What if Teachers Were Paid More?
“I became a teacher for the money and the fame”, said no teacher, ever. I saw that on a t-shirt once and thought it was funny. But on a more serious note, we teachers are paid less than professionals outside of education with the same amount of required education, an amount that has been growing in our country since the 90s and continues to grow till this day. Why?
It leads me to #TimesUp, the hashtag that most of us heard for the first time while watching the Golden Globes, that incredibly inspiring speech we all heard Oprah Winfrey make that caused an uprising in social media and contributed to us coming together as a global consciousness to say, NO MORE! Women voicing our power, our worth, and our paramount importance in our society. It’s part of this disclosure energy I see in our country lately. It’s all coming out in the open. #TimesUp is primarily intended to raise awareness to sexual assult, harrassment, and inequality in the workplace. That led me to think about the age-old inequality of women’s wages in the workplace.
I’m a teacher. I see it everyday in my profession. I love my job, I’m very grateful for my teaching career and to be part of the school district I teach in, but why do teachers make so little, compared to other professions requiring the same, or sometimes less amount of college education? Is it because we are a career field full of women? Did you know women comprise 3/4 of the teaching profession across the US? Why are we paying people in other careers that require the same educational background more than a teacher?
As I wrote in my book, Life is a Classroom, A teacher’s journey, we are responsible for molding and shaping the minds of the future. We wear so many hats during the day as teachers and do so much without compensation for managing heavy work loads, learning new programs and implementing district and state mandates. And because of the adversity so many students carry into the classroom with them it’s often not an environment where that’s even possible. We are asked to be miracle workers. And we do it. Why aren’t our salaries not more? Is it because we’re mostly women?
Teachers understand long before beginning their careers that there’s not a lot of money in the profession. Money is never the incentive for choosing a teaching career. We’re in it for the children, for the impact we can make and for the love of teaching. But I have to admit that when you’re in it, you’re hoping that somehow, someway, someone’s going to wake up and realize that teachers need to be paid more. Teachers hope that somehow the tables will turn and the vast majority will recognize the value of good, quality teachers and their salaries will reflect that. Why? Because time’s up!