Teaching is still considered as being one of the most noble professions in the world, yet teachers remain underpaid. Let’s take a closer look at it.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a friend of mine who has retired from the world of teaching, albeit very reluctantly, about a year ago. She loved what she did, and it still remains the case with the majority of teachers, they really love doing what they do. These are people who are extremely passionate and dedicated about their work. These are the kind of people who put in more hours than they are supposed to in order to be better equipped at teaching their students, who as cliche as it sounds, are the future of humanity. It may not be commonly known that it is only with a masters degree that teachers are able to get to a level where they can earn a level of income that matches the effort that they are required to put in.
So, in order to understand all that is required from teachers, I spoke to that teacher friend of mine to really get to know all the things that teachers are expected to do at this day and age. It may shock you but teachers have to do a lot more than just prepare study materials and give lectures. At this particular moment in time the teachers are expected to maintain all of the covid protocols. They are responsible for making sure that social distance is happening, also making sure everyone involved wears masks, in-class lessons, online lessons and also through-the-mail paper and pencil lessons. There is also the insane amount of administrative work that needs to be done, including grading and a whole host of other tasks such as lesson plans. Furthermore, if you happen to be teaching with special needs, then you can expect to do about 5 times the work.
Just listing those things was exhaustive and I really am at a loss to understand why anyone would ever want to do all of this if they aren’t paid an insane, Tom Brady-level salary. This is a really serious question that needs to be examined by society at large and that is, why are we not paying our teachers more and what they properly deserve. When you think of the physical and mental toll this has on teachers, where they are constantly under pressure to provide the best possible education for our children and that by itself is a responsibility that no many are willing to take up nor have the ability to pick up. If you are a teacher, who is having second thoughts about their career, I would highly recommend you to check out Suzanne Klein’s blog.
The common joke that is circulating these days is that because of Covid, homeschooling has finally made parents realize what it really is like to be a teacher. They finally got the sense of what teachers do on a daily basis and they are hence more likely to be supportive of paying teachers what they actually are worth. Now that covid shows no signs of slowing down, parents can really expect to feel like teachers for a while still. The humor has probably gone out by now as they now face another semester of classes which are stitched together with the help of a hope and a prayer. Teachers should definitely fall under the same category that first responders do, they really do put their lives and health on the line only for us.
Pay vs Investment
If you really look into it, it really does take a lot to become a teacher. It takes a lot of education and education has never been a more expensive investment. Although different states have different requirements, in general you will need a bachelor’s degree and also have gone through a teacher preparation program. Some states even require a master’s degree. Also, they must pass through a state-approved teaching certification and this will normally involve spending time as an unpaid teacher.
So a teacher will expect to have to have spent five or six years in order to prepare for their job and that too at a time when college tuition is at an all time high. It is also not that surprising that at this time, student loan debt has also increased substantially.
So in total, teachers really have to make a huge investment and will probably remain in debt for a while, just to meet the requirements of the job. If you compare that with other jobs that require a master’s degree, for example a database administrator, the discrepancy in earning is absolutely huge.
So with all that being said, it really is quite disturbing how much we all ask our teachers to do and how much we expect them to invest for their job while getting such small earnings from the profession. It is the job of the society as a whole to correct these wrongs and bring about a systematic change to the whole teaching profession so that these exceptional people finally get a semblance of a return that is proportional to the effort that they put in.