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Welcome to my blog! I use my blog as a way to reflect, share, organize, and re-conceptualize my views as an educator. Enjoy and feel free to comment, post, disagree, and share your opinion. The more perspectives, the better!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are you sick of highly paid teachers?

A friend put this up on Facebook a while back and it stuck with me. 

As teachers, our goals are so much more than to babysit other people's kids. We want to educate them. We want to help them grow, learn, and develop. In my mind, you can't put a price on that.

Are you sick of highly paid teachers? The hefty salaries of teachers are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - baby sit! We can get that for less than minimum wage. That's right! Let's pay them $3.00 an hour and only for the hours they work; not for any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 AM to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch -- that equals 6.5 hours). Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day... maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations. LET'S SEE.... that's $585 X 180 = $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator must need new batteries!) What about those special education teachers or the ones with Master's degrees or extra endorsements on their certification? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it up to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6.5 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year. Wait a minute – there must be something wrong here! There sure is! The average teacher's salary (nationwide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students = $9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student--a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids! WHAT A DEAL!!!! Make a teacher smile; send this to someone who appreciates teachers. Even with this kind of math, teachers would still be underpaid. Many more hours of prep are spent than this shows, and WHO gets 45 mins. for lunch. That would be a luxury.

As teachers, our goals are so much more than to babysit other people's kids. We want to educate them. We want to help them grow, learn, and develop. In my mind, you can't put a price on that.


  1. Hi Michelle,
    From one teacher to another... THANKS!!! You can read my blog from yesterday here http://hopeloveandspeedskates.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-latest-endeavor-and-defensive-ramble.html
    I can't believe I have to defend doing one of the most important jobs on the planet!!!

  2. Hey, I did some math too!

    I took $35,000 (minimum AVERAGE teacher pay for new teachers) divided by $7.25 (minimum wage) and that equaled 4827.58 hours per year. I divided that by 50 weeks (giving you the benefit of the doubt that teachers work all but 2 weeks of the year) and that equaled 96.55 hours a week that teachers must put in, in order to make minimum wage IF they are new teachers-which pays around $35,000 a year in MO.

    Now-if we're talking a $51,000 salary-(the average in WI-where they are striking) you'd have to work 140.68 hours a week to be making minimum wage! Yikes!

    I only did the math for fun since the blog article did some crazy math too. I just wanted to play along. :)

  3. Not entirely sure I get the above comment. The original post clearly refers to dollars per hour per student, not per hour as a whole, so a faulty comparison is being drawn here.

    But let's take WI numbers and "fair" them up even further. At $51k/ yr, and 44 weeks of work (because not ALL teachers take summer work), you have about $30/hr, which, for a professional position that requires a degree, doesn't seem that crazy. But then divide by the number of student (say...25), and you come up with about $1.15/hr/student -- even less than the OP comes up with! (And people are deluding themselves if they think teachers work only a 40 hour work week or so. New teachers, especially, put in a few extra hours each day (not to mention weekends), so they are getting even less.)

    Again, I might have missed the above point, but it seems like the anti-teacher rhetoric is getting really ramped up these days without a lot of basis in reality.

  4. Do a little research on the cost of benefits and retirement that state puts in. Raises the amount that the state spends on teachers from around $50,000 per year, per teacher to over $100,000. Try getting benefits like that in the private sector.

    And yes, I am a teacher.

  5. Public sector employees are paid on average 4.8% less than their private sector counterparts. And I don't know about you but my TOTAL compensation is around $51,000 a year-- take home is much less.

  6. Thanks to everyone for replying. I think the debate on teacher salary is interesting and appreciate your comments.

    I do want to let everyone know that this was a friends Facebook post. I did not check the facts, but I do believe that it is an interesting way to look at teacher pay. I will say I have a lot of opinions on the subject and this post is only a surface glance at a very complex issue and should be taken as nothing more than that.

  7. Yes...we must include compensation into our computations when looking at how much teachers are really paid...and this is frankly what is front and center in the debate in Wisconsin. They have negotiated hard over the years fighting for maintaining better than average health care at the expense of better pay...you don't get both in negotiations...a vexing issue for unions throughout the country. This was the right path as inflation in that area has outstripped normal inflation for years. Attacking teachers for maintaining those benefits (at the expense of better wages) seems to miss the larger problem of dealing the the spiraling costs of those benefits. Health care and pensions. The rate of inflation in HC will wipe us all out at some point if its not dealt with...ensuring teachers have less or none at all (like some in private sector) is misguided at best.
    The cost of having good teachers leading our youth should not have a price tag on it...but we all know it does. Think of what the cost would be if we damaged the quality of those we attract to this field by making this a lower tier profession. This will not lead this country to where we want it to go.

  8. Agreed. Teaching is the most exhausting job, especially if you're not good at it. I don't argue with the amount they are paid, but what they are paid for. They are paid with steps and lanes, by seniority, not based on how well they improve student learning. It seems as though they should be paid, and paid well based on learning results!

  9. @heitzrun .... meeeehhhh..... thats essentially what they TRIED to do with NCLB, and its been largely unsuccessful : / rather than rewarding good teachers and good teaching styles and habits, its managed to focus ONLY on the teachers without realizing that a lot of student learning also depends on parents and students themselves. not saying teachers shouldnt be evaluated and deal with positive/negative consequences based on said evaluation, but ask any teacher: theres gotta be a better way to do it. unfortunately, that balance aint easy to strike in a country primarily ruled by businesses. keep developing the idea, however, and im sure it could happen!