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Why Teach?

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Do you remember your favorite teachers? Did they inspire you to graduate and go to college? Or did your favorite teachers help you find your passion in sports, band, or drama? Did a teacher get you started on the path to a love of reading or math? Do you want to be someone's favorite teacher - helping them learn and grow? Teaching is a wonderfully fulfilling career, and salaries and benefits have improved greatly. Teacher salaries, while considered low, have continued to increase. Salaries generally average $40,000 to $80,000 a year for classroom teachers, kindergarten through high school. New teachers with full certification start at salaries of $35,000 to $50,000 a year, depending on the state where they teach. Salaries go up with years of experience and advanced degrees. And no, high school teachers do not make higher salaries than elementary or middle school teachers.

For more complete salary information, go to www.nea.org. Additionally, if a teacher moves into school administration, those salaries start at $80,000 and go up. Principals and superintendents make six figures and well above, depending on the size of the school and district.

Most public school teachers have excellent health, dental, vision, and life insurance packages. Perhaps the best benefits include time off in the summers and at the holidays, as well as the retirement packages. Many teachers are eligible to retire in their mid-fifties with state retirement packages, while those who retire from other jobs with Social Security work until their late sixties. Teaching has long been considered the "family-friendly" profession, since teachers generally have the same hours as their own school-aged children, and have the time to attend after-school events. Teachers are not required to fly to work sites around the country or around the world, as they go to the school each day, and do not work evenings or weekends unless there is a special event. To some people in the business world, who work a 60-hour week, 50 weeks a year, and have to travel extensively, the teacher's work schedule is indeed enticing.


Diane Sledden Reed

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