had already been taught by that time of year.

    But man! Big city kids are tough, and on a bad day it's you against 120 of them. Class discipline is a bull that no college course could ever teach you to ride. Parents are a pain. And there are no breaks. You can't go for a drive at lunch, or close the office door and shut your eyes to ease the mental strain induced by computing a million classroom variables simultaneously for hours on end.

    A good metric of whether the salaries are too low is whether or not they deter potential candidates from entering the industry. Some of you wonderful teachers say you shouldn't be in it for the money, and that's because you are truly wonderful. But that's not the attitude any taxpaying parent should be taking. For the rest of you, it's your kids who miss out on the extra candidates by not investing further resources into this social and economic boon.

    Much to my sadness, I will not be teaching. $55,000, mid-career, in San Diego doesn't go very far. That's what the average engineer starts at. The average house here costs between 500k and 700k, giving what internet salary calcluators tell me is a minimum morgage of $3000 a month. The starting salary in my district is 35k (which admittedly is low for the area). Am I supposed to raise a family with that? Half the entertainment of eating lunch with other teachers is hearing how they try to swing $300/month in homeowners fees, and $1000/month in daycare. To top it off, the push for "qualifed" teachers means regardless of what I've achieved or how much my skills are needed, I still have to spend two years in an intern program or take off a year or two for an expensive credential program. Oh yeah, and that's not even counting the "those who do do, and those who don't teach" speech I occasionally got when I told somebody I was thinking of going from chemical engineering to teaching.

    Teaching is a beautiful thing. Just from subbing alone, I have had the greatest job satisfaction of my life. But as they say, "you gotta eat". And considering the role education has played in the economic glory of the last century, it behooves society to take this institution a little more seriously.

  • Martha

    I teach in MO, and believe me they are way below the CA average! It is true we only work 173 school days, but that does not include state mandated work shops. That does not count parent conferences. That does not count spending two weeks to a month before school starts, getting your room ready for your new year. We do get good benefits, but they are not always paid, we have to pay a percentage of our health care benefits. A total of 22 percent(including retirement) gets taken out of our checks.

    Sure it is easy to to come to work from 7:30-3:05 and leave. Except we don't. We stay, make copies, make lesson plans, clean our rooms, straighten desks, and use the restroom. Being a teacher isn't as easy as it looks either. Teaching in an elementary school, peace of cake, right? WRONG, I do not get paid enough to get punched, bitten, kicked, spit at, and threatend. But I guess that 31.75 and hour should cover it!
    People who argue that teachers are overpaid should come do my job for a week, and then see how you feel. We do not only work 8-3 M-F. Rarely are those our hours. I love working as a teacher and recognize I will not get paid for every hour I work, and can not earn overtime for hours I do work. But I do not complain. If we want to complain about an overpaid field, lets do it about doctors!
    (In response to Scott: I am sure you were homeschooled then, because no teacher could have taught you anything worth while!)

  • revolted answerer

    To the writer of this article: you have obviously a false idea of what it means to be a teacher. I don't know any teachers who work 7-3. Let me explain it to you in simple terms: teaching has 4 components. #1: Planning. #2: Delivery. #3: Administration. #Professional Training. The 7am-3pm hours that you talk about are only: #2 Delivery of the teaching job.

    The delivery aspect (the actual "teaching"): 99% of the time, those hours do not include any of the other above mentioned planes of teaching. 99% of the time, those hours are full crammed, full packed requiring the most and best of your complete energy and attention. Unlike most other jobs, there are no restroom breaks, no coffee breaks, no moments of privacy, no times to breath. Hundreds of kids walk through your door, one class after the other, non stop. Most schools that I know in my county offer a 20 minutes lunch break, and usually another 20 minutes for planning in the teaching day. Even in your "break" you actually don't have a break, because kids and people are still in and out, needing your help or advise.

    Furthermore, many teachers that I know choose to come before school or to stay after school to offer extra help to those who need it. These teachers add 1-2 hours every day to their 8 hour teaching day. So: we are already 9-10 hours/day.

    Yet, again, ALL of that, was just #2: delivery. We are only 2 thirds at best through the teaching responsibilities. We have worked 8 full, hectic, inspirational hours, we are exhausted, drained for the day. And guess what: we're only 2/3 of the way done with our day. Now come the "invisible" aspects of teaching; those that people like you either are ignorant about, either choose to ignore for convenience. That delivery aspect that we've been talking about? That doesn't happen without PLANNING.

    The planning aspect: in most cases AFTER the teaching day. Every single lesson delivered in class is planned in advance in great detail. What are you teaching? How? Why? How will you differentiate for special needs? How does that address the emotional and intellectual needs of the students? How does that fit into the curriculum? In 99% of the cases, the teachers that I know do not get to do this planning within the school hours. They do it at home, after their busy day is done. Most teachers I now expect to spend 2-3 hours a day in planning. This adds to a total of 11-13 hours of work a day in the teaching day. Yet, this is just the day by day planning, not including the long term task of curriculum planning.

    CURRICULUM planning: what will you teach, how, and why in the long term? What is your goal for students between 1st and 6th grade? What should they be able to do? 100 skills? 1000 skills? More? How do you break it up by years? By semesters? By months? By weeks? By days? Does it all make sense in the big picture? Is it all perfectly logical and smooth? Does it all address emotional, social, and intellectual aspects of the child? How about children with disabilities? Planning a curriculum is a complex skill, in many ways on par with the financial planning of an organization, or with the architectural planning of a house. This curriculum planning is extremely time consuming and in many cases teachers choose to do it during the summer. The good teachers that I know take about 3 weeks of focused work during the summer to plan their curriculum.

    3 WEEKS. OOPS. I guess that teachers don't spend their summers slacking after all, umm? What do you know....Is it possible that teachers actually NEED the time off during the summer to be able to create good quality programs?

    Curriculum planning of course is not all. At least for music teachers, there is also that thing called BUDGET PLANNING. That usually also happens in the summer.

    Now let's go on. We have 2 more components of teaching that we haven't even addressed yet. One of them is ADMINISTRATION: grading, answering emails, making home phone calls, making home visits, attending meetings required by the school district, holding teacher-parent conferences. Guess what: these "little" things are very time consuming. Also guess what: 99% of cases, they also happen AFTER the teaching day. Did I mention earlier that planning alone adds 2-3 hours to the teaching day? Where were we? 11-13 hours a week? Well most teachers expect to spend 1-3 hours each day in some combination of the administrative duties mentioned above. So to be fair let's add those as well to the teaching day: 12-16 hours.

    Let me repeat that. 12-16 HOURS /day. VOILA. That is the REAL teaching day. Ahh, so what do you know? After all, teachers DO work professional hours!

    Now, let's not end this discussion yet. There is one more that we haven't mentioned yet: #4 Professional Development.

    I think you were saying something about teachers working 9 months/year? Yea...well it's actually 10.Teachers, at least in our county, are expected to show up 1 month before school starts to participate in meetings, training, to get their classroom ready... So that is only 2 months of summer a year. NOT 3. But as we said, teachers take a few weeks out of those 2 months to plan their big picture curriculum. So in reality, they have a little more than a month of "free" summer. Yes?

    Now, what about this professional training anyways? Like any professional, teachers too are expected to continuously further their education and keep up with the latest research in their field. Correct? Most teachers I know take workshops during the summers. Good teachers in this area can spend as much as 1-3 weeks during the summers taking workshops. I guess this reduces that long summer that you were talking about to a mere 2-4 weeks.

    It doesn't look like teachers have it all that good now, does it? Sure, their "free time" is still a little more than that of the average professional, even with the drastic time reducers that we've covered. Sure, they do get good benefits. But as we've seen, they work 12-16 hour days, just as hard as all professionals; and compared to those professionals they are under paid. And they educate your children. They bare incredible liability in their jobs. They have no moments to breath on the job, no down time. They burn for their students. And they are entrusted one of the biggest jobs of society, while not being compensated enough for it. Scary, heh?

    Thus sir, you have no idea what you are talking about when referring to teachers' pay. If you still have doubts, don't take my word. Become a teacher and experience it for yourself.

  • Justin Fugate

    It's really not about the money. People who are driven to teach care
    very little about their salary except to be able to live a middle class
    existence. Teaching stretches you daily but it also excites and thrills
    you when you see a students 'get it'when you have worked hard to help
    them. Right now I teach part time which is the best of both worlds for
    me(I am otherwise consumed with raising my five children)but I have
    taught full time in the public schools and my biggest complaint when I
    taught HS was that They hadn't trained me to be an army drill sergeant
    or parole officer. I found teaching elementary school much nicer but
    there is this idea that the teachers are only one step more mature than
    the kids and are treated that way.

    In some places teachers are well-paid. Do remember that unlike other
    professionals I live near, teachers don't bill the company for overtime
    or weekend work. In districts where achievement is valued, teachers work
    very hard not only prepping and teaching but in record keeping and
    parent communication which takes much more time daily due to e-mail and
    phone mail.

  • I agree to this article that having a lot of responsibility being a teacher.The government need to give there duties to look on what it is right to give them back.

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  • Georgianna Morgan

    I'm saddened to see we only think about money when it comes to teaching our future generations. I can only hope we have attracted the best and brightest for our children so as a country we don't become dumb and dumber. Right now there is a shortage of teachers and most young people aren't interested because it doesn't pay...and when you read articles like this one, there really isn't much incentive. And many corporations are now struggling to find qualified engineers, technicians, programmers, etc.due to lack in the USA. Why...because they don't have the good baseline needed to get into college and college is unaffordable anymore. Where's your article on this. But since Forbes Board of Directors is made up of large companies who try to keep wages down and profits up....I would expect this type of article.