Some kids grow up wishing that they could be a teacher one day, they look at the teachers they had throughout the years and see the impact that they had on them, and they say they want to have the same impact on future children. So they go to school, get the degree, go through a couple years of training and finally land their dream job as a high school teacher, but throughout her time at the high school she keeps hearing this lagging question amongst her colleagues. Why are teachers underpaid?
A question that has riddled many before this person decided to venture into this career, this answer can be simple, a systematic lack of attention being put onto the public system schools sector of the country. Teachers are supposed to enjoy the fruits of their labor when they see a child go from the next grade to the next, but no one has ever asked the question, do teachers get paid enough?
Why are Teachers Paid So Little?
Teachers are paid little because they are undervalued on the socioeconomic scale. Despite the very realistic view that they are the people who we leave in charge of teaching our future doctors, lawyers, and politicians.
In a CNBC poll from 2020 it found that ⅕ of the teaching workforce must seek out a second source of income in an effort to make living wages. The wages do not fit the amount of responsibilities placed on a teacher who not only has to teach children but could be put in the position where they must operate as a counselor, security, or just simply be a friend that can help a child in need, but these responsibilities are often overlooked when wages are being factored.
Throughout the last couple of decades wages for teachers have remained roughly the same even seeing a decline within the last decade, which has been leading to a shortage of available workers, which in theory would lead to more competitive wages, but has yet to be seen.
Strikes and walkouts have been underway for decades but none more potent than within the last several years with the rise of social media, but despite their voices being on a higher platform, many still don’t see what the argument is. Many believe that just simply having the lives of the future within your hands should be all the reward one should need, but most don’t understand the historical hypocrisy that has been played out in the teaching profession.
What Prevents Teachers from Getting Paid More?
What prevents teachers from getting paid more is that governments, whether it be state or federal, do not invest well into the public school sector, leaving the available funds for raises put more into retirements or pension programs.
Another difficult avenue the teacher profession encounters is how it is viewed as a more female driven job. Before public schools were creating school was more of a man teaching boys profession, but with the creation of modern public school it transitioned from a male centered job into a profession that a woman can seek to get into the workforce as woman were seen as more of a favorable, inviting person to be teaching children, but they were also seen as cheap labor as there was no reason at the time to pay woman these extravagant salaries since woman in the workplace was still a taboo area, a concept that has not much changed with the time.
Also leadership roles are more driven toward men, in a 2019 survey conducted by US news it found that while 66% of the teaching population is women 55% of the administrative roles belong to men, so there is this disconnect between the people actually working in the field and the people who are in charge of making the rules, setting expectations, and setting payment plans for the workforce.
A teacher’s salary can be based on a mixture of things that experts argue are all not within their realm of controlling like standardized test scores. These scores can affect a school ranking, and a school ranking affects how much money they would receive from the state, thus putting them in a favorable position to give a raise to their teachers or at a disadvantage of being unable to provide raises to their teachers. But with some students being incapable of absorbing information as well as others, learning disabilities outside of the teachers ability to control could affect a child’s score thus affecting how a teachers ability to teach is viewed.
Why Should Teachers be Paid More?
Teachers should get paid more because they are the bedrock of our communities. A parent is better equipped to find a job and contribute to the family if they have a school/teacher who can act as a daycare for eight hours of the day. As well we rely on teachers to teach the future generations of this country, the landscape of this country could be built off of how well our teachers can teach our children, according to a 2019 study by the National Education Association a teacher who receives a 10% increase in pay, could lead to a 5% to 10% increase in the students performance, a mark that the United States is falling behind on. Teaching can be seen as one of the most important roles a person can take in today’s society, but not enough people in the right places are standing up for these teachers thus leaving in the same position year after year.
A lot of pressure is put on teachers to perform and to get their classrooms to perform, but it is quite apparent by our low test scores nationally that system is not working to it full potential, and potential can be improved if teachers have a higher sense of comfort in there home lives which will allow them to be better prepared mentally and emotionally to go into a classroom and deal with the assortment of challenges that can arise in one single classroom. A well-rounded, fairly paid teacher can give students a much better chance of succeeding in this world, than what we currently are experienced with underpaid, undereducated teachers themselves.
Teachers Overworked and Underpaid?
The answer to the question of are teachers overworked is a yes. Some may think that with the three months off for summer vacation, that it makes up, or is an add-on bonus, but in reality this may be the time, like mentioned before, that a teacher chooses to take up a second job. Also like previously mentioned, a teacher’s work does not just fully revolve around the classroom, but does revolve around the effort to make more money. A teacher may take up a role as a coach, a club sponsor, or a tutor, all in an effort to make extra capital, but also taking up one’s time outside of the classroom. Compared to most developed countries a teacher in the United States according to a study conducted by the OECD in 2008 can work up words of 1,068 compared to the average of countries within the report 703, which means more time away from family, which could lead to a further strain on their ability to teach a class.
When you have teachers push to their limits, it creates an atmosphere in their classrooms that will be unproductive. A teacher has a lot on their plate as is, but coupled with restrictive pay pushing them to seek out extra responsibilities, the stress can push a teacher to their breaking point, and it has. Each year for the last several years a quarter of the teaching staff have switched professions, which is now leading to an ever growing work shortage and forcing the teachers who remain to work longer hours with a larger classroom.
What Teachers Get Paid the Most?
The teachers that get paid the most in regards to public school depend on the state they choose to teach in. The state that provides the highest salary for their teachers in America according to a Newsweek survey that covered 2019 to 2020 was New York paying on average their teachers $87,543, with the same study showing the national average to be $63,645. Another good option is to teach in the highest rank school district in the country as it is a high possibility that these schools will have a higher budget to pass around to wages and school supplies, and according to a 2019 poll conducted by background check the best school district in the country is the San Mateo county in Redwood, California. But outside of public school teaching is the one method to make enough money in the teaching profession to rise up the ranking as being a college professor, or University/College administrative all of which again depends on your level of experience plus the school you choose to teach at.
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