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How Much Should Teachers Make?


A much discussed new book, Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Sacrifices of America's Teacher, argues that teacher pay is scandalously low considering importance and difficultly the work they do, and that low salaries jeopardize the stability of the profession and the education system.

What's your view? Are teachers' salaries unfair? How much should they make? Can school systems afford to pay them more? How?


I will be starting my first teaching job this August. I have already spent about $300 on school supplies, snacks, decorations, carpets, etc. Without budgeting so conservatively, I could easily spend $500-$800. The classroom has about 20 tradebooks for children to read and I would consider about 4 of those books to be acceptable or average children's literature. I need to purchase a class library with "good" children's literature, which if I use Amazon.com or ebay I could probably do for about $100-$200. However, I am told that my school district/PTA only gives about $50 for all teachers at the beginning of the year. I find this tiny amount to be absurd. Fifty dollars only buys some pens, pencils, and bulletin board decorations.
With all this said, I think teachers are underpaid. As a teacher with my license and graduate degree, I will be making about $36,000 my first year in VA, which is not bad considering I don't have a family yet. However, with a family and all the classroom expenses, I feel teachers should make between $45,000-$60,000.

After 17 years in a classroom, I am close to done. I work very hard to engage kids and make the learning interesting. I use hands on activities, peer learning, computer lessons, thematic units.
This last year was close to impossible. First issue, we have kids in the least restrictive environment who are out of control making it more than difficult to teach the rest of the class (all 37 of them). I have had days where the majority of the period was spent trying to keep these kids under control. I am not talking about little discipline problems here. I am talking about outbursts, kids sucking their thumbs (14 year olds), defiance and the like. Administrative support is sadly lacking. I have always been a strong disciplinarian and have never had problems like this. Where are the parents of the "regular" kid? Why aren't they demanding that their kids receive the education they deserve (and their taxes pay for) instead of having a handful of kids destroy the learning environment?
On top of that, I am supposed to be accountable for the students learning. I can count on one hand the number of students who do homework anymore. And they readily admit it!!! They make comments of "Why did you give me that grade when I did the work?" and don't understand that "doing the work" is not the same as LEARNING the material. It doesn't happen by osmosis.
Tired? You betcha! Teachers should be earning combat pay for doing this job!!!!

Educators are one of the lowest paid professions with greatest number of expectations placed upon them by the government and society. Educators are always going back to school for more education and degrees to earn more money and knowledge, yet are lowly paid. Elementary and secondary teachers are underpaid, but what about the early childhood professional who is paid much less. Early childhood professionals are now having to earn degrees in order for their programs to meet accreditation standards set by NAEYC, but their pay is still low compared to the garbage collector. Educators stay in order to make a difference in the lives of children and families not because of the money. It's too bad we are not respected enough and our salaries reflex our dedication to the future of America's children.

Actually the pay for teaching isn't bad. It is the hours for baby-sitting that we do for free that are ridiculous. I teach freshman writing for three hours a week per course. Two years ago I taught middleshoolers writing for five hours a week per course. The reality was the same three hours of writing instruction and an additional two hours of babysitting.
The middleschool pay for writing instruction was similar to that of my current professors. It was the additional forty percent of my workday spent with free babysitting that burned me out.

I am fortunate to be in a well paying district. My salary is currently 73K with my Masters +60 status. In 3 yrs it will top out at 89K
In my opinion, a good teacher is worth as much as the top CEOs in this country earn and a lousy teacher should earn minimum wage. I don't have an answer on how to pay for merit but I do think there are major differences out there in the commitment level although as long as you put your time and earn more credits you get a pay raise. Education and experience are very important but I don't believe they should be the only factors in pay levels. I am not worried about offending too many minimum wage teachers because I figure if you are reading material on a website like this in August you are one of the many dedicated, CEO quality teachers that deserve the best. Have a great 05-06 school year.
PS Always remember that the "invisible paychecks" (such as when a student finally gets it or makes a breakthrough) we receive from our children are the reason we are in one of the greatest professions.

I teach in one of the wealthiest and most educated counties in the country. I would say the top 10-15. I have a M.Ed, a BS in Biology and Psychology, and BS in Education. After 19 years of teaching, I make $71,000.
My family uses the healthcare insurance through my work, so some would say that I "earn" more than the salary listed earlier.
My husband has a small contracting business that affords us the flexibility to raise our three children and allow him to coach high school sports, which he has done for 20 years. ( His coaching pay is so low - $5.00 per hour -- , and we actually lose money in order for him to coach, since he misses work time during the sports season.) We want a quality way of life, which at times means choosing NOT to work crazy hours to earn more INCOME. We work in the community in which we live, we coach here, go to school here, worship here, volunteer here.... we feel blessed. However, I have to work two extra teaching jobs per year just to help make ends meet. We do this because I am paid more per hour than he is, and it is more efficient than him working MANY more hours at his job. For this I am thankful, but I shop at discount stores, forego needed home improvement purchases and cringe at the thought of having enough money to pay for college tuitions in a few years. I am both respected and scorned in my community for the work that I do. I am a good teacher, but I refuse to spend 15 extra hours per week sacrificing myself and my family so that I can be seen as the Super Teacher at my school. It is not worth it. New teachers CANNOT afford to live in this county, and this is after we require them to get a Masters and extra certification coursework to start teaching. Prop tax values are extremely high, and foreign born students drain a lot of resources from our district. Educating young people IS worth our effort, but must my family SCRAPE for extra change each month just because we want to do something that matters with our lives?

Well, the debate rages on! I was a career-changer...had a BA in Communications/English, went back, got my MAT/certification in fourteen arduous months (most of my coursework, like all education coursework, utter nonsense that I have never and will never use) I still owe 17,000 in student loans; as I am a single parent and had to borrow "extra" so I could live (barely) while student teaching. I should have gone provisional and let the county pay for my certification. THe skills I use teaching( other than my knowledge of literature) are mostly my interpersonal and "mom" skills. I taught middle school for 3 years -- 3 preps, including honors kids. We are on a 4-block day so that meant 5 classes because of the schedule. Our principal was one of "those" that constantly required extras---exemplars every month, "volunteering" for this that and the other thing.This year I will be teaching high school(6 classes, 2-3 preps) The feeder system where I teach is the best in the county, and the most wealthy. Houses start around $250K...that is a town house. I will be teaching at the #1 h.s. in the county and I am excited because it is an excellent school with few behavioral challenges, close to home etc. I will be making 41K. I am considering myself lucky because I will be home much earlier to go to my second and third jobs. Yes, we get summers "off"....ha what a joke. The only teachers I know that truly have the summer off are those whose spouses make significant money, and if they have kids, most likely they still do something over the summer. I know people have very mixed views about teacher salaries---I did myself before I became one. It is truly impossible for them to know how demanding our job is. YEs I love teaching and I am good at it...but some monday mornings don't you yearn for the luxury of "hiding" in your cubicle, or surfing the web like most of my friends who work in corporate jobs ? When you are a teacher, you are "on" from t he moment those kids walk in the class. It is freeing in a way, but it is also draining when you realize at 3:00 that you have heard your name called at least 900 times that day. And broken up a fistfight in the hall on your way to lunch. And now you will be attending an irrelevant faculty meeting. And you still have to plan for the next day's lesson. Are we compensated fairly? I don't think the good teachers are...the ones that really care, that take the time to make that phone call, stay after to tutor someone, or just to talk to a kid that needs someone to talk to. And yes, are there invaluable rewards...yes, I have experienced them; the email from the student telling me she wants to be a writer because of me....etc. Are there some truly TERRIBLE teachers out there? Yes, there are some I wouldn't subject my cat to, and I cringe at the thought of peoples' kids being trapped in a room with some of these pedantic losers for 180 minutes. Would I be willing to forego tenure for merit pay? I would like to say yes, however, judging from the "quality" of most administrators, I don't think I would like my pay to be based on the opinion of someone who believes that thinking up a new acronym for the latest "initiative" is thinking outside the box! I don't think it is going to change...society doesn't recognize our value, or the true value of learning/knowledge. And with mindsets like that of the true moron in the white house saying that teachers everywhere are thanking him for NCLB (maybe in his mind), education will continue to be a series of hoops that kids have to jump through to be processed into big bad corporate america...so they can hide in their cubicles and surf the web for 100K a year! Anyway, that is my rant and I know I covered more than the topic...sorry. But in closing, yes what we do matters and I do love it and will continue to do so. Thanks for reading.

It is amazing to me how many teachers making $70,000+ are complaining that they don't make enough money. Don't you get it that you make more than the average worker in a 9-5 job? You make more than some people will see in a lifetime of working. Yes, I agree that teaching is hard work, but so are many other jobs that don't pay as well. You also receive many benefits (paid health care, pensions, holidays, etc.) that a majority of the population do not receive. I think it is high time you get off your "be-sorry-for-me soap box" and start looking at the real world!! Once you start comparing your job to others in the working world maybe you'll stop the "poor me" attitude and truly appreciate what you do have.

I came into education at 32 years of age and $45,00 in debt to enter a profession I really felt " called to". Obtaining this position of which I am dually certified in elementary & Special Ed took 6 yearsof college courses. This past year I took 15 graduate credits and taught extended school year this summer to help meet the expenses of having 3 children. Tooting my own horn, perhaps, but I am the only one who does that.

I curently make 41,00 a year. Would I like to make more, yes, but as a tax payer I know the financial burden I have in order to pay school taxes in the district my children attend.

i don't see a "rea;" pay raise coming any time soon, but what I would really prefer is the respect my profession deserves. Three times this week I was shunned by people who discovered I am a teacher. Oh, you're a teacher "that will be 12% more, one clerk had the nerve to say. The public just has no idea what teaching entails and can only see the dollar signs.

My administration is putting tremendous pressure on our department in particular due to our student's state test scores in light of NCLB.

All this and yet, I read only this morning that administrators of our state's college financial aid division just received hefy bonuses of 100,00 to take some of their salaries into the $400,00 range.

I am in a profession I love, or I wouldn't be satisfied with the $46K I am getting. I don't think teachers are paid what they are worth in very many places. I agree that they are the lowest paid professionals. Most teachers supplement their income with work after school or weekends, definitely in the summer. That's if they are not taking classes to update their credentials.
I am happy to find out that some places pay teachers what they are worth.
As low as teachers' salaries are in my district, non-classified people get much less. I don't know how they support families on their salaries.

Teachers seem to complain an awful lot about the money they make - more complaining than any other profession. You CHOSE to be a teacher on your own - No one forced you. And whether you want to admit it or not, there are a lot of perks when you compare it to normal all year long, 9-5 jobs with no Spring and Winter breaks built in.

Stop whinning! I don't know why teachers seem to think they are entitled to making more money. How many of you are married to teachers or administrators? Not a bad family income. When you consider that most teachers make more than the average family out there, I wouldn't be complaining. You can always leave the profession and take on another job if you want to make more money. It shouldn't be about the money. It should be about the love of the profession and of children's success. I'm sorry, but as a teacher, (and yes, I know I'm one of the few that exsist) I don't think I'm under paid. We have great benefits, retirement, and only work 195 days a year. Come on... Get Real

Many districts are not able to offer a livable wage to new teachers and it keeps many qualified professionals out of the classroom. This hurts the kids and the community at large. It's a question of financial priorities. It isn't a question of finding the money; it's a question of spending money in the best possible way to create the communities we desire.

I've found in arguments about teacher pay that those who control the dollars often have one or two stories of a poor teacher. It takes so much effort to overcome these scarce, but true, educators' legacies. I think the most important route we can take is the same route that we've taken in the past--steadfast, loyal, caring--but, become advocates for our profession and open up our classrooms to business people and legislators. Some of my harshest critics were those who had never visited my classroom. Once they became part of the environment they became great supporters.

I do believe that teachers are blessed to be in one of the most important careers in the world. We shape society, mold minds, and change lives. Are there professions that pay more but ask for less? Yes! Are teachers aware of how "little" they make before they sign the contract? Yes. Are teachers "suppose" to be in the classroom for the children, not the salary? Yes. Having said that, it is unfair for people to say that just because we don't make minimum wage, have benefits, and have a "few days off more than the average worker" that we don't deserve to be paid what we are worth. I would like to see the average corporate exec., legislator, or parent do our job each day without thinking about how much work they put in for very little money. If we are the force who changes the world, why doesn't society value our role by compensating us?

I appreciated the comments of others who pointed out that we are "on" from the moment we walk in the door.
I don't believe that asking for higher pay for the job that we do is "complaining" or "whining." I also wonder if those who criticize teachers and compare us to the "average" household, consider the fact that we all have degrees, and many of us have advanced degrees. Are we being compared fairly with others who work in areas that require advanced degrees in their fields?

You can't compare the level of difficulty of two different jobs if you haven't experienced the demands of both. That said, I don't think there are a whole lot of people out there making 100K and over who aren't working hard for that money. I am not saying that a teacher's job is easy - I am not a teacher. But, the Bottom Line is - It is what you signed up for. If you went to college for four years to study it, you had plenty of time to change your mind.

I start my 6th year teaching in two days. From my point of view teacher pay is only a small part of the problem. The bigger issues are lack of support from parents, school administrators, district administrators and the state and federal government. I feel that most in this profession would be okay with smaller class sizes, better technology, a little raise in pay and support.
I know myself, I got into this profession because I like children, and if I only had to deal with children that would be great. However, we all know that doesn't happen. We deal with parents who think that their child is an angel and would never think of doing anything wrong. We deal with school administrators that tell us what to do but when asked for help have no idea of what to do. The district administrators haven't got a clue at what goes on in a classroom because they have never been in one or it has so long since their last teaching assignment that they have forgotten what it is like. Last but not least are our favorite people, the politicians who care about one thing and that isn't the education of the nation's children.

The only teachers who have it easy are those teachers who went into teaching because they have July, August and the holidays off. They are a small percentage. When I taught I spent as much of my salary supplying my classroom with the extras that I felt the students deserved and needed. I took lots of pictures of my children in the classroom, when we went on trips. I know for a fact that many teachers do the same thing. They also come to school and stay late. When I retired in 6/2000 I worked for Adelphi in the
Teaching Fellows program. There were 24 teachers. Of that number 20 were good teachers and 4 were exceptional. I invite any of the nay sayers to come into a classroom and work with
kindergarten, 1st grade or 4th grade for a week.
Get to know the children and their parents along with the myriad of problems and baggage each group has and then tell me that teachers have it easy. Teaching is not a 9 to 5 job. You are
constantly thinking of innovative ways to reach a particular student, trips you'd like to take,ways of reaching out to parents, how to include the math, reading,science etc. in your day and still make it meaningful for the children who are in your class. I think in today's world teachers are underpaid. We've had a few rotten apples, but when you look at Martha Stewart, Dennis Kozlowski, et al; we aren't doing so badly. I enjoy teaching and think that it gets
a bad rap. In my 40 years of being in education
I've met a handful of teachers who should have thought before they decided they were going to be
teachers. While we have NCLB why not fund it and
be realistic about goals, expectations, making sure that all students have the appropriate textbooks, materials that are age-appropriate for
them(not 1st grade materials and literature for Pk and K students) and include teachers in the
planning we can think, have great ideas and we know what our students need: more time on task and less testing.

I find that there are "few" teachers who posses the necessary qualities of being put in the catagory of "great".
However; on a different note, I am concerned more with the level of knowledge that special education teachers have once they enter the field of teaching. I believe that NCLB act is wonderful but also feel it is beneficial only as it related to core curriculium. Teachers need to be able to address the various behaviors of the children they are trying to educat and need to understand the "function" of that behavior so it can be addressed the first time correctly and consistantly there after.
Unfortunately, I don't feel the teachers are given much training with regard to behaviors and the end result, we are left with denying the child "FAPE". I say this because if we can "gain" instructional conrol through the use of pairing, automatic reinforcement, positive behavioral supports and stimulas demand fading with the child we will be able to "maintain" instructional control. The end result we will be able to teach the child what is necessary to implement the IEP appropriatly.

I am disappointed in the system for our special education students and have seen many staff "pity" the child most probably because of their lack of knowledge, leaving them with only their "maternal" instict to kick in.

Please take the time to educate the parents of the children you educate. If you teach those parents the necessary skills to generalize those skills taught at school to home it will make everyone's life much easier. With that in mind; please be open to a parents suggestion, after all they are the childs experts and really do know how to work with the child. Having a round table discussion, with an open mind, does work and will benefit all including the child.

As far as we the parents, we don't always want to hear the negative....but instead want to hear the good things our children do as well. Parents for the most part are fair and are alway will to work with someone who is trying to make a difference in our childs life. I would support any teacher who was a "willing" learner when it comes to my child. However; if you feel you know best and take none of my suggestions, then of course, life will be difficult for you and could possibly see yourself/district in a due process.

"What a Child See's....A Child Does....What a Child Does.....A Child Is"

Most of us teachers, teach because we love it. Of course the pay could be better. The people who compare are salary with what the average American is making do not realize that we have our education is more than an average American. A lawyer or business executive has less schooling than an average teacher but makes a lot more. I know people with no college education making more than I do.

I've often heard about how "lucky" I am to be a teacher, especially when I taught in a regular school (k-12).....I get off in the middle of the afternoon, I get a winter and spring break, the summers off. I may have all this time "off", but it is off on paper only. Every evening there are papers to grade and revisions made to the next day's lesson plans. There are things to cut out for bulletin boards and extra paperwork required to meet local, state, and federal requirements. Winter and spring break are spent catching up on paperwork and preparing for when I go back into the classroom. I'm a single mom with kids so I can't afford not to work during the summer. I do tutoring during the year to supplement my income because my salary doesn't cover the bills. Although the school day is over at 3, I stay late to prepare my classroom for the next day and for anyone that might need help or place to "hang out," which can mean anything from being afraid of being in an empty home or apartment alone to avoiding a bully to not wanting to go home to a less than desirable homelife. When I've taught special ed, there was planning for all the individual needs in the classroom, IEPs to write, etc.

Some of those responding to the question stated that many people don't make the amount that some teachers do and that we should get off our "pity me" trip, but there are few jobs that require a person to pay for the basic necessities to perform their jobs. Do nurses have to pay for the medical supplies they use throughout the course of the day? Do employees at fast food restaurants pay for the food wrappers and bags they serve the food in? I've had to supply chalk, paper, pencils, pens, crayons, glue, rulers, calculators for students that require them because it was in their IEPs but the school didn't have, paper for the copy machine when it was working, going to staples or office depot to copy material because the school used up it's copy machine repair budget by November....the list goes on and on. I wonder how much teachers would actually be making if all the money spent (or could have spent if we could afford to) in the course of a school year to perform our jobs were subtracted from our annual salaries first. I would challenge anyone who thinks that teaching is easy to spend a year in a classroom, preferably one in a lower income or urban area where even the basics (like textbooks for students to take home to do their homework) are nonexistant. This might open some eyes!!

I'm currently working as a pre-k teacher at a daycare center and the pay is even worse! The children supply many of the supplies they will use in the classroom (ex. crayons, paints). I think we could once again have the best educational system in the world if the salaries were risen to attract more people to the profession. Teachers, from early childhood educators on up, hold the future of our entire nation in their hands, why shouldn't we be paid for holding one of the most important jobs in the country??

I'm starting my 19th year of teaching and am just now making a salary that I can support my family on - almost. At over $70,000 and living in the Washington D.C. area, I can just barely make my bills. Do I feel teachers should be making more money? You bet I do. Teachers effect the future of our world more than any other professional group. Teachers spend money out of our pockets to supply our students with what they need to learn (pencils, paper, etc.). We also are required to return to school to keep our jobs and in a lot of cases pay for it out of our pockets.

I spent 20 years in Corporate America and, after being downsized, I decided to pursue that which I feel I have been called to do. In becoming a teacher, I fully understood that I may never again earn the comfortable salary that I received in corporate, and that's fine. No one enters the teaching profession for the money. However, I feel it is a shame and a disgrace that teachers are paid so poorly. Considering the major role we play in educating our future, how can anyone possibly justify paying teachers a salary less than that of a bus driver, mail carrier, or meter reader? Why should teachers have to beg, borrow and finnagle their way to the next paycheck? Why should I have to choose between buying for my family and buying for my classroom? Gimme' a break with the "you chose to become a teacher". Of course we did! I don't know of anyone who was forced to enter a profession. The bottom line is teachers are poorly paid, and it is a shame.

Dear Readers:
This is my tenth year teaching one of the lower elementary grades- K, 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Being a male and teaching children from ages 5-8 is the greatest gift I have ever done. I spent 5 more years before that Substituting (3 years) and by being a Teacher Assistant (2 years-known in many places as a Paraprofessional).
With all of that said, and being a great teacher whose heart is really gifted to teaching children, I am leaving the profession to start a position within a Human Resources Dept for a company, (yes, teaching skills are truly transferable if you really seek hard enough).

Now, let's get to the bottom line about salary, hours worked, and life in South Florida:

I am STILL making less than $40,000 ($36,800 to be EXACT)and working in the 4th largest school district (Miami-Dade County, Florida- with 32 students).

If I start now and complete my Masters in Teaching in two years, I will upgrade my salary by only $3,000 (because of the Masters)plus another $1,500 for stepping up in years teaching (from 10th to 11th or 12th).

As far as my new job, I am starting at $45,000 plus after I'm done with my Masters, I can command a salary of $50,000 or more (absolutely true) either here or at another company.

When I teach, I am constantly putting several hours during the weekend grading papers, making copies, cutting up material, designing arts or crafts that we will use in school, completing my lesson plans, etc., etc., etc.. I also put in extra hours throughout the week in the evenings doing this and other stuff for school.

In my new job, my duties will finish when I leave at 5 pm until the next day- period.

Don't get me wrong- I truly love and have put every single part of my heart into teaching and have done it very Successfully with a great big smile and caring attitude that I have always shown. I have also put in extra time at school in numerous workshops, after care programs, remediation programs, volunteer programs, etc.. I have won awards, praises from parents and students, not to mention all of my observations have been excellent. If I had to do it again, I would still go into teaching but start my Masters a LOT EARLIER in HR or some other marketable degree program (like an MBA, Public Administration, etc.).

My wife makes about $24,000 a year only and we are renting because the fact of the matter is that in order to buy something here, you would have to save about $40,000 down and probably pay $1,500 a month in mortgage. A 2/2 townhouse here goes for about $200,000- $250,000 and a 3/2 house about $300,000 and UP! I have a family of five and have to really manage our money to pay a rent of $1,000 plus all of the other costs.

Do you see NOW what I am getting at! Teachers need higher salaries! And at the same time, I will pray for those of you who are teaching Middle School and High School- don't even get me started on behavior modification!

As one who has taught elementary and middle school for over 25 years, both in the US and overseas, I definately believe that the main reason people in our profession are not paid (or respected!) as much as we deserve is because ours was originally a spinster's profession. If men made up the majority of our profession today, society might actually take notice of the fact that teachers are increasingly expected to assume many of the roles previously expected of others. Men would demand to be paid appropriately for extra time spent on their jobs. I am expected to motivate, organize, supply, and support my students emotionally. No longer are these the responsibilities of a student's family. I even find myself being asked by moms and dads, after raising four children of my own, questions about how they should parent!

I am always "amused" when someone comments about how teachers only work 9 or 10 months a year. Right!? I work many hours after school every single day! My total number of work-hours per year are, probably, many more than most professionals in other fields. As I see it, I work at least the same number of hours a year, it's just condensed into a shorter period of time, that's all!

I believe the best teachers are those who are "called to teach", not those who go into our profession to enjoy 3 "free" months a summer---not that we HAVE 3 free months anymore! School ends the end of June and starts the day after Labor Day (count the weeks!), and most teachers "work" even then, teaching summer school, writing curriculum, attending workshops and/or taking courses, tutoring, and planning for an even more successful year to come. Teaching is anything but easy!

I do love what I do, and I honestly wouldn't want to do anything else, but it does sometimes make me wonder why I'm not appreciated financially more by the public who "employs" me!

I seriously believe that teachers' salaries are extremely low. If consideration were given to the extra time put into teacher preparations, the personal money spent on classroom items, the extremely short lunch break, the little time to take care of personal needs (e.g.,restroom), and let's not forget about having to deal with the vast differences in student attitudes and personalities and backgrounds -- the discipline. We take care of everyone's child(ren). We're the nurses, mothers/fathers, ministers, friends, counselors, judges, as well as teachers. We provide the doctors, lawyers, presidents, CEOs, and others with the knowledge they need to pursue such careers.
Please, don't misunderstand me. We, teachers, love our jobs. Teaching is a rewarding profession. However, we do deserve a higher pay. I believe that a 15/20-year teacher with a master's degree should receive at least a $50,000 salary.

We agree that teachers do not get paid enough. My husband (21 years) and I(24 years) barely touch the $90,000 mark with both of us having all of this experience and Master's Plus Certifications. My husband is, also, a football coach and we calculated that salary to be about
5 cents per hour (including winter and spring weightlifting and summer programs). I am a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader and I do not get paid for either one but I do these for my own children. Making ends meet are sometimes very difficult with all of the health, dental, taxes and social security deducted from our checks and add the household expenses. This year we decided that we would try to limit our monies that we spend on our classrooms better so we can make a new car payment that replaces a 14 year old vehicle. Don't get us wrong we both love teaching and have found many rewards in doing so but sometimes the negatives will add up and just get on your nerves.
When a minister with less experience makes more of the two of us together in a year and gets other expenses paid for by the congregation, we often wonder aren't we doing the same type of job except ministering to minds (to create thinking individuals) and not souls (or maybe we are).

We absolutely hate someone saying, "Oh, you are JUST a TEACHER." This always makes us feel like we do not have enough brains to do anything else.
Maybe someday, we will get the pay we deserve but we won't hold our breath. We will continue on and gather those special moments that our students give us and allow that to fill our souls with the spirit to continue.

I think we all feel called to this profession or we wouldn't be doing it. However, looking at the salaries that are listed, I think that you should be aware that there are people like me out there who are only making $25,000/year. In addition, due to rising gas prices, I have had to take a second job on the weekends to afford the gas in order to commute to my job. We don't have great benefits to off-set that but we do get something. I am not a whiner but I am considering becoming a factory worker.

Once you answer that in general most teachers probably deserve more pay, where are you? No where! There are some teachers that undoubtedly deserve significant pay raises while some deserve to be fired. Others would do ok with additional coaching. One teacher where I live left a job in public accounting so she could teach. She probably took a 50% pay cut. Kathy above is undoubtedly correct in that many teachers feel a certain 'calling.' However, more teachers should test the market forces, e.g., spending the first few weeks of their summer recess trying to land a job in the private sector. At least they would know by September whether or not they deserve a higher salary.

My husband went back today to start his 31 year of teaching. He has his masters degree and makes about $65,000. per year. My pet peeve is the people who tell me teachers have it great with all the time off and being off early every day. We go weeks at a time without seeing him because he is up at school working until late at night, either grading papers or preparing for a lesson. He coaches two sports, is department chair, teaches summer school, and does an additional stipend for the district to earn additional money to help make ends meet. I have just finished my second year of law school. When I graduate I can expect a starting salary of $45,000 to $65,000, depending on where I work. Teachers have the most important job that anyone can do. They are definitely underpaid and under appreciated.

I am one of those people who think that I have landed the best job in the world: Teacher. Even as I type the word I expect the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey to reverberate around me. As such, I tend to roll with some of the punches teaching doles out almost daily. Should teachers make more? Absolutely! Just setting an arbitray amount does not set wel with me. Teachers/educators need to raise the bar and then start requesting higher salaries. Requiring Master's Degrees and some level of accountability would be a good start. Like many others here, I spend entirely too much on supplies for my classroom with only a $250 tax write off at the end. Like many others, I have my share of hellish days in which I wonder why I even chose to be here. Like many others, I have big classrooms, students who have made bad choices and are products of social promotion, and many others. I would love to see a new teacher, graduate degree and certification, earn $40,000 as a starting salary. Will it ever happen? Not with the current low requirements (BA degree and no training) that it takes to become an educator.

A rookie cop makes 45k in my little town in Northern California, and a teacher starts at 34k. Where would the cop be without a teacher helping him/her get a high school diploma-the education required for cops?
Our priorities are misplaced and society is suffering because of it.
I am in my 5th year teaching at-risk students in an alternative education school. They are all behavior problems looking to be fixed by non other than a teacher. I finished my MSEd last year and started an online program to get my PhD. All of that school, and I will probably never reach the salary I left as an electrician, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The challenge of working with students is worth all the headaches, can you think of another profession that is?

As I peruse the above comments I see that there are many variables regarding salaries. Depending on where you live, the school distict that you teach in,and the tax base of that district, one can only expect to be paid what that district can afford.Much more of the burden of education is being placed on the taxpayers while the cost of education keeps rising (per student). It is a well known fact that the southern states pay their teachers much less than teachers in northern (specifically northeast states). With that knowledge, perhaps those in education should reconsider where they choose to teach.
On the other side of the debate, I would have to agree with the teacher who stated that salary should be based on merit-not the amount of years that you teach. There are very good teachers out there who go above and beyond in the classroom to ensure that students are getting the best education possible,but there are also those teachers who start their day by closing the door and "winging it" without any real plan in force for the day. I call them the "slackers"- those who are there to collect a paycheck only!
The dynamics of the classroom has changed, it requires more work on the part of the teacher to teach to standards, teach those students with disabilities,deal with discipline which takes up most of instructional time and still maintain an environment conducive to learning. This can be daunting- but the committed teacher does their best to multi-task and produce students who are learning. I think that the real issue here is not what a teacher's salary is but rather,the low standards that the USA places on education. There are many countries out there that value the educational system,they place great demands on teachers/students to produce and reinforce the philospophy that education is not a RIGHT but a priviledge! Until we take on this philosophy, our educational system will continue to decline and those teachers who are working 24/7 will continue
to be underpaid, while those teachers who "put in their time" will be overpaid.
In any other occupation (professional) salary is based on performance- if you do your best, you are compensated for it- if you don't- you're getting your walking papers.If teachers want to be placed in the professional category- then act like a professional.

As with all professions, there are outstanding teachers and poor teachers. In the middle are many teachers just going through the motions.
My sons graduated from the same high school I did. The teachers who were great thirty years ago are still at the top of their game. There needs to be a willingness to cut teachers who cannot teach. Teaching is a passion. It is not an assembly line job.
The rare person in education is the innovative administrator. A great leader would not hesitate to make tough decisions and place students first.
For all of the teachers that feel they are under-payed...quit.

I was a classroom teacher for three years before becoming a Media Specialist (Librarian). I now have a Master's degree and am only making 32,000 a year. Many other occupations make more money with a Master's degree, so why not teachers.

For the amount of training teachers have versus those in other fields, I think teachers in general are underpaid. College graduates in business with only a bachelor's degree make more than a teacher with a master's, and have many more perks than teachers.

Granted, there are a few districts that pay excellent salaries, but the rest barely keep up with the cost of living. Not everyone has a husband or partner to provide additional income to live.

I have chosen this profession, despite its lower pay, because of the "extra pay" I get when I make a difference in a child's life. Teaching also allows me to spend more time with my family during the times they're available in this short window before they're off to adulthood.

However, when we have to take out a home-equity loan to cover basic expenses like painting our house, I wonder if it's worth it. At least I have a house, and a job, and for that I'm grateful.

I wish that the teaching profession was better compensated, when many parents are expecting teachers to deliver the moon.

Funny - the school board member above cannot spell "underpaid" correctly. THAT is almost as scary as the idea that this person completely missed the main ideas of the discussion.

I also agree that teachers' salaries are unfairly low. I am a graduate student getting ready to do my student teaching and feel that even here there are tremendous pressures. We are advised to not have any additional jobs during this time, yet there is no apprentice pay. I am supposed to work a full time job for 10 WEEKS with NO PAY? Even a minimun wage would help and probably make more student teachers feel they are actually working for something, rather than "experience." And we all know that learning how to handle a classroom takes a lot of time and support from others.
Then I go on into my first teaching job with a ridiculous amount of debt and shouldn't expect to make more than 40k a year at the high end. When you budget in cost of living...yes, the price we pay to be alive on this planet every single day...I don't know how I could ever manage to do it without a seccond house-hold income. Now my partner wants to go back to school and I am wondering how we are going to afford the loss in income.
Let's get real about this. Teaching is not missionary work.

What an active community!
It is clear from all of the comments that salaries are a local issue and the question of "what is enough or proper salary?" for teachers depends on the various inputs that make up a community.
There is no debate that good teachers work hard during the school year. Conscientious teachers work more than the required 7 hours and 30 minute work day, they make calls to students hoomes, and often bring their work home with them. But that is what professionals do. Regardless of profession, you work more hours than you are compensated for.
However, the reality is that one enters the profession by choice. I do not know of too many other jobs that a college graduate can enter with NO prior experience and make a salary of more than $30,000/year to work for 186 days.
As a department manager, I hired many people for entry level jobs for much less than that. They were required to have a degree that forced them to write coherent sentences and to take a writing test. And for all of their troubles, my new hires would receive TEN vacation days in a calendar year.
There is some truth that teachers are underpaid, however most public officials feel that way. But one does not enter public service to make a fortune (even a small one). If the salary is not right for you and the life style you want to be accostomed to, then it is time to find a different job.

It is unfortunate that in our society, a person's worth is too often judged by the salary that person makes. As a result, many people fail to respect educators because they are poorly paid in light of the education required for their career choice. Many parents and commuity members feel that it is okay to treat educators with little respect because they are only "teachers". Those people who say to teachers, "You chose to teach and you knew the salary would be low, so get over it," frustrate me tremendously. I certainly hope that my doctor didn't become a doctor only because he wanted a good salary! Most teachers could probably accept the less than adequte salary if it was accompanied by respect from society.

When I go to the doctor, I certainly don't pretend to know his profession and I don't tell him how to do his job, even though I have sick a few times in my life. I understand that having been sick does not make me qualified to diagnose and treat illnesses. The same is not always true when people deal with educators. Most people feel qualified and justified in telling educators how to do their job. These non-education professionals feel qualified because they ATTENDED school at one time.

People are also very quick to determine that it is the school's responsibility to teach children about a myriad of topics other than academics. We are now expected to teach family life education, money management, manners and coping skills, along with the academic information we are trying to impart to our students. Educators are no longer just expected to teach academics. Instead they are expected to teach many things that parents were responsible for teaching in previous generations and they are quickly chastised if they fail to teach those things in the ways that various individual parents want them taught.

I am thrilled that wonderful people continue to "choose" teaching because they are giving their absolute best to the students inspite of understanding that they will have to supplement the salary they are earning for their chosen career. Our society will be in dire straits if people stop choosing to be educators because they can't afford to raise families by following that career path.

After 18 years in the glitzy world of advertising, I went back to school so I could spend time with my child and do what I was called to do. I got my MA and I am now a speech-language pathologist working in the schools. In the world of sales & advertising, I did NOT have a degree and my wages ranged between $60,000 & $100,000 per year. Today I have yet to break $50,000 with masters. My niece, who graduated at the same time with a BA in public relations started at $48,000 and is currently making over $100,000 with her BA. My friend's daughter graduated the year before me with a BA in Engineering, started at $52,000, and is now making over $120,000 with a MA. The fact is I really do not think much about it until someone poses the question or makes some ignorant remark about how easy teachers got it. As someone that has spent time in the both corporate & academic worlds, teachers are underpaid. Not really because of the time we put into our work...many people put in extra time in salary positions of all sorts. By the way, lets make one thing perfectly clear about teachers "We don't get paid for the days we don't work during the summer!!!!) However, it's the stress of dealing with the variety of issues that places us in a league of our own. My observations have been that it's our ability to embrace those few precious successes of our students and peers that keeps us inspired. Being paid comparable would be nice too. Prior to entering the teaching profession, I was one of those outspoken parents that felt teachers had it easy. I could not have been more wrong. I agree with the previous posts. If you have any questions about the teaching profession spend a few weeks in our shoes.

I find it interesting that the people who think we are "whining" are not actually teachers themselves. Please don't compare me to the general population. I have a college degree and I'm working on a masters. My salary may be higher than the average working population but the average working population isn't educated beyond high school. Not a fair comparison. I don't get off at 3pm as is commonly believed. I work until 11pm many nights grading papers and lesson planning. Summers off? No way. Summer school and conferences take up my summer "vacation". I make 36K as a second year teacher which doesn't even pay property taxes where I live. I believe teachers should make more money, but it won't happen in a society that doesn't value educators.

This is my second year teaching. My first year was at an alternative high school, this year I will teach in a middle school. This is my second career; like others, I felt a "calling."

I have two masters degrees (my previous undergrad and master were not related to teaching English!) and don't make a heck of a lot of money. I have great benefits, anticipate working with a great bunch of professionals, and LOVE STUDENTS. Where else would I prefer to be?

This was my choice. I was fully aware of all the pitfalls of teaching, including the lowish salary as compared to any of the other things I am qualified to do (and have done). I did it because I feel passionate about it. I did it because I wanted to contribute to society in a big way. This was my choice. I'm not whining - why should I? I wouldn't have it any other way.

After working in a public school district in Michigan for 26 years as a support staff member I can honestly say that it depends on the teacher as to whether or not they are overpaid/underpaid. I have worked with teachers at all levels from PPI through adult education. There are some teacher who spend hundreds of dollars for their classroom supplies and there are others who spend zero. The unfortunate part is that the wages may be quite good if the districts had the money to spend on the supplies that are truly needed. Yes, the benefits are good, but today school employees are paying money toward their insurance and retirement benefits. I don't know that there is a good answer.

This is a wonderful discussion, but it will not be noticed by those who need to notice it: political and business leaders who make the decisions about education without much input from the education professionals. We are preaching to the choir.

I came to teaching as a career change, it took me 3 years to find a job, and it took me eight years of teaching to bring my salary back up to where my wife and I (and only with her salary added to mine) could almost afford to live and raise our kids (only two of the three still live at home, our oldest being in his 20s and independent). During the first years of my teaching career, we faced the possibility of losing our home and declaring bankruptcy. Now, because of the regular salary increases, we can survive, but we do not spend on luxury, we do not spend on home improvements (we need to borrow to make essential repairs), and we shop very frugally.

I worry that nothing will change much in this country. We have a leader who brags about having been a "C" student at college and who got into Yale and Phillips Academy by family connections rather than academic merit. This is not a great example for our children. Also, the present administration has clearly shown contempt for the teaching profession at the same time it requires professional teachers to toe the line and prove that they are "highly qualified" or get out of teaching. Where's the incentive for future teachers to sign up.

I don't mean to sound sour. The move to teaching later in life, for me, was a logical choice because I was miserable in the business world. I needed to make a difference in the world and to make a change in my life. Having worked in the arts, and as a laboroer, and as an executive before making the move to become a teacher, I can happily say that, in spite of the low pay and public abuse, I love my work; this IS the greatest job in the world. But unless you really know that already, why would you go into it in the first place? But, again, who is really listening to us? We need to get this message to a wider audience.

As a teacher I know first hand that we are not properly compensated. However, unbeknownst to many teachers, we have numerous, powerful wealth building tools at our disposal: a pension, a 403(b) and often a 457(b). The 403(b), often called a TSA, and the 457(b), not always available at all districts, are 401(k)-like plans which allow teaches to accumulate fairly large amounts tax deferred. The two big problems for K-12 teachers are the lack of education about these plans, and the lack of quality low-fee offerings from companies like T. Rowe Price, TIAA-CREF and Vanguard. High-fee insurance companies have unfortunately corned the K-12 market and it often takes a great deal of effort to get districts to offer low-cost products. It can happen and it is well worth it. I encourage all teachers to take advantage of these retirement vehicles and to lobby their employers to offer low-cost choices. A difference in even 1% in fees over time can mean $50,000 or more in retirement savings. The average variable annuity charges 2.25%. The average index fund charges about 0.20%. It doesn't take a math teacher to figure out the difference this can make to the bottom line.

Sorry, forgot to put my title in my post.

I spent most of my summer in the classroom, studying writing and the teaching of writing, Native American lit among other things. I do this most summers. I have always done this. I try to learn more so I can find more effective ways to reach and teach my students.

I see here in the posts a lot of ignorant comments from people who don't have a clue about what happens in the classroom (and school board meembers who can't spell--what a twit). One of the great dichotomies we in education face is that while everyone voices support for teachers, everyone thinks they can do our job. Everyone has been in a classroom so they assume they understand what we do. They don't see the complexities and the effort involved.

I also see comments about bad or terrible teachers. Yes they are out there. There are bad or terrible lawyers, preachers, poiticians, car salesman, clerks, secretaries, school board members out there too and, despite what some people have said, they aren't found and fired. They often go along for years doing their mediocre worst. The idea that education is somehow a haven for the lazy and incompetent is ridiculous . There are a few bad teachers, but just a few. Most teachers of my acquaintance are dedicated professionals.

There are terrible parents out there too. Lots of them. It's a hell of a lot harder to get rid of a bad parent than a bad teacher.

Do I deserve better pay? Sure, and I'll keep fighting for it, but I'll keep doing my best for the kids too. I make a difference. What the hell do you do?

I am comfortable with the money that I make because, in truth, I am a civil servant. Many people don't realize that if teachers were payed "what they should be paid", our cities and states couldn't afford to do many things that they do for the general community.

Many of our issues in school regarding funding come from the mishandling and mis-investment of funds. I have worked in two large urban school districts - Memphis and Chicago - and have been surprised to learn that many of the people who are "budgeting" money don't have the knowledge to do so efficiently, and that some of these departments (believe it or not) are scrambling at the end of the year to spend millions of dollars that they have not budgeted and end up wasting it just to have fulfilled their budgets.

Isn't it interesting :

For all the chatter about degree qualifications, not a single teacher mentions "performance" in whining about low salaries.

I worked on straight commission for 40 years
after serving in WW II, paying all of my own travel in 10 states and business expenses.

If I didn't "produce" more than my expenses, I starved. If I really produced,I was often fired for making too much commission. My wife ( who never worked ) and I still managed to get three kids through public high schools and college without student loans.

Here is a thought which no teacher's union will
ever consider :

As long as the high school graduation rate is
less than 72% in a teacher's district ( the national average ) the teachers do not deserve
more salary than they are getting -- maybe less.

If the district graduation rate exceeds 72%, pay
them a sliding district bonus.

I have retired to one of the wealthiest counties in America, yet the average per capita income in 1999 was only $28,326 and the median household income was $41,957.

This year, we are taxed $15,000 per full time student -- 80% from property taxes -- yet two
of each five of district kids in the public high schools never see the 12th grade.

Give us break, whiners!

Alan M. Kunerth, Eastern Vice President, Manufacturers Agents National Association, 1989, 1990

Teacher's salaries are fair. Three reasons: 1)Teachers are union laborers. True professionals do not require unions 2)The undergraduate requirements for teaching are one of the least demanding in the nation (look at the GPA's, SAT or ACT scores of a majority of education majors) 3)School districts are constantly having to offer and pay additional for adult education programs (known as "staff development") to teach teachers what they should already know, or else should be willing to learn on their own. Teachers get to keep all this extra training and development.

There are many excellent individual teachers who should be paid as in the "real world". . . based on supply and demand and on individual MERIT, not on union terms or seniority (tenure). Highly qualified teachers should be allowed to select the best students, and students should have to qualify to be placed within their classroom.

For teaching to garner the "respect" that so many in its profession feel is lacking, educators will need to start looking first in their own backyard.

This is my fifth year teaching. I just finished my master's degree working full-time/ going to graduate school part-time. My degree has only raised my pay about $3000 a year. Considering how much debt I've incurred--approximately 30K to get this higher degree, it's not much of a return on my investment--yet. I knew this when I started, however. I did all this because I'm a career changer and want to teach more than anything. I was in management, marketing and sales prior and have taken about a 15K reduction in pay. I knew this going in as well. However, what I didn't know was that we are contractually paid for less than 8 hours of work/ day and the assumed demands and job expectations placed on teachers far exceeds the 7.25 hours of pay I am given. On top of graduate school, I have to work 9-10 hours a day as a special ed teacher. On top of this, I have to work a second and sometimes a third job to make ends meet. I've had to do this and make time for my family of a wife and three kids. I love teaching. However, I had no idea how difficult it would be to accomplish this transition and support a family because of the high hours/ supplemental jobs necessary to put food on the table. Do the math. 7.25 hours a day equates to a little over 36 paid hours a week. Considering I put in any where from 47-55 hours/ week on my teaching job alone, I am radically underpaid. It's a crime, and would never happen in business. Of course, I work in VA where there is no union. If we could legally have one, there might be change. Teacher's pay is a travesty. It forces people like me who change their lives to become one to work 2-3 jobs just to support themselves. In a time of high standards, high-stakes and desires to move people from other occupations into this profession, there is not much incentive besides the bleeding heart argument of "Let's do it for the kids." That's great, until I look at what this change has done to my family. I have to pursue administration now--not something I really want to do--in order to make ends meet and at least stay in the field. It deeply saddens me. Hopefully, one day I can rise far enough to be more of a catalyst for change, much needed change.

I have been teaching for 8 years and still only make $32,000.00 a year. I have a degree in bus/mkt- maed/admin- maed/ci, I teach in Arizona. I would likt to know where all these teachers are that make $70,000. a year. Even principals have a hard time making that kind of money here. A beginning first year teacher will only make $27,000. So we all teach because we likt the job, but it would be nice to see more money paid in our proffesion.

When I worked in the high tech industry, my marketing management positions ranged from $70-$120K per year. I frequently put in 70-80 hour work weeks, particularly during periods when products launched into the marketplace. After 25 years of doing that kind of pounding schedule, I switched to teaching. Now I put in around 50-60 hours of work each week, but I am paid less at $58K a year. The real difference is that I have to spend around $5K each year out of my own pocket for classroom supplies since 70% of my students are low income students. I have no parent volunteers. The kids do not have English language reading material of any kind at home. It is like trying to launch a product to a low adoption market -- you beat your head against the wall daily as you watch sales slowly inch up. Behavioral problems are rampant. Often, the parents themselves have little or no emotional and behavioral control. In short, the emotional and physical drain on the teachers is huge.

In industry, product managers who manage those types of product launches receive hefty bonuses and perks. They also receive respect. I do not see that in teaching, which is lamentable. Given the conditions and the customers, we are underpaid and undervalued. Period.

Not only are teachers underpaid,but the other school employees like,The school
counselors,social workers and psychologist are all underpaid, we all have advance degrees and deserve better pay and respect for the effect and the job we are doing in the community.

Unfortunately we live in a society where so many people feel that teachers are not worthy of such status that doctors or lawyers are given. I doubt that we will ever reach the monetary status of the aforementioned.
However, each child we teach and reach gains something beyond dollars and cents. Ours is not a profession to see who can make the most money. Frankly I'd worry if education was one of the top paying jobs. We'd draw people who are in it for the money and not the importance for which we should be held in high esteem. Just remember the doctors and lawyers went to school before they became doctors and lawyers.
Should we strive for a good standard of living? Yes. I will always fight for the benefits that educators before me earned. This year I will finally earn a salary that I feel is where I should be.
However, we are public employees and as such are at the whims and mercy of the town we work in. It's easy for people to complain how much money is being spent on education in their town. Afterall, a lot of them vote on a budget. It's tough to shell out money when it's basically something that you are mandated to do (pay taxes). Paying thousands of dollars to go on vacation or buy a boat or a car will not draw a second thought for some people. But school taxes are a different story.
I think the point here is not how much money we should be paying but being recognized as a "professional" occupation that gets the respect of the public.

If teachers worked the 180-190 days required by Texas, and arrived 30 minutes before the kids, left 30 minutes after the kids and left all the work there, the pay wouldn't be too bad. I came into teaching following 15 years in another career, making twice as much money, in which I got burned out. I teach because I love what I'm doing, but what the general population doesn't seem to realize is that any teacher who cares about his/her students is often at school 1 hour or more before the kids, stays an hour or so after, for tutoring, takes work home at night and on the weekends. And oh--that 190 day year doesn't include 5 to 10 days in the summer for required professional development, plus curriculum coordination meetings, and reporting to the school a week before the "official" report date to get the room ready, because for 3-5 days at the start of the year, you sit in meetings about why the boys shouldn't be allowed to sag.

I love teaching, but when I see my 25 year old daughter, with a high school diploma, making nearly twice what I'm making; when I struggle to pay the bills and still have money to by my wife a birthday present; and when I spend my own money to buy pens, pencils and notebooks for my students who can't afford to, It makes me question whether it is worth doing what I love. And the most insulting of all was when one of our state legislators commented: "If teachers are so 'good' at what they do, why are they willing to work for so little money?" This comment came during the same month when the state legislature voted itself a very generous retirement package (for working 5 weeks every other year), but refusing to come to a consensus to fund textbooks that they had commissioned textbook publishers to create. Do I think teachers are paid enough? No. And I don't think we ever will be, because we love what we do, so we don't ever force the issue, but IF they aren't going to pay us a salary comparable to private industry, the least they could do is make the job easier, by being honest with us, themselves and their communities. Stop spinning the numbers--records indicate that the average high school class size is 25-27. In reality, most are 30-40 and many classrooms are so overcrowded, that if it were any other public facility, it would not pass the fire code for maximum capacity. Stop publicizing that we work 180-190 days per year--when it's closer to 2-3 times the number of hours worked by the average business employee. Stop putting more priority on athletics (funding) than on academic success. Stop legislating change without the benefit and advice of those in the trenches, and don't create a single legislative mandate, until the money is in place to pay for it.

Teachers are responsible for creating the leadership of the future. The ones that will be taking care of us and the legislators in their old age. Do we want to pay now or pay later. Pay a wage that will encourage people to go into the classroom both because they love and can afford to live on the salary. Pay for adequate facilities, staffing, or pay to build more prisons. We see a decline in socialization skills, in civility, and in self-control, and we blame it on the media, the parents, the schools, but no one sees the message that the kids are receiving. The sad fact is that if there is a pot hole on a legislator's street, that he has to cross every day, it's going to get fixed. The legislator doesn't see the kid that has to sit in a chair between desks because there aren't enough desks or there's no room for more. He doesn't have to pay out of his own pocket to put supplies in their hands or put equipment in the room. In short, the children and their needs are invisible to the legislator, and they have successfully marginalized teachers to the point that we are ignored, so guess who doesn't get needed money. The message to the kids is: "I'm not important enough to be invested in." We spend billions of dollars annually on pet projects for legislative constituents--defined donors, and next to nothing on the education of our children. And that starts with adequate, comparable salaries.

If you want livable wages for educators, put a cap on administrative salaries that are not on campus of 20% over the average salary of a teacher with 5 years experience. And pay legislators in salary, the same amount that the state pays schools for each child for a year, and extrapolate that to pay them an hourly salary based on the hours they are on the floor in the capital. A child is in class for 1260 hours per year. Texas pays less than $3000 per child per year. That works out to $2.38 per hour. The legislature is in session for 5 weeks every other year, so if we are generous and say they work 5 days per week with 6 hours on the floor, they "work" 150 hours every two years, and if the salary is divided over the 2 year term, that means that their annual salary should be approximately $178.50 per year. How many of them love the job so much that they'd do the job for that?

After 32 years in pre-college science ed and another 15 years in univ teaching and research in sci ed, I have decided that any teacher willing to prepare, in depth, for, AND, then, work at teaching long and hard enough to improve the art, ought to go for as much pay as is possible to recieve, "and then some". Regardless of how sympathetic sounding are the pronouncements of school boards and this or that "educator"(usually some administrator-du-jour who will move on in a year or so), interviewed by local newspapers, about underpaid teachers, the fact remains that, when the cameras stop roling, most of the them and much of the general public consider teachers to be highly paid babysitters. This categorization must be changed.

Teachers ought, never, stop trying to improve their competency in subject and delivery. Just as important, they should never stop hammering away at salary limits. They will have the professional capital to spend in these pursuits if they are seen as never faltering in their resolve to effectively teach their subjects and, truly, prepare students for subsequent learning.

Advice: If you KNOW that you are good at your craft, and if you have spent so much time and energy preparing for it that you are, probably, "overprepared", seek as much money as you can get. If you are "worth it" and can prove this in terms of preparation and student performance, then no salary is "enough" for you.

First of all, Mr. Kunerth seems to be "whining" about his unfair job and telling teachers that two wrongs make a right (i.e. If I did it, so can you). Perhaps if he had a "union" he wouldn't have had to settle for the unfair practices of his employers. More that that, if he had a degree he would've realized that he was being taken advantage of, and chosen a profession other than a salesman.
He also seems to be implying that the high school dropout rate is somehow due to improper or ineffective education. As a parent, I know that it is wholly my responsiblity to foster the importance of an education in my children. If they choose to go in another direction, there is no way I would even consider blaming a teacher. Besides, which teacher would I blame?? Nor could I blame the school system that works hard to meet the needs of all children including those with special needs.

I have read the posts by non-teachers calling teachers "whiners". Perhaps those people are just jealous of what we do have. One respondant suggested we quit if we don't like it. If our jobs are so great in their opinion - why don't they become teachers as well? They can go back into school, run up some nice loans and then live blissfully on their wonderful pay and all that time off!

I am fortunate to live in a state that pays fairly well (I make 53K right now in my 7th yr). I wouldn't be so uptight about it except that I spend about 1K a year on supplies for myself and my students because my school's budget is tight (and most of my students come from families with an income way ABOVE mine which really drives me crazy). I also have an issue with paying for my advanced degree on my own. How many white collar workers in business and industry need to go out and buy their own office supplies and have to pay for their Master's degrees? Last time I checked with my friends, their corporations valued them and their own corporate goals enough to provide these things.

I enjoy being a teacher but I am sick to death of the "whiner" label. Just like any profession we have the right and duty to advocate for ourselves for better wages and compensation packages.

I have no problem with merit pay - just make sure that every kid that walks into my classroom, and my co-workers classrooom (with whom I am now competing) is the exact same in motivation, intelligence and behavior. After all, its only fair that we all start of with the same raw materials, isn't it? And for those of you who want to pay us based on a student's progress - thats NOT what standardized tests currently measure so we would need even more testing. Who's going to pay for the development of that test? Surely not the taxpayers.

Teachers deserve to make a good living based upon their education and competence. Instead of pulling teachers down by complaining about time off, maybe people in other professions ought to use teachers as the example to bargain for their own time off. Instead of complaining about teachers benefits, maybe they ought to use teachers benefits as a bargain for their own. Maybe if people think its such a great job they should become a teacher, we always need more. Just make sure you're good at it so you don't make the rest of us look bad.

I have read all the comments here and am absolutely amazed by some of them. Many of the comments have told us to "stop whining" and "that we chose to teach". I think the issue of pay does go to the amount of respect we do not get in the community. I have been many things in the school distrct, secretary, bookkeeper, substitute teacher, computer technology specialist, volunteer, wife of a teacher and parent of two great students. I have always wanted to be a teacher, to make a difference in the lives of children and the furture of this country.

Is it a calling, you bet! Do I know the pitfalls, yes. Will I do it anyway? I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

The typical day of a teacher is much more than the 8 hours put on the "clock." My husband's day "clock" day begins at 8:00, that is when all teachers must be in their classrooms to begin their day. (He usually arrives at 7:30 at the latest) The students start their day at 8:20, where about 30 students arrive for homeroom. The 10 minute class is used to take attendance and give annoncements. Six minutes later his first "class" arrives. During those six minutes he was in the halls to make sure there are no fights, open gang activity, and that students are going to class. His first class has only 28 students in it. He is lucky, it is a collaborative class and there is a second teacher in the room for the special needs students. The class lasts 50 minutes. He is supposed to teach "from bell to bell." That means that any disruptions in the class come out of teaching time, never to be made up. (Ususally these disruptions are caused by one or two students who don't want to be there that day.) His next class is another collabrotive class and has 27 students. The next period is his "planning period." During this period he must be in the halls for the first 10 minutes to give detention to any students caught in the hall without a pass, then he gets to call parents. He must call all the parents for the students that were absent the pervious day, then he must call all the parents of the students that misbehaved, and finally he gets to call the parents concerning grades. He has 149 studetns not counting homeroom. If only 5% are absent that means 7 phone calls, one child per class for a behavior problem, (if he is lucky) is another 5 calls, and 10% for grades. The total is 26 calls to be made in 40 minutes, that is not even 2 minutes per call. Since there are not phones in the classroom, that means that any "planning" must be done while on the phone, in between filling out the call logs that must be kept. Fourth period includes lunch. He and his students get 26 minutes to get to the lunchroom, eat their lunch and return to the classroom. There are 31 students in this class and there is always someone returning late from lunch. Fifth period he has 33 students and sixth period he has 30. Of the 149 regular students he has 2 that do not speak English, 36 have IEPs (most in the collabrotive classes), an additional 10 have behavior problems, and the rest are typical teenagers. Please notice that not once have I metioned a bathroom break or coffee break. The students leave at 3:20, if you can get them out of the school. My husband is not allowed to leave until 4:00 at the earliest. Since he had so much time to "plan" for the next day during his planning period he usually does this after school, leaving sometime between 5:00 and 7:00. He then comes home to grade papers and finish off anything that needs to be done for the next day. He usually puts in a minimum of 12 hours a day "just to teach." That means he puts in at least 46 hours a week, for 52 weeks "just to teach" even though he only "works" 200 days a year.

To keep his certificate current he must take additional approved classes of 10 staff developement units in three years. You must complete 3 class hours to get 1 s.d.u. That is additional time spent "just to teach."
None of this includes coaching, which he does, volunteering, which he does, or meeting with our daughters teachers (who go to the same school).

Would he trade any of it to get paid more? Not on your life. Does he deserve more than the $36,000 he got paid last year, absolutely. I don't know of ANY job that doesn't include breaks, that requires you to provide your own supplies (paper, pens, scan converters, etc.), and requires the amount of after hours of preperation that teaching does. If you didn't get a break during the day, would you stay?

As teachers we are given the priviledge of influencing our future. We get the joy of seeing our students "get it." We deal with the most precious commodity in the world, NO ONE would be where they are as an adult without a teacher, good or bad. Can you put a price tag on any of that? Probably not.

All we are truly asking for is the same thing that most other people GET everyday in their chosen professions: dignity, respect, and a fair wage.

Remember the teachers in your lives, the ones that allowed you to have enough confidence in yourself to dream. That is what a teacher truly does, they allow people to dream to become whatever they want and then gives them the tools to accomplish it.

I'm not sure that some of the non-teachers understand what it takes to become a teacher now days and how the classroom setting really works. I had no concept of the "real world" classroom until I began to go into schools to observe. I was shocked to see what goes on in the schools.
I'm thankful that I went into the classroom as part of my preparation. People think that it's easy to become a teacher. What they don't see is the amount of hoops we are now required to jump thru to become certified teachers. And that a reputable university has many hoops on top of the required hoops to jump through.
Now that I am almost finished with my pedagogy classes, I am realizing that it's not just going to the school and teaching the students by lecturing. It takes time to come up with new ideas for science projects and new tests. Modifying all aspects for those students that are labelled disabled or have IEP'sw. As a teacher you don't just deal with the student and the parent...you deal with the grandparents, gaurdian, social worker, administration, etc.
I said this to some of my friends recently who were telling me how lucky I'll be to be off work at 3pm and have summers off. They realized after I explained to them how their perception was off that they were glad they wouldn't be teaching.
It does amaze me how I always hear people say how teachers and firefighters have such honorable jobs, yet when it is time to vote for pay increases....those people change their minds. I hope it's not true - you get what you pay for.

I am in agreement that good teachers are underpaid. Our teachers start out at $21,000 a year and top out at $26,500 with a Masters. I find that part of the problem with teachers pay is the school board that sets the pay schedule itself. With this school year starting our school board, two of which have college degrees or higher, voted to give some of our non-certified personnel, i.e. janitors, and secretaries a larger pay raise than our certified teachers. We now have in our system some secretaries and janitors that make more than some of our teachers who have spent the time and money to get a Masters degree to become better teachers. Where is the fairness in this. I seem to not be able to find it. This will be my 6th year serving on the school board, and will be my last due to the climate that janitors and secretaries are worth more than a teacher that is teaching my child how to survive in this world. All they are teaching is that it pays more not to get an education.

It is shameful to the American Idea that so little respect is accorded educators and that we must convince anyone who has been to school at all that we deserve more than the meager pay we get. As Shakespeare said in Hamlet, "Brevity is the soul of wit"; thus, I will be brief here and quote another writer who forecasted the dark future we are about to enter: Single-mindedness is all very well in cows or baboons; in an animal claiming to belong to the same species as Shakespeare, it is disgraceful." ~ Aldous Huxley.

Single, narrow thinking about education and the anti-intellectualism in this country often makes we mere teachers undervalue ourselves. Incentive Pay?!!! Why not just a salary that would make us comfortable so that we would not be compelled to work year round and take on grueling second and third jobs just to make ends meet. That's what disgraceful about all this eloquence just to convince someone who equates money with worth that we should not have to live and work at poverty level and take such vows to be merely credible. Are we cows or baboons? Hardly. Why does it take all this to get those who measure productivity in terms of test scores to see our worth. Maybe our Brave New World won't need teachers at all. I have suggested a pay scale. It has not been printed. Does EdWeek censor what it does not deem tenable?

Someone mentioned in an earlier post that teacher's health insurance is paid for them. Mine is not paid for me, it comes out of my paycheck every month and the cost for this health insurance has gone up. Why should teachers complain about their pay...well, let me count the why's.

I have a masters degree that leaves me owing thousands in student loans. I will probably be paying on these loans for the next 20 years at close to $300. per month. I spend my own hard earned money for school supplies that I feel the school system should be purchasing...example books for students to read...I'm talking about good literature. School supplies for students that parents should be purchasing but many do not. I have spend so much money that if I could claim a deduction on it all as a work expense...I might even get back a refund at the years end.

Teachers are constantly having to stay late after school to meet with parents and for various meetings. Also, teachers are constantly staying up on their own education. They have to attend workshops,staff development, etc. We are one of the top professions and should be paid as such.

I think if teachers felt more valued and appreciated for the hard labor they put forth...then we would have more good teachers than not so good teachers. However, I feel the not so good teachers are just overworked, discouraged, and perhaps doing the best they can with what they have to work with.

You want a good education...you have to be willing to pay for it.

Someone mentioned in an earlier post also that they did not get much out of their teaching programs. The teaching program I went through was excellent, including the masters program. I was able to use what I had learned and I learned a great deal. So don't go knocking the college education or program that teachers go through to get where they're at. True maybe not all programs are the best....but as a student seeking higher learning...you need to check into the various programs out there and go for the best. I did.

It was hard work, but well worth it.

I teach in a private school. I have a BS in Biology and a MS in Science Education. I teach four preps, one of which is an AP science. I am required to do lunch duty, monitor a study hall, advise students twoce a week, and offer an after school activity. I make $37,000 a year, and I have to live three counties away in order to live in a house (40-45 minute commute each way). We are right outside the ever sprawling suburbs of DC. I don't expect to make a ton of money, but I do expect to make enough to live in the county I work. Now, even in the county where I live I would only make $38,000 as a teacher. With the going rate of 250K for a townhouse, and 1200 sq ft new homes starting in the 300K range - I am glad I am already at least here! A living wage is what is needed. I don't want/need to be rich. I do need to be able to live.

We're all paid (salaries & benefits) what we think we're worth or we find something else. No one job is "the most important" to a child's education. Parents are extremely important but not paid. Teachers are very important and paid. Strangers that we all meet can have significant impacts (good and bad) on our lives paid or unpaid.
Teachers are not the only professionals who can't afford homes. That is not a salary issue that's a housing issue and the more we subsidize that the higher prices will climb!
Agreed that many administrators are overpaid and that uninformed legislators can make teaching inefficient and more expensive but that is no reason to add to the cost of education by raising teacher salaries. Allowing teachers more input into the education process would do a great deal more for the performance of students than simply raising teacher salaries.

I once read a comment made by someone that went something like this: "who teach doctors to be doctors, who teach lawyers to be lawyers.....teachers". Politians who have never taught a day in their life make up and vote on what our salaries will be! The cost of living is increasing daily. (Example: gas prices) Our salary needs to reflect the standard of living and inflation. I teach in a small district in Texas and get paid about $37,000. I love teaching and I love children, but what I don't love is the lack of respect we receive when it comes to our salaries.

I agree with the comment that teaching was considered a 'spinsters' career. Just like nursing, which is predominantly filled with women, teaching is low paid because only women will work for a lower salary.

That said, I think the corporate world is brutal. With many jobs off-shoring, I think teaching will remain a viable career for a two-career family.

I am a Director of a nonprofit grass root organization and we ask ourselves the same question, we look into values and what we value the most and the large mayority of our 3000 members think that in this country we do not value education properly, biginning with teachers salary. A teacher should be respected and well paid, about $60 or $70 K a year pay for new teacher, and from there on. The only way to pretend to made them accountable for students success. We want the best doctor for our children and the best teacher for our children. We need to pay them a decent salary. Genrals and politician are not ensuring the future of America, teachers are.

Dear Alan M. Kunerth and others,

I would venture to say that no non-combatant can understand the difficulties of fighting in a war. Vietnam vets returning to an America indifferent to their sacrifices were deeply hurt and rightly so. Our veterans need and deserve our support.

So do teachers. I don't believe that any non-teacher can understand the difficulties of teaching. But parents of adolescent children might be able to imagine the difficulty. Imagine parenting 30 adolescents at one time. Now multiply that by 4-6 periods in a day. On any given day, one (realistically, 10% or more) of those adolescents are having a bad day - whining, pouting, being angry, or belligerent, etc. Imagine handling your adolescent child in a class of 30 pseudo-siblings. Some will get jealous and act out too for attention. Some will make wise-cracks, some will get angry and may not speak to you for a week. That is just a glimpse of what a teacher may face. And you have do this again and again in a high pressure situation, where students and teachers are working to meet the expectations of a society that looks over their shoulders to criticize their work, without understanding the stresses of the classroom.

Society criticizes our soldiers for the atrocities of war, our police for police brutality and our teachers for being unproductive when given a classroom of 30 students, some of whom may be gang members and even threaten a teacher's life.

Please go into one of those classrooms and teach for a year before you make a judgement on what teachers do or do not deserve for their supposed lack of productivity.

Alan, as a member of the "Greatest" generation, I am deeply surprised that you find those whose personal sacrifice for future generations unworthy of your respect. Teachers are on the front lines fighting ignorance, poverty and apathy. I believe they are worthy of your respect.


Gregory Louie
Research Neurobiochemist, Molecular Biologist, Nanoscience researcher and proudly a High School Teacher!

I am currently in school studying to be a teacher. I have done my research and pretty much know how much pay I will be getting. What enfuriates me is the people that look down on me because I want to be a teacher. Everyone thinks teaching is so easy, but hardly anyone is willing to do it.I do not think it's "whining" to demand better pay, especially when most other professionals with equal education make twice as much as teachers.

1. What other profession do you have to buy your own office supplies or supplies for someone else's children. All that money comes out of the teacher's pocket, which in turns lowers the teacher's pay.

2. People keep saying this is the profession you picked and to not complain about the pay. People should be thankful that some of these people became teachers in spite of the pay, because if everyone had that attitude, who would educate your children. It is that attitude that makes people feel like they aren't respected.

3. Maybe teachers make good money compared to average jobs, but as someone pointed out, that compared to the education teachers recieve, they are underpaid. I live in Bergen county, NJ can you tell me how I am to afford a $350,000.00 fixer house in a less affluent town on a 45,000.00 a year salary with over $300.00 a month for student loans. I am not complaining, because I feel that teaching is more of a calling for me. I am in it 100% for the children, It just seems that some people don't see the reality, or the sacrifes that teachers are making for someone else's children. Teachers advocate and think constantly about the welfare of the children in thier class, or at least I do, and the best some people can say, is that it was my choice.

If I left the profession and was replace by someone who didn't have my dedication who would be suffering?

Should I be paid more? Yes. Will I get paid what I'm worth? No. Will I change jobs because of it? No. Why, because I do love what I do. I came into teaching at 37 years of age. Worked at various jobs earning my BS. Alternative certified to teach spec. Ed. Realized I didn't know enough to help the students who I was teaching reading to. High school students who read at a 2nd grade level. Went back for my Master's full time while teaching full time. For a big raise of 1100.00 a year. So I didn't do it for the money. it was for that Junior in High school who told me "I can go to college now". Why, because I helped him read better.

Yes my job is hard. I spend extra time and money on things I know are needed for my students. Somedays I feel like giving it all up. Then some student comes back after graduation and says. You were so right. I'm so glad you were their for me. I love you. I say you never could pay me for that. That was my pay.
Respect from others is what I would like. I get it from my students and my individual parents. Now if I could only get it from my administrator and my neighbor... What a concept. Oh yeah pay was the issue. I'm happy I make more then my husband who doesn't have a degree, but works for the state. My benefits are lousy but that is what my husbands job is for. I do get to spend time with my children which in another profession I might not be as lucky to do. If I get enough part time jobs in the school year I do get to spend 2 months with my sons. So it is all good. Respect is what I want, the money can come out of it.

In 1982 after seven years of school and volunteer internships, I started my dream job at a small non-profit social service agency. My best friend was also starting her dream job, teaching kindergarten. We both were thrilled to be making $12,000 a year. At that time, I felt sorry for her that she couldn't work in the summer like I got to work with my clients all year round - how sad that she'd have to miss the kids she'd be growing attached to during the year.

It didn't work out that way, though. She went to work at 8 to prepare for class starting at 9, and complained about having to stay "late" til 4 o'clock or so, when class ended at 2:30. I went in at 7 to prepare for appointments or meetings at 8, and seldom left by 5 - in fact I often was still in the office at 9 or 10 pm especially on Friday nights, trying to catch up on reports or case studies, or preparing for Saturday behavior guidance workshops I taught to... teachers! By the way, social workers also work on salary so no overtime.

A year later my friend still said she loved her job, and got quite testy when I pointed out that she had nothing positive to say about it. She denied that she was complaining constantly about the kids, their parents, her co-workers and especially the administration. She did admit that she felt she wasn't paid well enough.

Twenty years later, she was completely burnt out. Her primary topic of conversation was her stress-related health issues and her inability to make ends meet on her $54,000 base salary plus another $12,000 additional pay for the extra duties she volunteered to do (supervising the bus monitors for 20 extra minutes after school and teaching a couple of 6-week after-school courses on introductory music - meeting just once a week). I was making $31,000 working 50-55 hours a week, scheduling extra sessions after hours for clients who’d exhausted their regular benefits and in general struggling to keep up with the escalated demands of a job I still loved - in addition to finding time to coach soccer along with several other community volunteer jobs.

My buddy’s family medical insurance took $125 out of her check each month, mine took $365. She said "but I have union dues, too" - $22 a month. She took a new assignment as music teacher, now having kids in her class for only a few 1/2 hr blocks each day. She worked from 9-2 and frequently snuck out early. I added a weekly parenting group for court-referred abusive parents to my workload

In 2003 I learned budget cuts to our agency included my job. I received a two-week severance check and the $20,000 I'd managed to save in a 401K was worth only $14,000 when I was forced to cash it in to make ends meet. I continued to enjoy 20 weekly hours of community service during my two years of unemployment.

That same week, my friend learned that since she was so burned out and having obvious difficulty dealing with children in the classroom setting, due to her seniority and experience she was being promoted to assistant principal, with an $8000 raise.

Oh, but that's not all. Shortly after that the state's school boards simultaneously decided to up teacher's starting salaries from an average of $24,000 to $30,000. Great news! And incidentally, the state's social service departments CUT 90% of their salaries, so the job I was fortunate enough to find started at $23,000 instead of the $28,000 it was advertised at when I applied. Take-home pay after insurance AND union dues, is $1200 a month.

If I had it to do over again, I'd sure hope I'd be a little smarter and choose teaching over counseling. Somehow I don't think it would be any harder, and today I would have a retirement plan to look forward to. .

I remember in my undergrad and in several seminars and workshops hearing people joke about how much teacher's get paid and the punchline is always that "if you go into education expecting to make a lot of money, then YOU'RE the one who needs an education!" On the flip side, is it fair to take advantage of the good-hearted person who has a love and passion for working with children and tell them that it should just be worth it to know they are touching the lives of others?
Research has been done that shows that the majority of teachers would be happy with the money they make if they had more support and resources from administration, parents and the community.
While it would be nice to think that if teachers made more money, the pool of candidates would be larger, thus ensuring a more highly qualified group of educators, but with the way teacher preparation programs are set up, just about anyone can get a teaching license if they jump through enough hoops.
I also agree that there are people who work "harder" for less money than teachers. My in-laws are both hourly blue-collar workers who pull twelve hour shifts for $10/hr and get lousy benefits and almost no vacation. It is hard to compare any type of job.
My only frustration with teacher pay is from the huge disparity between teachers and administrators. They may be the "face" and the "vision" of a school, but that doesn't mean they should be making two or three times as much as the classroom teachers who make that vision happen. I think that only entices the wrong people into administration, the ones that see it as a money-maker instead of a way to impact children.

This September I will begin my new life as a fourth grade teacher. I am thrilled at the ability to do this - but, in relation to the discussion topic of teachers pay - I could only join the teaching proffession after having another career first. As a mid life career changer, I worked for 16 years as an economist in the energy industry - I loved my work for a long time, but eventually became tired and bored. It was time to move on and I am finally following my passion to teach. When I left my job in December, I was making $120,000. This September I will be making $36,000. Yes, I chose to do this, but I had the ability to make a choice that many do not have. Aftern working in the corporate world for so many years, I had earned enough to set up a compfortable home for my three children and put enough money away for their future education. I certainly would never have considered teaching right out of college - I wanted to own a nice (yet not fancy) home and to be able to afford having kids. Lately, I have met so many very talented people who would love to teach, but just can not afford the opportunity cost of passing up a six figure job for a five figure job, regardless of the perceived joys of that five figure job. As an economist I cannot help thinking that this issue needs to be examined from many aspects, but certainly from the opportunity cost aspect. If potential teachers have other opportunities to make higher income, it will be hard to become, or remain a teacher. What happens then is that the proffession can only attract those who could not make a higher pay, or those who can sacrafice the opportunity cost because they have other financial support, (this is why there are few men in teaching) or fewer financial needs (ie no children.) The low pay of teachers severly limits the pool of candidates our schools can pick from - to make that pool bigger, and increase the quality of teachers - pay needs to be increased. In the end - you get what you pay for.

The salary reflects the importance and significance of the job. As doctors save lives, so do educators. Students' lives can be made or broken in one year with a bad experience with one teacher. If all other parts of their lives are "in place", one year won't make a difference. But as we all know many of our students don't have support systems that can enable them to overcome difficulties. This is a life or death issue just as doctors deal with each day. Teacher education needs to be improved, the number of years to get an education degree needs to increase, and the ending salary for educators must go up. Many teachers do spend their off-school time furthering their education, but some don't. This needs to be restructured as to how educators spend their "summer".
Until educators are expected to have significant education requirements, and are perceived as important as doctors and lawyers, our children will continue to pay the price.

I live in a district where the average teacher makes 60k a yr i have no problem with a teacher earning that much if they are in fact earning it . In my own Childs case last yr is teacher was out of class more then 4 months for family and personal issues which i can understand to an extent , But i can tell you no job in my life would have ever let me take that much time off for personal issues and still have a job when i was done . because its a special ed teacher she will be coming back this yr . all the kids in that class room learned last yr they learnd from the special Ed aide the sub was just there as a figure head and there teacher had family problems so if you ask me the aides are UNDER PAID

I suspect that each state has one or more websites that publish education salaries by district and by name. Sites like this use data from public sources of salary data for persons paid with tax money. Everyone interested in education expenditures should acquaint themselves with such sources in their own states.

I reside in a village in a western suburb of Chicago. In this village, the local public high school district, according to one of these public salary sites, has an average teacher salary(latest data available for 2003-2004 school year) of $71532. This includes only teachers and not administrators. The 100 top salaried teachers in my state ranged from about $133,000 up to about $173,000. My local district does not have any teachers on the "top 100" list. Our top salaried teacher was over $122,000, missing the "top" list by over $11,000.
check into the existence of such public salary sites in your states. Public salary is, after all, public knowledge, right?

New teachers, starting careers in which they expect to stay, should consider the financial challenges involved in starting and raising a family, and, that done, ought to apply at districts that preovide the best compensation in salary and benefits. Sadly, many of those who start whining after 10 years on the job are the ones who did not do such research.

Laboratory science teaching was great fun for me. Lab science teaching and student research project "mentoring" are the closest things to "getting paid for your hobby" that I know of! I would do it all over again. However, I would spend time, in today's market, doing more of the research noted above. The districts in which I taught were not bad as regards compensation. However, today's "trendy" emphases on sef-concept enhancement, co-teaching, and out-of-subject assignment, ALL at the expense of developing excellence in student subject knowledge/skill, would make the pre-application research a bit longer.

So many of the comments here talk about how hard being a teacher is and I do not recall anyone saying it was easy. I wanted to be a teacher myself, but was almost finished with school so I just stuck with my major. I am still involved in education, so I feel lucky. What so many here don't realize is that jobs are hard, period. They would not pay you to do them if they were easy. This is life, people. And your life is what you make of it. So, if you choose to be miserable with your current situation, and choose to always feel cheated out of something, then that is your choice and your life. I am not going to sit here and complain about all of the things I don't like about my job because I, like you, am lucky to have one in this unpredictable economy.

Teacher salaries are too low, yes, but raising salaries without changing many other variables will accomplish little. We need to upgrade the profession at the same time: better training, work year/day aligned with the task, more professional environment (clerical support, technology), more accountability, more autonomy, higher expectations for collaboration with others, more student/customer focus, just to name a few variables. Then, a higher salary makes sense. Teachers work hard (most of them), but they don't work smart and they are constrained by obsolete policies, procedures, and assumptions about schooling.

A school board member who can't spell "over-paid" really scares me; but enough on that. I also agree with the comment regarding the disparity between teacher and administrator salaries. Yes, with NCLB, high school exit exams, API, and AYP, administrators are under pressure to have their school/student test scores in a range that will keep them from being declared under-performing. However,as many of my colleagues have so eloquently stated, the classroom teacher has always been the mainstay of the school (along with the secretary and custodian) and has always borne the brunt of the critcism when test scores don't meet expectations or students do not succeed. The administrator, with very few exceptions, places the teacher on an Improvement Plan with the goal of dismissing them, rather than taking the time to be that model in the classroom. As for pay discrepencies, that has been, is, and will continue to be a problem as long as we "drink from the public trough". Until those who control the public funds (yes even our "regal" governor "Ahnold")begin to value our efforts rather than demean them, AND until the teachers' assocations in every town, city, and state unify even more, we will be left to our own devices and at the public's mercy. Teaching is my life and my second love (my wife and family being my first), I am a good and successful teacher, according to my students, their parents, and my evaluators and I will continue to be an advocate for all of my students and the young teachers I mentor. That being said, are we underpaid? Most definitely...can we do something about it? Most definitely...would I trade my life and career for another...Not on your life!

A comment, above, states: "...but raising salaries without changing many other variables will accomplish little." the comment goes on to describe the "other variables". I disagree.
Raising salaries, ALONE, is a good place to start, and it would raise morale. That, alone, is a very good thing to do. Salaries raised, we can work on the other variables. To tie the other variables to salary adjustment has had an effect similar to that of linking "killer amendments" to legislation that "everybody" believes is needed. The legislation becomes too complicated and not "worth" the struggle or "give backs" to pass it. Sound familiar, contract negotiators?

In addition to morale enhancement, significant salary increase could, over a relatively short time, enable the Human Resources office to set standards higher than "Certificate and Warm Body". Next to respond might even be the University, perhaps, to drop "Middle School" majors in favor of such as "science", "mathematics", "English", etc. for teacher ed. candidates. I wouldn't happen in a year, but over time....?

Neat thing, the market economy. Enable the demand side, and there's no telling what might accrue to the benefit of our profession. Could even end the supply stream of science teachers like the one in my first school who taught students that turtles "shed their shells"(!)....or, maybe, decrease the probablility that the "new teacher next door" would run over to my classroom, and, breathlessly, ask: "Quick! Which of these marks on the meter stick are the centimeters and which are the milimeters?" When the rewards are high enough, you can be more picky.

Just a thought.

Lest Mr. Brandt include me with the linguistically creative school board member, I plead a combination of arthritis, trifocals, and haste in dropping a "t" from "it" and an "l" from "millimeter", and similar slips in my previous comments.

The "boardies" I, last, served spelled well enough, but could find nothing amiss in assigning a secondary science teacher, with a research doctorate, to teach a section of language arts writing as well as science. The teacher was told that any educated person could do THAT! Exit expectations of recognition of "teachable momments".....enter writing instruction, as designed by an engineer!

I am returning to the teaching profession after 20 years of business. The current teaching salaries (42K-65K) at my school district is similar to that of an insurance clerical staff person. Noting the salary levels and the vast amount of credentialing units needed to become fully credentialed, I would never suggest to anyone else that they should become a teacher. Of course, the intangable rewards of teaching are
priceless, but they, unfortunately, do not pay the mounting bills.

My district has extremely low wages to even the neighboring districts in Maryland. I will be earning about $33,000 if I take a job next year in the district I live in. I have substitute taught for several years and only make a few dollars above minimum wage and no extras. I have been lucky in the fact that I have had only a few bad days and can chose not to teach for certain teachers who have appalling classroom management. But I cannot wait to start my own classroom. Now if the county will pay teachers in scale to the fast rising property taxes.

$33,000 you need to move to my end of Maryland then the average is 60k a yr

The current teaching salaries (42K-65K) at my school district no offence but i have a 240,000 home and 4 kids and my husband suports us just fine on 52K a yr and 1 of my kids is disabled and no we do not get ssi or anything like that for him

In response to the board member who was outraged about the janitors and secretaries receiving more money than the teachers I agree with him. It is not right. Teachers are highly educated and much is expected of them. Good teachers do spend their own money and time to benefit their students. I do need to say in defense of secretaries (which I am) and janitors, that jobs at a campus, be it the Vice-Principal or the night janitor are demanding and underpaid. Having been a secretary at a campus, at district administration, in state government and in the private sector I can make the same statements as the teachers have made, the hours are much longer than 8 hours a day, the duties are much more than those of a secretary in private, state, and especially district administration. It is also more fufilling as we are on campus, seeing that what we are doing makes a difference for the children. I will say that the most difficult aspect of my job is keeping up with the UNBELIEVABLE beuracracy of my large urban school district. And having worked in the administrative end of it, the school staff, both professional and clerical are far more in touch with reality, more intelligent, more practical and more concerned for the welfare of the children than the staff at District level. There motivation is truly political and not a decision is made without thinking how it will politically effect them. It is truly sad that so many demands are placed on teachers, secretaries, and attendance clerks. (And whatever our janitors are making, they have earned every penny of it and more). I have kind of jumped around on several topics but for one closing thought, during my typical day I try to be available to the needs of about 30 teachers, my principal, vice principal and counselor. I am often fulfilling the role of school nurse as we are only allocated a part time nurse. I often have children in my office after school, as their parents have forgotten to pick them up. I spend time daily comforting children who are hurt, ill, sad, left after school far longer than the other children etc. I am responsible for obtaining all supplies that the school needs, while staying within budget and being aware of the endless financial rules that are too numerous to make sense of. My desire is to help my principal, my teachers, the other staff, and the children. I find myself answering to about 40 different overpaid beurocratic departments at Central who seem to have the job of making it as difficult as possible for teachers and staff to support the children at their school. They would it seems prefer that I be transferred to 10 different people, to get 5 different answers on the purchasing procedures for the book cart I am trying to by for the library. And you do not even want to hear about payroll. It is truly sad that teachers can't teach and be paid what they are worth and that support staff can't support the teachers and campus administration. I spent evening and night hours preparing bulletins, documents, teacher list, supply list etc. because of the unrealistic work load that I have. It seems as if the federal, state and local beurocrats prefer things to be done much differently. I am guessing that none of their secretaries have to follow 1/100th of the protocal that I have to deal with daily.

There is no doubt that teachers are underpaid. In the 9-county SF Bay area the median housing price is $620,000. The housing price boom of the last 10 years has made it difficult for anyone, let alone teachers, to buy homes in our district.

In my previous life I ran a business dependent on its employees--much like the schools. The quality of job applicants is directly related to pay. Schools are no different.

Especially unfortunate are the levels of starting pay which should be about $5,000 higher and ramp up faster. Also, perhaps there should be some mechanism to reward people for previous experience outside of education if their teaching merits it. [I realize this last idea is controversial, but may be necessary.]

We should also be looking at how low starting salaries impact our ability to attract a diverse group of teachers to match our diverse group of students.

Lastly, as the comments above indicate, many quality teachers make significant sacrifices in time [and sometimes $$] to do their job in the way they feel it should be done. It would behoove administrators everywhere to identify quality teachers, and figure out what kind of supports would allow them to do their job without burning out.

Lots has been said above by many people, including myself. Common threads appear to be that teaching is enjoyable, it requires much extra preparation and grading time, and "I wish it paid more." Some decried the pay of non-teachers compared to teachers who were highly educated and deserved better.

To sum it up might go something like this: Prepare hard for for teaching. Don't expect to see rewards similar to any other profession, requiring a similar level of education. Guiding people to achievement, like virtue, has its own reward. Society knows that we like to do it, so decent pay is rare. Lastly, society does not see what we do as much more critical to the survival of its lifestyle than daycare.

I believe that we will have reformed society's attitude toward our profession, and compensation thereof, when Weeknight TV Football loses even a 5% market share to Weeknight Science Projects/Math Games/Student Debate/etc.

Till that unlikely turn of events, most teachers can still say that they enjoy their work. The majority of non-teachers seem to detest theirs.

How much should teachers make?

A great question, and one that needs to be asked simply but seriously. After all, we live in a nation that measures success and status by income and wealth. By that measure, I am an utter failure. Nearing the end of my long teaching career - having earned a Ph.D. at an Ivy league university as well as having a book published by a university press - I earn in the mid-50's working 50+ hour weeks, 40 weeks a year.
It might make average Americans theortetically "swallow" higher pay for teachers by recognizing that a typical worker works a 2000 hour year: 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. Teachers work as long. Only the distribution of hours differs.
However, the final and critical question is: how would the nation fund substantial increases in pay for the more than 2 million teachers in the country? Until funding for schools is radically altered, all discussion on teacher pay is an academic exercise.

How much should teachers make?

A great question, and one that needs to be asked simply but seriously. After all, we live in a nation that measures success and status by income and wealth. By that measure, I am an utter failure. Nearing the end of my long teaching career - having earned a Ph.D. at an Ivy league university as well as having a book published by a university press - I earn in the mid-50's working 50+ hour weeks, 40 weeks a year.
It might make average Americans theortetically "swallow" higher pay for teachers by recognizing that a typical worker works a 2000 hour year: 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. Teachers work as long. Only the distribution of hours differs.
However, the final and critical question is: how would the nation fund substantial increases in pay for the more than 2 million teachers in the country? Until funding for schools is radically altered, all discussion on teacher pay is an academic exercise.

How much should teachers make?

A great question, and one that needs to be asked simply but seriously. After all, we live in a nation that measures success and status by income and wealth. By that measure, I am an utter failure. Nearing the end of my long teaching career - having earned a Ph.D. at an Ivy league university as well as having a book published by a university press - I earn in the mid-50's working 50+ hour weeks, 40 weeks a year.
It might make average Americans theortetically "swallow" higher pay for teachers by recognizing that a typical worker works a 2000 hour year: 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. Teachers work as long. Only the distribution of hours differs.
However, the final and critical question is: how would the nation fund substantial increases in pay for the more than 2 million teachers in the country? Until funding for schools is radically altered, all discussion on teacher pay is an academic exercise.

How much should teachers make?

A great question, and one that needs to be asked simply but seriously. After all, we live in a nation that measures success and status by income and wealth. By that measure, I am an utter failure. Nearing the end of my long teaching career - having earned a Ph.D. at an Ivy league university as well as having a book published by a university press - I earn in the mid-50's working 50+ hour weeks, 40 weeks a year.
It might make average Americans theortetically "swallow" higher pay for teachers by recognizing that a typical worker works a 2000 hour year: 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. Teachers work as long. Only the distribution of hours differs.
However, the final and critical question is: how would the nation fund substantial increases in pay for the more than 2 million teachers in the country? Until funding for schools is radically altered, all discussion on teacher pay is an academic exercise.

Here is my curriculum vitae:
2 Bachelor's degrees, journalism and sociology
1 Master's degree, teaching literacy
1 Multiple Subject Teaching credential with Cross-cultural emphasis (CLAD)
1 English supplementary authorization
1 Special Education credential pending
Current salary: $38,000

27 years as a newspaper and magazine editor and writer
Past salary: $53,000

It is true that I derive great satisfaction from my current career, and of a type that did not pertain in my past vocation. It is also true that I went into teaching knowing I would take a sizable pay cut. However, I was unprepared for the simultaneous stagnation of salaries, tumultuous complaints from outside the profession, and decrease in available jobs.

I have been teaching on various temporary contracts since 2001. I do not know whether I will ever earn tenure.

Teachers are well paid. They receive 30,000 to start and can advance to over 80,000 with experience and education. In my county the Judges and Prosecuters were earning less than many of the seasoned teachers. Social workers, many who enter dangerous situations every day and work at least 40 hrs. a week for 50 weeks a year, earn half of what teachers earn. As schools gobble up money for higher salaries, the state slashed funding for libraries and other community programs.
Teachers are not CEO's they are public servants paid by taxes. Teaching is a profession that offers personal satisfaction and great vacation.

We get what we pay for: teaching is a calling, but better salaries will call stronger candidates to teach other people's children in the public schools. Base compensation for teachers should be raised signficantly and indexed to appropriate economic indicators. "Base plus" compensation could be linked in part to teacher deliverables such as evidence for increasing student engagement and achievement such that a 360 degree evaluation of annual value added could lead to bonuses; and promoting from initial to mid-career and on to master levels of teaching and leadership responsibility could be linked to compensation, without necessarily requiring that distinguished teachers leave the classroom for significantly better salaries. Sabbaticals and other incentives could be resurrected to encourage reflection and renewal for teachers and to create a more inviting option for non-teaching, mid-career people who are considering teaching, especially in critical fields. Raise expectations and minimize mediocrity, but raise compensation as well to compete more successfully for highly qualified candidates and to honor our commitment to people who touch the future in such an intimate and important way....

If I were paid as much as a baby-sitter, you would never hear me complain.
Enough said!

The total compensation package for teachers in Michigan averages over $100,000 and includes a retirement package that is second to none. Also teachers work an average of 180 days in Michigan with 15 days for leave time. In these days of economic distress most of our 'customers' would be happy with those conditions.

The baby-sitting comment above is offensive. You clearly should have retired yesterday.

Sad, when someone doesn't know when to quit.

What is offensive is that I am paid so poorly that a baby-sitter makes more per child per hour than I do.
I love my job and my "kids". Retirement is not on my radar screen-we have tried to replace retiring chemistry teachers in our building and there aren't any. So, I guess I'll stay. Or, maybe I need to move to Michigan......

Of course it is very low, especially when you consider seriously the responsibility that teachers assume.

Linda, high school
i thank god you are not my son's teacher or his babysitter in some states teachers arnt paid what they deserve and in other certain ones are paid more then they earn

Wow! What a reaction....why are some of you so negative? I speak the truth-when I calculate student hours in my classes [now, this is for class time only; not prep, communicating with parents, make up time for labs before and after school, meetings, etc], my total salary is less than $1.55/student/hour.
And, because I speak the truth, you don't want me to teach your children OR I should be retired????
No wonder we don't get respect from the public; we can't even give it to ourselves.

pre haps i am negative tward your comments because i had a teacher when i was a child who all he did was complain to us about being nothing more then a high paid babysitter and when i asked him for help he flat told me he didnt have to teach me anything or pre haps its because my son is in a school district where the agerage teacher makes 60 to 65k a yr and yet i had to fight to get him a decent education ill add that my son is High functioning Autistic and there for needs his teacher to also be his babysitter and last yr his OVER PAID BABYSITTER LOST HIM FOR 20 MINUTES AND DIDNT BOTHER TO REPORT IT to the principal whom told me that class room policy is if there is a missing child the office is to be called I am sorry but i understand his teacher is burt out to the max but she is paid well more then my state worker husband and my fears are that you may be in the same boat as she

I WANT TO ADD that i am not coming down on teachers in general my son has had some teachers that i would say worth well worth every penny they made and then some

You have my sympathies; the teacher you are complaining about sounds like he needs to be doing something else.
I thought the discussion was about teacher salaries. My comment was designed to get us thinking about where we place our priorities as a society and a comparison between my pay as a highly-qualified chemistry teacher and the pay you might offer a 15 year old who might [or might not] invite the boyfriend over while baby-sitting your kids at home.
While I might offer my opinion about my pay [or lack thereof] in a professional forum I would never make a comment about any aspect of my pay in the classroom. Sorry, I am too busy teaching chemistry; my personal finances are not part of that equation.

Teaching is like parenting you really have to love it to do it well the rewards may be worth far more then money

Parents do need to be more apricative of there kids teachers 1 thing i do when we get a teacher who really works hard with my son is insted of the apple for the teacher thing we for holliday gifts send gift cards to the teachers for the local teacher suply store because i know that alot of there suplies do come out of there own pocket . I thing i have noticed here is that there is no one set ideal pay rate acrose the country i thought the teachers union was a national thing i live in a state where teacher are paid very well in my opion my husband works for the state emergency center in public relations and makes much less the then average teacher , Teacher saleries on average run in the 60s in some cases up to 80k a yr depending on the district and the type of job to me being the daughter of a blue collor auto maker thats a whole lot of money and i understand that teaching is a hard job there are some jobs in this world you could never ever truley pay what they are worth i know police men who make less then teachers and these are people who get shot at for a living thats my point you have to love your job because you may never truley earn what you think you are worth

My district tops out the teacher salary at $65,000 [and that is for a teacher with a PhD and 25 years of experience]. The average teacher with 20 years experience and a master's degree gets less than $40,000. Our students are from broken/single parent homes [65%], qualify for free lunch [75%], meth is rampant, and gangs are starting to become a concern.
In an effort to control health care costs, our district has raised the individual deductible from $300 to $2000 per year. We have not had a raise or been able to move on the salary schedule for 5 years. I live in a right-to-work state...we do not have a union. I spend more than $1000 per year to make sure that my kids get to do lots of labs. We are barely making it-and I still would like to make more than a baby sitter.

How much should teacher's make? I am beginning my 27th year of teaching in special education. I will make almost $45,000 this year. I don't think about the money until I hear about someone in the private sector making much more for a similar educational background (Master's degree +). My own son will probably make more than me soon with a bachelor's degree in computer science. Do I love it? Sure! Does it make me crazy? Almost everyday! Would I do it again? Probably. It only takes a couple of kids to come back years later and say, "You were my favorite teacher." or "You were right. I wish I'd listened to you then." to help you feel like you've made a difference. After all, isn't that what it's all about?

or when a student you told would never make it thru high school sees you yrs later and hands you her deplomia and says thanks for the push i have a teacher who i think of that fondly

As a person who sees both sides of this discussion, I would just like to add a comment myself. I am exactly one day into my first year of college, and feel MOST teachers are extremely underpaid. The problem being with this discussion is that the price of living in different areas varies as much as the paycheck. In one part of the country, $36,000 may be more than enough, however coming from a student who has done some teaching/assisting in the class, some teachers are not being paid nearly what they are worth. Some teachers have the theory that because they have seniority over new teachers, they can do anything they want, and deserve to make more. I do not think this is right. I believe a teachers salary should be based on how they teach, if they can actually help the students they are teaching and how the students are responding in the class. This past summer, I was an assistant in a high school in Chicago because of the Golden Apple Scholarship. I taught 3 days a week, for 4 hours a day. Yes, I know this is not even close to a typical teachers work load, however between full days of classes Mondays and Fridays, Teaching in the mornings Tuesdays through Thursdays and then taking classes from noon until 5:00 in the evening I do see why teachers say they are not being paid enough.

Am I going into this line of work for the money? Absolutly not. I could make much more in computer sciences, or in any corporation in America. I am doing this because it has always been my dream and my passion. I love teaching, and helping young children. I have worked with everyone from students with learning disiblities, to students who are deaf, to students with physical disabilities, and from kindergarteners, to students going into their senior year of high school. Is it rewarding when a student actually gets what you are trying to teach? Yes! However, in order to be able to help the students understand, it takes money. Most schools can only give teachers a limited amount of money for their classroom. It takes much more than what a first year teacher can ever dream in order to get a class off the ground. You start with nothing. I will need to get books, class supplies, decorations, and materials that can help me be creative with my students. This will have to come out of my paycheck. How many times has your child gotten a holiday gift, a gift on their birthday, a gift for the start or end of school from their teacher? I know I can count many times that this has happened. This all comes out of the teachers pocket. I myself have gotten gifts for the students I have taught, and I am already starting to pick up the gifts I will be giving, my students next summer when i am teaching in a Chicago Public elementary school. This is all coming out of my pocket, and I am not even being paid yet. Yes, teachers can send out letters to the parents asking for money to help fund activities, however, not all students can afford the few extra dollars. I know I would not be able to tell a student they can not participate in an activity because they do not have the money. Again, another expence for the teacher.

Some teachers do not belong getting even the amount of money they get right now and deserve to be fired. Other teachers, however belong making double.

I know my comment will create much controversy, but next time you start thinking that teachers make plenty of money and should just be happy with what they are making, consider what i have said and consider the amount they have put out, and put back into the children and their classroom. Then think about how much they are left with after taxes and all of the expenses.

As communications consultant to American business for the past 22 years, I can tell you that the educational system is not doing the job. Will higher teacher salaries help? No, I don't beleive so. Base compensation for America's teachers is adequate.

Teachers are among the most educated people in the USA. When they made their career choice, they knew that teaching compensation packages were not among America's highest. Teachers' retirement packages are the best, however.

I could support a bonus system for outstanding teachers. Standard testing of students would be only one objective criteria, but it would be an important one. In exchange for this bonus opportunity, I would like to make it easier to get rid of incompetent teachers. The existing system does a poor job of policing its own.

A little career competition and accountability would help teachers be more sensitive to the needs of American business.

Teachers salaries should remain the same... the only change should be a tax-free check.

A bonus system for those who seem to go above and behond the call i think is a good ideal i know i would love to have given my son's Kindergarden teacher a raise for her efforts with my son alone and this poor woman had 11 special needs kids in the classroom and 1 aide and the first thing the woman said to me when i met her is HE WILL LEARN IN HERE and he did our school is lucky to have her and i hope they show her that

I am looking at the salaries of many of the teachers on this list and am very jealous. I teach in Texas. I teach a self-contained classroom that services EBD students. My base salary is $38,000 with extra stipends. I have a a Masters degree in Theology and have almost completed a Masters in Education. These Masters degrees give me an extra $1,000 a year over my base salary. While this is good money for someone that is single or just out of college, it does not support a family. In fact, I cannot afford the health insurance that is offered by the school district. It would cost me nearly $500 a month for my family.

Texas is having many problems with staffing their schools. Texas is having major money problems as well. In the school district I teach in, and many around me, there was no raise given to staff this year.

Should teacher make more money, yes without a doubt. I have over $30,000 in school loans that I must pay off and at my current salary I cannot afford it. When I look at the signs posted around my school depicting average salaries for American's with degrees it makes me laugh because most teachers in the America can never even hope to make that much money. Likewise if the government wants us to be highly qualified and have higher degrees why can they not help us in attaining this goal. Really why would someone even want a Master's degree if their raise is $1,000 a year and they will have to pay about $15,000 for the degree.

Teachers that make 70K+ are making double my salary. My health insurance is NOT covered, and a family policy is over $700 per month. Statements have been made about teachers complaining. I don't think that is what this board is about. We were asked what we thought we deserved. Like J. Walker, my Master's degree helps me earn a whole extra $1,000 to my check per year, it cost me about $10,000 to get the Master's....

In my state of Tennessee, we are the poorest county in the state and 3rd poorest in the country. Our percentage of free-reduced lunches is about 80%.

Also in Tennessee, you can go to the website and look up any teacher's credentials without his or her knowledge. They would never do something like that to a doctor or lawyer. I am so sick of non-educators that think they can tell me about what my job is and how I should do it... without complaining....

Teachers do not generate revenue and therefore will never command high salaries. It is unfortunate, but true. I really like the idea of a tax-free paycheck though.

Before entering the profession of teaching I worked in Marketing/Advertising. I made more money than I do teaching, but I did not like the work nearly as much. I definitely think that the trade-off is worth it.

I have an MBA, an MAT, and am working on my MA in English Literature. However, I have always believed in education for education's sake -- I have never pursued a degree just to increase my salary. It seems silly that people are saying that they got their masters for an increase in salary only to find that the bump was only a couple of thousand dollars -- if the education was only to increase salary then it wasn't the best way to spend the funds.

For my family, a salary of $50K and benefits is a good deal. I love my job, I can be with my children after school and in the summer, and the benefits alone save us $900/month. When you add the savings from benefits and no need for childcare, my salary is worth about $70K. And, let's face it, teaching does get easier with experience.

In contrast, my husband makes a six-figure income. He has an Ivy BS and an MBA plus 18 years experience. He works in Manhattan - a one to two hour commute on a crowded, hot train. For this pleasure, he pays $400/month. We also are taxed in both NY (where he works) and NJ (where we live.) Did I mention that he works at least 60 hours/week? And, that the expectation in his field (consulting) is that 60 hours is a minimum? A work-free Sunday? We haven't had one of those in months. A vacation without interruptions from work? Nope.

Who has the better deal?

Should we fight for higher pay? Absolutely! But we also should be thankful for the benefits of having a meaningful, flexible, FUN job with plenty of time off. It's hard work...but what have you done that is important and isn't hard work?

The depth of teacher anger over substandard salaries is growing. As a union negotiator, I've noticed that, more and more, teachers are unwilling to accept settlements that would have been viewed as fair agreements in the past. Proponents of incremental progress toward better wages and benefits are being overwhelmed by more radical elements who demand instant professional level wages. As a result, tentative bargaining agreements are being rejected out of hand and nearly impossible demands are being placed on bargaining teams to force breakthrough settlements immediately. Negotiators have become the ready target for attack by teachers who are angry at every organzation--federal, state, and local--that impacts their wages and benefits. Negotiation is the best process for advancing teacher interest, but the ratification meeting hell is driving good people out of service to their fellow teachers.

How much do CEO's make? How about astronauts? Scientists? Researchers? Stock Brokers? Our president, politicians, and statespersons? Whatever these and other high salaried people earn should pale in comparison to what teachers earn. Without teachers, there would be no people capable of holding these positions.

Teachers are responsible for the foundational education that help students to develop the necessary skills to work in high paying professions. Why isn't the field of teaching a high paying profession? Tachers should be paid a based salary of 50,000. They should earn an increase of at least $5,000 a year based on student progress. A 20 year veteran should be making at least $100,000 and a 30 year veteran should top out at between 150,000 to 195,000. If superintendents are being paid astonomical salaries to organize other high salaried personnel, teachers should be paid high salaries because they are the group in the organization with the most important job. Teachers have the distinguished and priviledged opportunities to help children develop into productive citizens.

Teachers are responsible for the foundational education that help students to develop the necessary skills to work in high paying professions. Why isn't the field of teaching a high paying profession? Tachers should be paid a based salary of 50,000. They should earn an increase of at least $5,000 a year based on student progress. A 20 year veteran should be making at least $100,000 and a 30 year veteran should top out at between 150,000 to 195,000. If superintendents are being paid astonomical salaries to organize other high salaried personnel, teachers should be paid high salaries because they are the group in the organization with the most important job. Teachers have the distinguished and priviledged opportunities to help children develop into productive citizens.

Reading these comments is like being at work already. The woman "Marie" who says teachers "complain" a lot about how much they get paid is right in one way...We did sign up for the position. A 'Professional' position which in most states requires not only 4 years of college but sometimes 7-10 years of college and continued education on a yearly basis after that. I am sure there are lots of people out there that work back-breaking trade jobs too...but they also signed up for those. That being said, I think most Teachers got into this profession to make a difference...but most of us expected to make a liveable wage based on where we live. Have you checked the rents or home prices to live in NYC lately? As far as overall salary is concerned I would have expected to make more than the guy who collects my garbage twice per week. I would not have expected to go three years without a contract (twice now!!) during my career. I also would have expected that my child could be raised by myself or my wife not some person in a child care agency so that we can afford to live 'ok' still check to check with no savings to speak of and hefty amounts of debt.
I will never leave my profession for something else because I enjoy the kids and those parents that really care. I would love to see however something done about school discipline...really done! When the kids know they cant be removed from school they are in charge of the school system. As one retired teacher said to me, "the inmates are running the asylum now." Oh and one last thing-please dont believe those TV ads when Politicians enter classrooms and everything is sweet and nice..on those 'special' days the entire staff is on high alert and fearing reprisals from administration if something goes wrong.
Yes, I chose to Teach...now give me someplace that it is possible to 'Teach' and my students WILL learn.
Marie I have no doubt that you or your partner work very hard just realize so do we - Teachers.

Hello Ruth...WAKEUP!!! It is just your sort of people that don't understand that we (Teachers) do produce revenue..it is called the future...without Teaching and Learning there isn't one. The revenue we produce are the children that go on to become Advertisers, etc. Do you think you woke up and knew how to work in that field?

And Mr. Negotiator...negotiate a fair and worthwhile contract and maybe no one will look at you sideways. Do you consider being paid on levels with or slightly above garbage men unfair?!?! or unreasonable?!?!...if you do then maybe you should be negotiating for another profession because I wouldn't want you negotiating for my contract because you don't have Teachers' best interests in mind.


Robert - You misunderstand my comment. Of course teachers prepare people to earn money and generate revenue for their employers. What I am saying is that we do not DIRECTLY generate revenue that can be used to pay our salaries. There's a big difference. If I am working in advertising and I help my company generate $20 M in sales, my employer can afford to give me a piece of the pie. However, if, as a teacher, I help students to perform well, complete a college education, and be gainfully employed this does not translate into a larger budget for the school at which I teach.

If we cared about education, and paying teachers, like we do for sport facilities and sport players; then we wouldn't have the problem of teachers leaving the profession. My husband knew when he married me what my job was going to be and that I wouldn't make much money. I love teaching, but with the prospect of moving to a rural area, the pay cut that I would have to take is scarry. Teachers also have to remember that there are many teahcers in this great nation and that the funds can not be there for us all to make an enormous amount of money. This will always be a difficult discussion among us, with an answer too far out of reach. It is just a shame that society cares more for entertainment than it does for education.

Yes,our salary does NOT correspond to the work we do with teaching our students.Some politicians say"Anyone can teach". I say "To teach comes from inside,not because the salary but the will to teach children is the driving force of a real teacher".

I am fresh out of college, with all of the newer teaching models, strategies, and behavior management fresh in my head. I'm finding that I am not only teaching, but helping veteran teachers learn new strategies a lot of the time. All of the new programs they haven't seen, the technology they haven't used, it's all my area of expertise. I find it hard to teach all day, train other teachers in the afternoons, join all of the committees, and then go Wal-Mart every week to buy the supplies I need.
I think I should be worth more to the school system than $34K, especially with all of the extra effort I put into my job.
At the end of the day, though, the kids make it all worth it. I just wish I had a bigger budget to teach them with.

My view:

A teacher has to be charged with energy, knowledgeable about their subject matter, a supervisor of children's activities, responsible, dedicated, and organized. Not to mention, that since NCLB came into play, a person must also take long hours of professional development on their time in order to remain a "highly qualified professional."

I believe this is all bunk. A teacher can drag themselves out of bed in the morning, rise to the challenge of a new day, deal with disruptive children, teach to the few that wish to learn, keep one step ahead of their subject, remain on topic in class (not easy to do with so many distractors), edit, correct and file papers, personalize themselves to the public and keep parents apprised of their child's efforts. All of this is done each and every hour of the day with the children in school, in the evenings at required conferences, on the phone with others, at the grocery store (mind you it's difficult to recall which of the students the parent may belong to if they don't have that child with them), at the dentist or doctor's office, and in the fitness center while trying to beat back stress. A "highly qualified professional"? Yes, and no. Teachers usually get into the career with the same thoughts that the parent has about teaching, "what a way to help kids, get paid for it, and have long vacations." Little do they know that their long vacations are actually full of extensive educational workshops or classes which they are responsible for paying for because the district won't have the money. They don't realize that they will have to spend about 15 to 17 hours a day (8 in classes) and the other 7 to 9 hours outside class being the organized person who is dedicated to their subject and wishes to get those papers graded.

Are teacher's salaries unfair?

When a person actually breaks down the amount they get paid for the time they spend doing the work and taking professional developments conferences, workshops or classes, you can find that they are paid less than minimum wage. The average beginning teacher is getting paid a whopping 21,500.00 per year. Most beginning teachers will find themselves working around 15 hours a day on school related things, including Saturdays and Sundays. That is about a 105 workhour week. Take that wonderfully high pay of 21,500.00 a year and divide that by 40 weeks (the average number of weeks in a school year). You end up with 537.50 a week that is gross pay, don't forget to divide that by 105 hours and that will give you the amount the average first year teacher makes an hour. That's 5.12 an hour. Hmmm, now, take into account that the 'summer vacation' time wasn't even considered as to how much time a person spends on remaining in their position. Oh, yeah - didn't anyone ever mention that you HAVE to do this professional development to KEEP your job? Otherwise, you end up losing your job.

I'm really not sure whether it is 'fair' or 'unfair'. I couldn't make the minds of others up, and I remain in my job, so I must think the wages are all that bad. They are very SLOW to advance and sometimes flat out get frozen for a year or two. However, the wages eventually do go up - they don't keep up with inflation though. I believe that teachers salaries would be more fair if they kept up with inflation.

How much should a teacher make?

I think a teacher should make only as much as they are worth. Not everyone is a good teacher, not everyone is mediocre teacher and not everyone is a bad teacher. We have all kinds of educators in this business. I believe that the cream of the crop types are going to work for the districts that give great wages. And, then the mediocre teachers will make enough money to stay afloat.. Unfortunately, the bad teachers make the same amount of wages as a mediocre teacher. A bad teacher doesn't have to be a negative person, they can be just as peppy as the super teachers or the parents want them to be, however, you will not look kindly on a teacher if your child doesn't learn anything in their class. So peppy does not always equal good, and that straight-faced, never smiles, cranky teacher does not always mean bad. Yeah, the preppy teachers are easier to get along with, but life isn't like that. And some teachers believe that life should be shared. I personally didn't really appreciate the smiles of my preppy teachers in high school, I felt a great deal of accomplishment when I got a smile or a nod of recognition from a sourpuss teacher. So don't judge the worth of a teacher on how preppy or sour they are, just judge their worth on whether they are getting anything across to the kids.

If you are in the marketing business you want your customers to purchase the product. However, they won't purchase a product if they don't get anything out of it. Same goes for education. Purchase the time of the teachers who can actually make a difference in those kids' lives by 'teaching' them, rather than just spending time with them. You wouldn't want your infant's babysitter to teach your college student calculus if they couldn't do it themselves, would you?

Yes, I believe a teacher should be given a wage according to their abilities to teach.

Other issues that can be raised:

How do you put a wage on the special education teacher whose students plateau and cannot learn any more?

How do you fix a broken system?

How do you determine if a teacher is really not teaching or if the kids are the ones not learning?

There are a thousand and one issues (if not more) that could arise from the controversial way I stated my comments. Hopefully, people will read beyond my poor grammar and get the idea that some things just need to be said - controversial or not.

Can districts pay for the wage hikes? Not at the current formula for figuring out educational funding. But a more important question is... With the current lack of success in testing of high school students in the US, can we afford not to increase the wages spent on the educators?

How to do this? I'm not sure, but perhaps we should quit paying politicians, or, we could just give THEM teachers' wages. (LOL) I don't think they would go for that!

I went back through reading everyone's comments before me. I had not read them when I had written the comment I made on wages. I have one more comment or rather question...

"With that emotional reward to compensate for money; can you pay for your home, pay your bills, feed, clothe and educate your children?"

This is only to mention a few of the necessitities of life. Well? I have felt that great reward from having past students walk in and ask for a hug from their favorite teacher, or tell you how they are doing at work or in college, or even been invited to weddings. But, NOT once did those emotional rewards pay my bills - and I surely don't understand how your emotional rewards are paying yours? Did I mention I'm a single mother of three successful individuals?

I have always loved the "anyone can teach" line that comes out of the mouths of people who do not teach for a living. I invite anyone who dares say that line to come into my school on the west side of Manhattan without the pagaentry and high-alert status that usually follows "guests". I dare them to come in as "substitutes" for a week or two, unannounced...let's see how much they get done, how much respect they receive, how much they want to return to their cushy jobs outside of education ASAP. "Walk a mile in my shoes..." etc...I hope someone wants to do this real soon....I need some comic relief before Parents night when I have to listen to parents ask me why
their child failed my class. At least some of them show up.....for those precious few I have complete respect even if their kid does no work at all..it shows an interest in their kid, something I have seen as sorely lacking over the years....whoa is the world when our children cannot garner our interest.

Hey have a Happy Day!

UFT Teacher/ NYC
ps - The contract is not really a victory. The time givebacks basically get us our raises not our teaching successes.

i love teaching i dont know why people are complaing about the pay because i make a lot of money i make way more then yall dont hate on me because yall dont make a alot of money teaching
im a good teacher and if u got a probl;em with the money then get another job ugly people

First of all, teachers are professional educators who are supposed to teach our children that slang terms such as "yall" does not need to be used. And professional educators do not use symbols to spell out words for example: u instead of you. If teachers who consider themselves "good teachers" use improper slang on public message boards, I cringe at how they probably talk to their students on a daily basis. I am not an English teacher by no means, but I do know that we use periods at the end of complete thoughts. The teachers who use such improper slang are the ones who need to find "another job" because they are doing an injustice to every child that they come in contact with. My word of advise, is to first learn proper english and then use it. How in God's name does a person get a professional certificate using broken english such as "yall dont hate on me". What is America coming to?

I LOVE teaching!

Should educators get paid more? Of course--starting at $45,000 for a BA. "Combat pay" should be given to those like myself who teach in the "hood". Honestly, that's the ONLY way urban school districts will keep quality teachers.

Here's a kicker for you--my sister TEMPED as an administrative assistant (with only a high school diploma) and made almost (within 1-2 dollars!) as much as I did! Shame, shame, shame!

Now that we have such a poor economy, laid-off corporate individuals who used to "snub their noses" at teaching have now stolen our jobs away. When I finally passed my certification test, competiton was so stiff that I had to pay a headhunter to find a teaching job...but it isn't in a public school (although it pays very close to one).

Before you ask "Why pay a headhunter?", jobs (good or poorly-paying) out here in my big city are EXTREMELY hard to obtain. 95% of the time, you have to go through a temp agency. Been there, done that...almost became homeless 3 times.

Let me tell you, urban school teaching is hard as *&^% at times, but it's paying the bills right now. My prayer is to teach in my hometown...less gas money used, less stress, and a chance to be myself (nice) instead of being a "hard ---" 99% of the time (only because I HAVE to!).

Wow - There certainy is a lot of back-slapping and horn-blowing about all of your 'advanced degrees' and, at the same time, a lot of whining and comisserating about how poorly you're paid per year. Seems it's not the 'skins' that earn the $$ - it's the actual work you do in this, our REAL WORLD. You complain about the intensity of grading papers at night and the 'long hours' after school. Well - in order to make my numbers and please my employer enough to EARN my salary - I put in about 75 hours a week - 48 weeks a year doing work that enables you to do yours. Want to compare books? Your employment requirements - which include an incredible 190 day annual classroom commitment - offers something called tenure. How, may I ask, do you rate a guaranteed job? Tenure was around to keep bodies - not necessarily good teachers - in the classroom - it has NOTHING to do with merit and needs to be eliminated along with the unions that actually are in place to protect NON-PROFESSIONAL Labor from predatory management - that relationship has reversed. If you are so highly educated - how about managing your own future instead of having your union take students hostage every fall for increased wages based only on union philosophy? Scary thought, huh? Let me break something down for you: Teachers in Michigan start at an average salary of $35,400 per year (2003-04). This is pay only - benefits add an additional $3000 - $5000 annualy to earnings. This is for a certified teacher with a BA/BS - Etc. Masters level educators typically have higher average earnings due to having tenure - which means they have been handed the mandatory pay raises every teacher gets regardless of accomplishment per year. The Average earnings for a college educated non-teacher working an average 345 day schedule per year is $29,500 (2003-04)plus an additional $1000 - $3000 benefits package (1/3 on average is paid by the employee). The average salary in Michigan for teachers with 5+ years experience (not performance) is $57,500 - plus the aforementioned benefits. The Average Salary for college educated non-teachers in Michigan is $52,000 - with the also aforementioned COSTS for benefits. So- as true as it is that teachers are not necessarily 'respected' for the tremendouos work they do - they ARE, in fact, compensated MUCH higher rate than their average counterparts with equal education who MUST PERFORM at a level deemed appropriate by their employers to first - keep their jobs, and second - earn pay increases. So - Enjoy your 190 - take home your paycheck, buy your expensive SUV's and homes in the burbs with the $$ I must pay for MY benefits and learn to touch base with reality every now and then!

Teachers are very important to this nation. Everyone depends on an education.Teachers make about the same amount of an average citizen. teachers are in high demand, but their paycheck dosen't seem to got larger. I don't want to pay taxes when i get older, but i will pay taxes for teachers to get a larger salary in any type of school.

Teachers are very important to this nation. Everyone depends on an education.Teachers make about the same amount of an average citizen. teachers are in high demand, but their paycheck dosen't seem to get larger. I don't want to pay taxes when i get older, but i will pay taxes for teachers to get a larger salary in any type of school.

Valerie If your a teacher why do you have such bad english problems!!!
Teachers arn't ugly or bad so don't be hat'n on them!!! >:P

Alot of factors calculate a teachers salary. I think we should be grateful for the salary, benefits, pension plans, incentives and extra family time (weekends and holidays) we are entitled to. Not to mention the diverse group of special children we help pass civilization and knowledge on to everyday. Teachers should be proud to be teachers because its truly one of the highest honors anyone could have-don't weigh it down by focusing on "how much money" we make. Rarely anyone in any profession probably thinks he or she is making enough money. I think we (teachers) have been given unfortunate chances to tell the world how much "unfair" money we make, how stressful it is, how "bad" the students are, and how many hours/weekends we work overtime. This is not professional or productive. We should be positive about our choice of profession and maintain pride when we discuss it. Truly caring teachers are in this for the outcome, not the income!

Teacher pay per day worked is extraordinary. I would love to earn that kind of money. My brother is earning just over $75,000/year in the LA-area after seven or eights years in his district and maybe 10-12 years of total experience. Since he teaches for 180 days plus does another ten or so 'in-service' days he works approximately 190 days each year. I receive nine holidays and 20 vacation days each year. It will never increase. Therefore, I work 231 days each year. If he worked the same number of days that I work he would earn over $91,000/year. Can you live on that? I can. We both have similar educational backgrounds -- Masters degrees that is. On top of this generous salary he also has guaranteed employment for life and a fat pension to go along with it. Yes, he has no worries. On the other hand, I can be fired at any time for no reason whatsover and my pension plan will probably consist of a goodbye lunch -- if I don't get laid-off first. I'm not complaining about what I have or don't have. I'm not complaining about working an average of ten hours each day during the 'slow' times and 12+ hours/day during the busy times. Working weekends? Of course! So the bottom line is this -- if you don't like teaching, take your dime-a-dozen psych degree and go work at Walmart for $8/hour, receive no benefits, no pension, no job protections, etc... and then you'll have something to complain about. No one is forcing you to teach. If this is how you really feel about it, quit! Anyone who complains this much or is this unhappy with their situation is better off doing something else. And the kids are probably better off without you as well. Good luck!

Teachers suck i hate them and i hate school!

By the way yea im right teachers don't suck and if you hate school how did you find this web site? I love teachers and I love what they do and I know that they care for some of there students who care back!!! And if any of you who are reading this are techers for the OPS district I want to say that you guys are doing a great job and the same goes for the rest of the teachers.

I am a senior at a college well known for putting out well prepared teachers. I am personally going into teaching for a love of the profession. Starting pay is low where I live, however, I feel that if you put your time and effort in, it will pay off in many ways. Pay almost doubles in ten or so years. To all the teachers complaining about pay, I do understand where you are coming from but why are you all still teaching if you are that unhappy? The pay is rather decent compared to most average jobs. The hours can be strenuous (considering out of class preparation time) but at least you have weekend, nights, summers, and paid vacations to plan when you feel like planning. Overall I am very happy to become a teacher regardless of the six years that I have spent in college or the money that I will be making. I plan continue in college, NOT because I am being forced to but because I WANT to and my students deserve to have a teacher who is well prepared and happy about recieving her own education. I am glad to see that many teachers are happy in their profession regardless of their financial situation. For those of you who keep complaining about what you do, try to remember why you became a teacher or PLEASE FIND ANOTHER JOB. I will be happy just to get a teaching job because I love it!

If you love teaching it shouldn't matter how much you make. I love teaching it is my passion and i don't care what the salary is i love my job and thats all that counts!!!!!

you teacher's should get more money and should learn how to teach better and not hire people who are mean and unfair and should teach the student's with more respect. the teacher's shouldn't give student's detention for throwing a pen to a person but not intetionally

u teacher's shouldn't give us homework u are to old to listen and def in the process of it. if u can;t teach enough during school then that's not our problem.

You teachers are all the same. You think you should make a fortune for working a part-time job. Didn't you know what the job paid before you decided to become a teacher? If you want to make more money, go back to school and get an education in a field that pays. Try engineering, law, business, etc. You teachers think you have such a unique skill, but the reality is that qualified teachers are not hard to come by, particularly those teaching at or below the high school level. Why should you be paid so much money when there is an abundance of qualified teachers available to take your job away from you? Besides, teachers work fewer hours than politicians do. Try working a 40 hour week if you want to make more money.

There are many people who whine about nothing being paid enough for being a teacher and others because they think teacher should not whine. The truth is that teachers do work long hours and more than 180 days out of the year. THe fact of the matter is that, if you know that you would only make 30000 a year being a teacher would you? Many say it is a career choice and that is true, but that makes no difference. A teacher should be paid more if they can not even paid to live their life reasonably. Who are the people to say that do not even teach that they should stop whining even they never had the job as a teacher. Let me see those people have my job for a couple of years and paid their bills, eat, and have everything else you need to pay for paid. Let me know how you do!

There are many people who whine about nothing being paid enough for being a teacher and others because they think teacher should not whine. The truth is that teachers do work long hours and more than 180 days out of the year. THe fact of the matter is that, if you know that you would only make 30000 a year being a teacher would you? Many say it is a career choice and that is true, but that makes no difference. A teacher should be paid more if they can not even paid to live their life reasonably. Who are the people to say that do not even teach that they should stop whining even they never had the job as a teacher. Let me see those people have my job for a couple of years and paid their bills, eat, and have everything else you need to pay for paid. Let me know how you do!
No job is perfect, and everyone has problems at work, but a teacher helps children with their education and to go on to college. No one else really. So you make the decision to whining about teachers whining about how much they make think if made that much and did what they do.

How many of you teacher live in a old trailer and never take a vaction, have bad christmas and live on social services? How many work 11-12 hours a day with no breakes, watching 6 kids making 10,000 a year? How many of you have to work on snow days, spring break, Thanksgiving,Christmas, and and summers. Now I know you will say we don't get paid for these days. So do you get paid by the hour or on salary? My husband has a degree has a real job where he is paid on salary and only has two weeks vacation and 2 sick days a month, he only makes 35,000 and I am making only 10,000 a year total of 45,000. We go on trips every year, have a nice house, gave my children dance, music and now college. Maybe you teachers need to stop bitching and be happy with what you have. Teacher know what they are gettin into while their in college, if you wanted more money become a nurse or Dr. Gee, you make the ones who do't complain look bad.

perhaps our brilliant politicans in washington should reconsider their priorities and start investing into the country's future (which are the children) and those responsible for it (teachers) rather than "gifting" billions of dollars every year to Israel.


I just can't believe all the complaints I'm hearing. I'm an accountant, and spend all day, including weekends, crunching numbers and preparding documents for a $45,000 yearly salary, I have no complaints.

Teachers start off at least at 35,000 and you're complaining about having to prepare lecture and having to buy the kitties pens and paper "on your own time"??

I work year round earning not much more than you do, and get summers off making that much. If you were to get summer jobs, then you'd probably make more than i do.

Quit complaining, start teaching!!!!


i have a class called College Ed. on 1 of my question 4 this worksheet it asks "how much can a first yr teacher expect 2 make in maryland" how much DO they make?

I'm stunned at some of the things I have read on this site! Yes, teachers ARE underpaid! Yes, we do get summer vacations, but unless we have our pay spread out over a 12 month period, we only get paid for 10 months! Most of us must take on a part time job in the summer to make ends meet...and those of us with children in college (I have two at WVU) struggle to keep them there, semester to semester. If I could be paid for all the hours I prepare OUTSIDE the school for my class and all the hours I spend grading papers and having conferences with parents AFTER school....then I might be paid enough. People do not know how much "time" teachers put in! I myself go in at 6:30 a.m. and sometimes don't get home until 6:30 p.m. Yes, this is my choice, however, I want to make sure my plans are well prepared and my classroom is ready for my students. I read one response that talked about the discipline! Boy was she right!! Most of your day is spent trying to keep the 5 or 6 kids that disrupt the whole class settled down......which takes away from the students who really want to learn. What can you do? Many school don't even have the support of their principal because the principal is afraid that a parent might complain. So be it! Their child did something wrong and they should be punished for it!!!!!! Everyone is so scared to make any kind of wave....it has gotten to the point where I know teachers who just send a child on to the next grade....ready or not...just to get them out of their hair AND to make sure mommy and daddy don't get mad at them. Who is going to stand up for the child and say "enough is enough, you are not ready for the next grade and you WILL be retained!"
Pay us for all the "extra" hours and I will be a very happy camper.

I am currently in school now for secondary math. I see a lot of complaints and am wondering if I should change my major. I consider myself patient but school are getting worse. I know that I will not be making a lot of money but it is something that I want to do. For those of you with children, is it hard to deal with your children at home after dealing with your class all day?

I have been a Library Aide and I have been working towards my MA in Counseling Psychology. I will have a huge debt for my education and am in my "midlife crisis". I am considering getting my teacher certification and later become a school counselor. The one post that really hit my nerve was the one who fought in WWII and believes that graduation % should determine teacher's salaries. Graduation is a two-way street! Teachers can not force a kid to stay in school and when external forces are not assisting in motivating kids to finish school (parents & communities)then this gives an example of how a few posts have stated that teachers are being expected to raise these kids rather than just teach them academics!

When we have the media giving a very biased stand on teacher's wages by giving pay rates without taking the cost of living of the area into consideration...the public will also be biased. Texas has ending salaries (30 yrs) in the mid 40's but in some areas, that is substantial enough to support a very moderate household. When the general public of an area that teacher salaries are from the mid twenties to low thirties, then this decreases public unity with the education professionals. If the educational system will attract quality professionals and there are enough available teachers to fill required positions so job performance can be "graded" then there has to be benefits given for attraction sake. Money is not the only answer, good administration backing and respect from the public would make the profession worthwhile. If universities gave tuition discounts for students going into the profession then this would also help attract more quality graduates.

I can't believe people think that teachers are getting the pay they deserve. COME ON! Seriously think about all the extra hours spent on lesson plans, after school activities, setting up classrooms, grading papers... Don't even try to say it is a easy job. People trust teachers to take care of their children and instill them with the knowledge they need for the future, but then they want to pay these people so poorly! With the wages teachers are getting paid it's no wonder poor teachers are being hired. All the people who would make excellent teachers are looking for other jobs so they can make it comfortably through life without having to worry about expenses. Poor pay results in an increase of poor teachers. Then those poor teachers are teaching the children, our country's future! Wow! Our society IS really messed up!

im 15 yrs old

i know im gonna get called " dome kid etc"

but i love and respect all teachers

one year i had this teacher who was great she was funny,sweet,and always tried to help every1

she came in at 7:00 every morning which she wasnt required to come in till 7:25

want to know why she came in early

cause 3 students of hers their parents went to work early (they were low income families)
and another student came in early to avoid gang members in his neighborhood triong to beat him up just cause he wouldnt sell drugs for them

then at lunch time she let any stundent that didnt got to regualr lunch eat with her
why? because they were picked on and bulleyed everyday by gang members and "clicks"

then after school because there were no "real: after school programs she stayed there till 7:30 at night until the students parents finally came home

she even provided dinner to 2 students that couldnt afford it

she didnt even ask why or if they could buy there own dinner she just did it

she even did it for me 2wice

i remeber once she gave them meatball subs and a coke and another time she went to the store at her own lunchtime which is only 20 minutes by the way and bought them all whatever they wantes\

the average meal for each of them $5.00

now 3 students on average she bough dinner for x 55.00 = 15.00 a day X i wk =75.00

she did this at least every other weak

why does she do it cause there parents cant afford it and there not there

u may say thats her problem she doesnt have to do it but dont u think she should be reimbersses for at least half of that

and she bough every month 4 pks of chalk
which was at least $7.00

then shed buy w 2pk copy papper that would last at leat 1-2 weeks

how much $10.00 X 2wce a month =$20.00 a month out of her own pocket

notebooks she bough 30 notebooks for her classroom cuae the school couldnt afford them\

cost $42.00 luckily she got them on sale for 99.

pens-5 packs of pens cost=$7.50

markers 6 pks cost $10.00

she had to buy 10 of them science board thing
i think there cork board for a science fai they had for the students that couldnt afford them

cost $15.00

storage bins for the classroom (she bought at an 99. store to save money $7.00

she even bough stamps and envelopes for all 32 stundents for a pen pal program that the school principal suggested

she also bough a used bookcase for the room for $25.00 out of her own pocket

she bought a camera for school trip out of her own pocket

at a used book store she bough $50.00 worth of books so they could have free itme to read and write book reports

she also threw a pizza party 2wce in one year for the stundents that had perfect attendance or good grades or perfe t homework record

cost thanks to dominos 555 deal

$30.00 + $10.00 for chips,cookies and drinks,cups,plates

she went to sams club costco and bough bulk snacks for the kids so they could have aliitle somethin between breakfat at 7 and lunch at 1

cost per 2 weeks $15.00
including little huggies juices small bag of chips and poptartd and mints

and she paid $25.00 for a coekboard and decorations for the kids

she paid $10.00 for tons of flash card she handmade so he stundents couold drill themselves on subjectsd they were weak on

now come on

why can some of this be taken care of my the city,government or someone]

now its not fair i want to become a teacher myself i know what she went through but i still want to do it not so ican whine like u so called pple say its so i can help

waht if ther were no teachers

every1 would be dancing around in the street with not writing,social,mathmatical or basic skills

u cant blame teachers for low teat scores
teachers teach the beat they can if a student wasnts to be a lazy slob and become a drug dealer cause they think its cool is that ther fault

its up to parents to parent and motivate the kid at home and its only the techers responsibilty to teach the material,give out test,give support,and give grdes and thing else is not there jobs

i think teacher sahould be highly paid
a starting out teacher with a masters should get
at leat 45 k and a experienced more educated teacher deseves
80 k yr with full heath,dental,and a 401k or some kind of retirement plan

and i dont consider teachers whiny its deserving ther rights

lets be honest not person in ther rigfht mind would say no to a pay raise o f any kind

so the politician vote for themselves to get raises all the time but they wont vote for the pple who got them there to get even a mezely 5buck a hour raise

politicans are crookes and i truly beleive they will throw any1 even there own family under the bus even to get a 2 cent raise but they forget without the teachers int here life they woulda never got them pretty busnuiis or any degrees

I'm 21 and attending a community college. I will be transferring soon and hope to get my MA in fine arts and become an art teacher. I come from a very disadvantage family of 9 people living under one roof. My 18 year old brother and I work part time, my father is disabled from a stroke, and my mother is on social security (we are also on welfare). We make way below 30k a year right now, yet some how we are making it. It is definitely hard and emotionally draining! I make min. wage right now, and to me, 30-45k as a beginner teacher doesn’t sound bad for a single person living alone (enough to be independent), but I agree that for those who have to raise a family, it’s still barely making it (especially considering the cost put into trying to get the degree). I definitely can’t support my current family with this much, but if I can contribute a portion of my wage to my family, it would at least get them off of the dependency on welfare until everyone is old enough to go to college and get a job to support themselves. Despite knowing this, I still want to go into teaching the subject I love. This is something for myself.

i teach at a public secondary school. there i started out with 150,000 a year. with every year i work there i get 25,000 added. now i make 325,000 a year i dont understand y all of u complain. you just have to kno how to play ur cards right.

{One fact the response dated: 06/20/2007 2:22 PM is obviously a HOAX! I don't know of any private schools that pay that amount of money a year! The only teachers that could get paid that amount of money would be specialist assigned to a KING or QUEEN, or BILLIONAIRE or Multi-Millionaire..etc.)

Some information obout me:
I taught long ago. Right out of college.
I double majored in fact.
Mathematics & Secondary Level Education!
I minored in Physics.
I was a few credits shy of a minor in Computer Science.
But you have to join the working world some time.

The fact of the matter is I did love teaching.
But I had no calling to do missionary type work.
Nor could I change a bad system. So, I switched to commercial sector job and received at least 50% better pay with much better perks.

I think the above problems can't be resolved in complaining. I think it has to be resolved in the SYSTEM of how TEACHERS are being PAID or the STUCTURE or METHODS they are being PAID and why there is such a unfairness in this field and not in other demanding fields. Else, what is going to happen is basically a collapse of our whole educational system.
In fact that is what is happening. In many school districts at this time there are very few certified MATHEMATICS TEACHERS at the secondary level. Also, the science and computer science area are lacking in trained TEACHERS. The reason is... These college graduates can make twice as much more with there skills in the commercial world and/or private sector.

What will happen? Our children will suffer. It will cause an English or History or Health
teacher to try and teach Science or Math a field that they will struggle in. They right now are forcing teachers in our district to get some sort of Mathematics Training. Yah, --like this is similar to the four years of Mathematics I took in college. It would be like me teaching English or History. Although, I would probably have a better chance at teaching History...after all I am 51. I know some history...I lived through some of things I would be teaching. ~smiles~

Back to this SYSTEM:

No more complaining..!

Teachers across this country need to get together and form some sort of National Salary
Commission (NSC). Base there pay on the standards of the fields equivalent to other college graduates with the same qualifications
and degrees.

BA, BS, MA, PHD...etc.
Also the Majors and Minors and other special degrees certificates you earned.
Number of years as a teacher...etc.

These then should be matched to the Cost of Living of the area of the country you teach.

Obviously, some people living in parts of California where the average house is over $750,000 the cost of living is much higher.
Than in parts of Montana where maybe an average house is around $150,000. These are just numbers off the top of my head... But you get the picture.

Big Companies use these tables in giving raise to there employees by codes and number of years of service and education level all the time.

Instead of complaining. I think teachers just need some sort of NATIONAL PLAN IN PLACE.

A national salary table which takes in account all of these factors.

Now you say where do you get this extra-money from!

My feeling is this... If we as AMERICANS can send/spend close to 30 Billion Dollars to IRAQ to fight the suppose war on terrorism and rebuild their country. I think our Great Nation can afford to spend at least that amount on our TEACHERS and the CHILDREN they teach. After all its our CHILDREN that will be our FUTURE. And do your really want CHILDREN that have to use a calculator to know how to add, subtract, divide, and multiply!

Worst of all they won't even know how to balance a check book. Cause and effect...think about it...children that don't know how to balance their own check book in political offices...! What is our national debt now...?

Another way to get the MONEY!
Okay, if they can't raise the money!
I hate to say this, but then I would put a sin tax on "POP" & “CANDY”.
And every cent goes to a fund to support in equalizing the teachers' salary to the level of their piers.


Complaining is just complaining!

Sorry about the typos!
I have very poor vision.

I guess if I was president you now know where the money would be going... ~SMILES~

To our "TEACHERS" which really means to our FUTURE...because they TEACH our "CHILDREN"...!

May thanks to you underpaid teachers for doing what I couldn't do. But now it is time for you to fight for your right for EQUAL PAY as compared to your piers...!

We live in America. The land of opportunity. You teachers are complaining about not making enough money but doing absolutley nothing about it. If you truely wnet into teaching for its vortuous principles then surely you don't care about the money. Second, if you understand economics, your an idiot having 3-5 kids while your making only 40,000 a year. It is expected that you get a second job to supplement your income. For a single person an average starting pay of 32,000-36,000 is pretty good. Ride the city bus. Maybe spend 10000/yr. Pay off your loans with 15,000/yr. And you could have 45,000 in loans payed off in 3 years. Then you could save money, invest in retirement or decided to go back to school. MOst americans are to busy indulging in Ameircan lifestyle. All they have to do is be patient. If you really want to influence society why don't you create software or media programs so you can affect more students than your class room. Get off your stool. Most teachers are full of nonsense. You might as weel be a lazy student.

I'm only 16 and I've been considering becoming a history teacher for a while now. The only thing I can't stand is how little teachers make. It's one thing to teach as a vocation, but when you can hardly make ends meet, that's a completely different matter. My girlfriend's father has been teaching for around 30 years, and still their family has trouble financially. In my eyes, every doctor out there making insane amounts of money had to be taught by a teacher to attain that knowledge.

I am doing reasurch and i whant to now about how much d teachers get payed

The hardest part about being a teacher, is the physical and mental abuse one receives from the profession. I teach in a charter school in Detroit. I have been hit teaching first grade. I was recently hit by a 2 kids in 8th grade. I have suffered a pretty severe concussion in which my current school will not even file a workman's compensation claim on. The administration continues to skip around on the issue. That is part of the mental abuse. Having students actually get in your face and tell you they are going to beat you down is horrendous. Administrators do nothing to alleviate the situation, as they are looking at the money they get for each child. Teachers are expendible. I started out making $32,000 a year. In my 4th year teaching middle school I make $37,000. This Michigan economy is terrible and traps you into the job. The administrators know it.

I'm going to school right now for my teaching certifications. It worries me that teachers make so little compaired to other career choices out there. Let's face it, teacher's may start out with the mind set "it's about the kids, it's about the future" but within a set time, it becomes about wages and pay. That's the world we live in, that's the "future" of America and that is the present America. It's a job, all job importance is based on the salary. There are doctors making anywhere from 100 thousand to millions of dollars a year, where would they be without teachers? Same with lawyers, same with politicians, and stock brokers. They're all jobs and they are all rated by salary which is very well related to each other. Who taught them? An actor can make 15 times a teacher's salary just by doing one film, with only 3-4 actors thanking teachers for their success.
Above, there are a few people that say to "quit complaining" and get over it. One of those people say that they themselves make 325,000 a year, HOW??? And where in the world do you work? Here, in Middle America, the average salary for a teacher is 42,000. THAT'S THE MOST OF ALL THE AVERAGES!!
There maybe a million other jobs that we could be doing instead of complaining about the pay, but how much money would you like YOUR children making in their future? How successful would you like them to be? Now take away all the teachers that are here helping them, see how well they do.

teachers should get paid alot of money

I think that teaching is by far, one of the most important jobs in our country. Teachers should definately get paid much more than they are being paid now. For those that are making a whopping 80K per year, rightfully, they should probably be earning somewhere along the lines of 120,000.00 per year. I don't think it's whining for them to want higher pay. Just trying to talk to these kids now-a-dayz is hardwork! let alone, trying to educate them under some sort of structure that is required for the teacher to implement. I am an American soldier with three babies. I know just from raising my kids that teachers deserve much more money, respect and recognition.

I think that teaching is by far, one of the most important jobs in our country. Teachers should definately get paid much more than they are being paid now. For those that are making a whopping 80K per year, rightfully, they should probably be earning somewhere along the lines of 120,000.00 per year. I don't think it's whining for them to want higher pay. Just trying to talk to these kids now-a-dayz is hardwork! let alone, trying to educate them under some sort of structure that is required for the teacher to implement. I am an American soldier with three babies (currently deployed). I know just from raising my kids that teachers deserve much more money, respect and recognition.

I think teachers complain too much about the wages that they receive. For most teachers (who have a 4-year university degree) you receive the same, if not more, than others who work in the arts and sciences sector with the same level of education. In addition, when taking into account the time off for summer vacation and the extra holidays, your salaries are only for the equivalent of 3/4 of the year worth of work. Furthermore, although salaries may start off a bit low, they cap off in some school boards at over $90,000!!! You tell me who else can have a scanty 4-year degree, work only 3/4 of the year, and gain up to $90, 000 plus a year?!?! There are a lot of workers who have stressful jobs, greater levels of education, place themselves in risky job situations, and/or work the full year and make even less then teachers. For example, nurses, social workers, police officers, etc. You teachers need to stop wining and come to grips with the society that you live in. If you can't suck it up, find another job and you'll see how easy you've truly got it!

It is interesting how little of other posts you read, Arnold. Clearly educators working in the inner city have life a heck of a lot harder than you think. We are the social workers, nurses and policeman and we have even less authority than they do as our rights keep getting stripped from us.

I am an educator who has been injured in such a school. I have nerve damage in my central nervous system, essentially brain damage. All I was trying to do, is make sure children received a fair and equitable education. My health has been hindered ever since I was assualted. Nurses have security or needles with drugs, policeman have weapons, and social workers usually come to clean up the mess. I have nothing to defend myself with and yet I deal with children in violent rages on a daily basis. My health and my life were in jeopardy from day one.

Where do you get your statistics about pay? Wikipedia? NOONE in their right mind makes $90,000 as a teacher. Only administrators make big bucks, and they essentially pass the duties on to the teachers. The people at my school who have been working even for 20 some years only make in the 50s.

Our work load? Light? Ever actually met a real live educator, other than the ones you had in school? Educators work after school and on the weekends, through holidays and plan during the summer. Oh, and the 4 year degree you speak of is a joke in itself. Most universities have changed the degree to a 5 year program. We also have to have so many accumulating college credits a year to keep our teaching license. Which means more money out of my pocket to pay for more training which I will never see a raise to cover the amount of money I spent to get the Master's degree.

You speak, but yet have nothing of value to say. Your argument is weak. I dare you to spend a week in a classroom, planning, preparing lessons, remembering everything you need to about a child's health, home, and academic well being. Have conferences with parents. And I mean, you should have total control. Not just an observation which is much different than the ball being in your court.

You can never fully talk about someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. You are truly another ignorant person who has based his idea about the teaching profession by referencing his own school years. Hey, I'vs been to court before, can I go be a lawyer? I've also been to the hospital, does that make me qualified to be a nurse or a doctor? I'm just using your logic here.

Do your homework. Don't just read the cliffnotes about our profession.

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