By the time we have made it to our teenage years, we have experienced quite a few teachers. But although we may think we know about what they do (and, subsequently, how they get paid), there’s quite a lot the average person doesn’t understand (like how many teachers have to take second jobs to pay the bills). But teachers are here, as usual, to help.
College isn’t paying off
Teachers are college educated professionals; they’re required to be. Many of them also hold Master’s degrees and other certifications. But according to a recent study, teachers earn, on average, 18.7% less than their fellow college graduates. That’s an insane difference! Especially when you think about how much teachers have to spend on school and classroom supplies (oh, yeah, they spend their own money on those).
Teachers work more than you think
A full-time job means a 40-hour week, right? Not for teachers. Their days don’t end when students walk out the door; they stay late to grade papers, prepare materials for next days’ classes, and run clubs and sports. One teacher logged the average number of hours he worked each week, and it came out to at least 55 hours every week. At a regular 40-hour week, that would be 50 weeks of work; not the 36 teachers are paid for.
They don’t get paid during the summer
Yes, teachers have summers off; and they get paid like it. They’re only paid for the months that students are in school, so all those summer breaks are unpaid. Some teachers opt to stretch their paychecks over 12 months instead of 9, but that means each of those paychecks takes a drastic cut to make their salary last all year. Many people are surprised to learn those three months are unpaid.
Summertime isn’t always a blast
Class might not be in session, but summer is often anything but a vacation for teachers. From running summer school to attending conferences for continuing their education, to simply preparing their classroom for the next school year, teachers are busy working all summer. But they’re only paid for the days that students are in school, so all that work is going unpaid.
Basically, teachers are underappreciated
Teachers aren’t just responsible for teaching their academic curriculum; they’re responsible for being leaders and teachers of all areas of students’ lives. But the average person doesn’t think so. Many teachers say their own friends think they’re paid enough as it is, and state legislatures haven’t prioritized education to help with student needs — and yes, higher teacher pay helps students. When teachers can’t afford to stay, students don’t get taught.