Are Teachers Underpaid?

Before anyone says, "Oh, here is another teacher asking for more money," let me just stop you. In your tracks.  This is not about asking for more pay, but it is asking the question that everyone is afraid to ask. "Are teachers underpaid?" Teachers are educated. Teachers are professionals. Teachers put in over 40 hours per week (well over). Teachers give up nights and weekends without additional compensation. Teachers continue their education and training, often without reimbursement. Teachers use their own funds to make classroom purchases. I never paid too much attention to what I spent for the classroom. But, my husband did. If I only had a dime for every time he asked me if I was aware of how much I had spent on my classroom. No. Or, did I really need to purchase this?  Yes!  My kids needed it. If it was for my kids and anywhere close to my 'budget' I got it.

You see, it was worth it to see their faces when I told them about a new book set that we were going to read or to see their faces light up when they walked in the room and saw what adventure we were going on next.  It was worth 100 times more than what the book cost to hear them talking about how great it was and to hear them tell their friends what a cool reading class they had.

Was I underpaid?  You bet!  But it never mattered to me. I didn't count my wealth in dollars and cents. I counted my wealth in smiles and hugs. Books - $75.00. Classroom decorations - $45.00.  Time spent preparing lesson- Too many to count. Students immersed in the joy of reading- priceless!

You see, to a teacher pay isn't measured in money. We wouldn't be teachers if our goal was to be wealthy (or even to make ends meet). We are teachers because we LOVE what we do. Do we wish that we were more respected or treated more professionally?  You bet!  If we are given a raise do we contact the BOE and tell them it isn't necessary. Absolutely not. But, we don't let it dictate to us whether or not we will continue teaching. We value the service that we perform.  We see ourselves as providing so much more than what money can buy.

So... are teachers underpaid?  In terms of 'kid benefits', teachers are over the top, but in terms of financial compensation for all that they do and are expected to do, teachers are lacking. Some teachers barely earn enough to provide for their families. Some are living at the poverty level. Several take on extra jobs just to pay their own bills. You won't hear a teacher complaining about it though. We might have a moment or two when we wish out loud that we were more appreciated, but we don't dwell on it. We just keep doing what we do best. I can guarantee you that if teachers earned more, they would spend more on their classrooms. Because that is just what we do!


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1 comment

  1. I agree that they are not paid for what they are worth, but they are just one of many occupations that are not paid their worth. What about writers?

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